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January 2012 Cookbook of the Month Nominations

Suddenly looked at my calendar and realize that maybe it was a good idea to go ahead and put the nomination thread up now, since people tend to get pretty busy in December. So let’s go ahead and start the Chowhound Cookbook of the Month nomination process. COTM is open to anyone who wants to participate, and we’d love to have you join us. For more on how Cookbook of the Month works or to see an archive of books we’ve already cooked from this link can give you lots of information: http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

As always, when nominating, please remember to put the title/s in ALL CAPITALS if you want your nomination to be counted. Nominations will be open until midnight (eastern time) Thursday, December 15th. Have fun, and nominate away. It seems like we’re pretty wide open on options this time around. I’m looking forward to it.

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  1. I would really like to do Japanese this month; there are so many dishes suited to the colder weather.

    3 Replies
    1. re: pikawicca

      Wow, time for this already. I just cooked my first out of this month's book! But I have had travel and the flu slowing me down. Anyway, I agree on Japanese! I'll jump in and nominate Elizabeth Andoh's WASHOKU and KANSHA. I think these would be great done together. The latter is vegetarian.

      1. re: MelMM

        I'd like to see WASHOKU. I have a copy, but have never cooked anything from it.

      2. re: pikawicca

        I'm on board for a Japanese month too. I have cooked from both Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art by Shizuo Tsuji and Washoku by Elizabeth Andoh with good results (both are well written), but am open to other suggestions.

      3. ESSENTIAL PEPIN seems a natural to me.

        26 Replies
        1. re: buttertart

          Love it, but too new for many folks.

          1. re: pikawicca

            Yes, it's a new book. But I'll bet it's going to be under the tree for an awful lot of COTMers.

            I haven't seen it yet. A few of the descriptions of it made it sound awfully basic. What is it that you love about it?

            1. re: JoanN

              I don't think it is more basic as for example the Gourmet books which were already COTM.

              1. re: JoanN

                It's kind of a French "Joy of Cooking." There are so many interesting, completely do-able recipes in this book that I think I could cook from it alone for years and not get bored.

                1. re: pikawicca

                  That's great to hear. I wasn't going to bother. You've changed my mind.

            2. re: buttertart

              Essential Pepin is a book I'd like to see nominated. I see that there are 89 people who have this on their bookshelves at EYB.

              1. re: Rella

                Okay. Based on what pika said, I've just ordered it. And Japanese food in January just does not compute in my brain. So I'll second buttertart's nomination for ESSENTIAL PEPIN.

                1. re: JoanN

                  With you on the it does not compute, JoanN. Springtime would be nice for it.

                  1. re: buttertart

                    Japan in the Springtime sounds just delightful. I've been dying to cook from one of Chef Pepin's books and ESSENTIAL PEPIN will be merveilleuse.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      Sorry, but I am not understanding why January is an inappropriate time of year for Japanese food. Probably being obtuse, but I just don't see the logic.

                      1. re: qianning

                        I agree with you completely. It's difficult to think of a more satisfying winter dining experience than sitting around a table with friends and family while nabemono or donburi bubbles away in it's pot on the portable gas burner set in the middle of the table.

                        1. re: pikawicca

                          So we need to not only get the books, if we don't have them, but we need to get a portable gas burner to put in the middle of the table? It's certainly not happening in this house, I can assure you! We borrowed a gas burner when we had our kitchen renovation, and without proper ventilation, my husband took it out to the porch to cook there. We simply don't cook without the exhaust on.

                          1. re: roxlet

                            All dishes traditionally cooked at the table can, of course, be cooked on the stove. (There was something wrong with the burner you borrowed.)

                            1. re: pikawicca

                              No, the burner was fine, the problem is the food smells in the house. My husband will not tolerate that, so no cooking will happen at the table. Sorry if I didn't make that clear.

                          2. re: pikawicca

                            Sounds very romantic, Pika:) My knowledge of Japanese cuisine is very shallow - one of the reasons I am interested in cooking from a Japanese cookbook. I do not know what nabemono or donburi is but imagine a steaming bowl of udon, fragrant tempura or even shiny slices of sashimi - yummo!

                            1. re: herby

                              Nabemono and donburi are one-pot dishes that contain small pieces of meat or seafood, and a wide variety of vegetables, usually cooked in a seaweed/dried bonito flake infused stock (dashi). Can be flavored with any of a multitude of Japanese herbs and other seasonings. With some of these dishes, you drop in par-cooked rice when the meat and veggies are gone, and cooked some more. The result is an extremely flavorful risotto-like dish.

                              1. re: pikawicca

                                Sounds delicious - I have to try it. Recently bought all ingredients for making dashi but have not done it yet.

                                1. re: pikawicca

                                  oden is another one pot dish that is lovely. Donburi are delicious, but not what I would consider a one pot dish. It is a rice bowl with a topping (oyakodon- chicken and egg, gyudon-meat and onion, etc).

                                  1. re: BigSal

                                    You're right about the donburi -- I think of them as one-pots because they get served in those lovely bowls. (Which I collect, and have bought some gorgeous ones online.)

                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                      I love the bowls too!

                                      1. re: BigSal

                                        Me three on the bowls! And other Japanese tableware... and also on not understanding why folks wouldn't think Japanese cooking is suitable for January. It gets cold in Japan too! Flipping through Washoku, the words "simmered" and "stewed" appear again and again. A Japanese take on winter cooking would be such a nice change after all the Thanksgiving and Christmas traditional stuff.

                                  2. re: pikawicca

                                    At the risk of seeming ignorant and naive, I cannot get really excited over any Japanese dish. I just do not appreciate the nuances of flavor. The 'spouse' thinks just the opposite..

                          3. re: JoanN

                            Ditto, ESSENTIAL PEPIN

                            I also dont want to acquire another Japanese book at this time. I have Tsuji and some others, dont need to augment that part of my shelf.

                        2. re: buttertart

                          I'm on board with the Pepin. Japanese is not a cuisine that I particularly seek out, though it's fine when I do have it. I like the breadth of Pepin, and I agree that it probably will be under a lot of Christmas trees this year.

                          1. re: roxlet

                            ESSENTIAL PEPIN

                          2. re: buttertart

                            Another vote here for ESSENTIAL PÉPIN.
                            I've only had this book for a couple months, but used it for a few recipes including my first Thanksgiving turkey--with great success. I plan to make his "Roast Duck with Orange Sauce" for Christmas. The instructional DVD that comes with the book is fantastic; I feel like I'm sitting in Jacques' kitchen while he gives me a class on cooking techniques.

                          3. January is such a cold month, I'd like to suggest any book that might have a lot of foods that wouldn't necessarily be cooked during summer months. I think lots of recipes that could be done in the oven, or long slow cooking, although not particularly a theme of this technique of cooking.

                            I don't know what cookbook this could be, but others might have an idea. Warming and comforting foods. Warming the room and heart. Oops, I meant hearth :-))

                            1. January is great month for braising - BRAISE by Daniel Boulud

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: honkman

                                Braise, hmmmm? You have my attention. I don't have this book, yet, but I own two other Daniel Boulud cookbooks and would love to hear about your experience with this book. The reviews on Amazon are mixed.

                                1. re: dkennedy

                                  If there is an interested in braises for January, how about FALLING OFF THE BONE BY JEAN ANDERSON? Here is a para from the book description on Amazon:

                                  From trusted cookbook author and food writer Jean Anderson comes Falling Off the Bone, a collection of recipes for simple, delicious meat dishes just like grandma used to make, but updated for contemporary kitchens and tastes. With beautiful color photographs throughout, this cookbook shows just how mouthwateringly delicious simple home cooking can be.

                                  I have the book and read through some of it but have not made anything yet - lots of appealling recipes.

                                  1. re: herby

                                    I have also Falling of the bone and have only tried one recipe - overall not bad but some recipes seemed to be dumped down and simple - and I don't like books which suggest to buy precut vegetables to save time.

                                  2. re: dkennedy

                                    I like All About Braising but often think that the recipes are quite rustic and not overly unusual (which is not automatically a bad thing sometimes). Braise from Boulud is for me the next step with some more refined, creative recipes. I have tried so far 3-4 recipes and liked them a lot.

                                2. For those who are interested in Washoku or Kansha cooking, as I am, Elizabeth Andoh has a couple of web sites that compliment each book. Worth a look for explanations, tools, glossary, info...

                                  http://www.washokucooking.com/

                                  1. I would love to cook Japanese but maybe in March rather than January. What do you think about either Spanish or Partugese book?

                                    1. I decided to have a look at what is picked for "best" books and found a list of 50 by Guardian and 10 by Epicurious. One of the books on Epicurious list got my attention. Here it is:

                                      Mourad
                                      by Mourad Lahlou (Artisan)
                                      If timing is everything, then chef Mourad Lahlou's is impeccable. Moroccan cuisine looks to be hot, and while Paula Wolfert may be credited with bringing it to people's attention, Lahlou represents the cuisine's next generation. His approach pays homage to the tastes and traditions of Morocco while also expounding on the inevitable global influences shaping the food as well as the sensibilities of the modern diner.
                                      Recipe to try: Lentil Soup, Date Balls, Celery Salad

                                       
                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: herby

                                        looks interesting, but it is a very new book, and definitely not in my library's system yet, maybe others have better access....

                                      2. ESSENTIAL PEPIN for me too.

                                        1. I have a lot of nerve to be nominating, based on my lousy participation, but when has that sort of thing held me back?

                                          I would like to nominate NIGELLA LAWSON'S HOW TO EAT.

                                          If you're not familiar with her book, you can preview some of it on Amazon, but I think it would be a great book for January when lots of people start their new year's resolutions. It's got a whole chapter on "low fat" eating, but it's Nigella, so it feels indulgent, even though it's low-fat.

                                          She's got sections on (among many) "Cooking in Advance" , "Cooking for One or Two" (which are two topics I often see here on Home Cooking) and "Feeding Babies and Small Children" (which is my particular interest right now).

                                          Numerous used copies are available on Amazon for $6-$7 (plus $4 for shipping) and I think it's in most libraries. Well, it's in mine anyway.

                                          P.S. I'd be on board with Pepin, too. I have it!

                                          ~TDQ

                                          12 Replies
                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                            I love this book. One of the best written cookbooks I've ever read, at least in terms of being original and entertaining. And the way she lays out some of the recipes in it is also a lot of fun. So I'll second NIGELLA LAWSON'S HOW TO EAT

                                            1. re: Tom P

                                              I love HOW TO EAT and use it seldom these days, so I'll third that nomination. There's one dessert recipe in there for molten chocolate puddings that I've made on numerous occasions.

                                              I have asked Santa for Ghillie Basan's book on Classic Turkish Cooking, which has just been reissued in paperback after being unavailable for many years. It's pretty inexpensive and will be out in the US in January. Not nominating yet as probably better for summer, but just putting it out there as I know how you lot work. ;-)

                                            2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                              This Nigella book was selling at one of the Costco's here in VA last week for $9.99.

                                              1. re: Rella

                                                That's a great deal new!

                                                ~TDQ

                                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                I'd be excited to cook from the Nigella book. This isn't a vote, still pondering, but this one has me excited.

                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                  I think her book Forever Summer was COTM many moons ago, before my COTM time...

                                                  ~TDQ

                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                    Yes. July of '07. That was the source of the Watermelon, Feta, and Black Olive Salad that I'm sure became a summer staple for all of us who tried it.

                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                      Hey, that salad is a summer staple of mine and I didn't even participate that month!

                                                      I do want to mention to people who haven't seen How to Eat that it's a mix of recipes written in typical recipe format and in prose.

                                                      ~TDQ

                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                        Also the source of that wonderful fattoush (goes with her Zaatar chicken, which I also love, but the fattoush was the truly killer part of that recipe).

                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          Ooo, I may have to check this book out, if only for the killer fattoush recipe.

                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                            Nigella is one of my ALLTIMEFAVES! I love that fatoosh salad AND the olive one and so many more. She introduced me to cakes made with almond meal subbing for most of the flour.

                                                            I vote for HOW TO EAT!

                                                            I do NOT like the idea of choosing the COTM after just a few days. It may be true that lots of folks nominated or were happy with Essential Pepin....HOWEVAH, I don't think that we should just assume that it's the fave and that there wouldn't be other books that caught up with it in the next week or so.

                                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                      Sounds awesome! Although my participation is spotty, I will get on board with NIGELLA LAWSON'S HOW TO EAT. This looks like abook that can get me into the kitchen more.

                                                    3. Suggestions so far sound good to me. I'm new here, but thought I would throw out two -- though they may be too new to consider if people want to guarantee copies from the library: THE MOZZA COOKBOOK by Nancy Silverton and THE COOK'S ILLUSTRATED COOKBOOK. They came out in September and October respectively.

                                                      7 Replies
                                                      1. re: kellyts

                                                        Welcome to COTM!

                                                        Generally, we like to choose books that are available in the US, UK and Canada, and that have been out long enough for libraries to have gotten them in. If a lot of the recipes are available online, that is a plus, and might mitigate newness or or limited availability outside the US. I don't think these are hard and fast rules, just things to consider.

                                                        1. re: MelMM

                                                          Understandable. Even if we don't go for these now, maybe later! :)

                                                          1. re: kellyts

                                                            Looks like Mozza is available in US, UK and Canada, but Cook's Illustrated isn't available in the UK. Both were released around the same time as Pepin's book, so maybe too new, but something to consider for later this year...?

                                                            1. re: kellyts

                                                              In the end, it's all about what the group wants. If they don't get support this time, don't hesitate to try again when they've been out longer. These are both books I would be happy to do, but perhaps not just yet.

                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                So often the bridesmaid book becomes the bride a month or two later. Never stop trying, as long as your interest remains.

                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                  Thanks for the tips. I'm a librarian at my public library that is lucky enough to purchase cookbooks for our collection so I see loads of great stuff coming out all the time. Honestly I would be happy to go along with the group. But as a librarian I feel compelled to make recommendations! ;)

                                                                  1. re: kellyts

                                                                    We love recommendations! Keep them coming. And what a great job you have.

                                                      2. ESSENTIAL PEPIN.

                                                        1. WASHOKU and KANSHA

                                                          January seems like the perfect month to try Japanese. After all of the rich and heavy dishes of the holidays, I would welcome the change to a lighter fare.

                                                          1. WASHOKU. If this were selected, I'd suggest Japanese Cooking as a Simple Art as a companion to the COTM. Washoku is a smaller book and Tsuji's book covers additional classics that Andoh doesn't in her book.

                                                            I'm also excited about the possibility of finally cooking from Pepin.

                                                            @kellyts- I'd love to cook from Mozza in a future COTM.

                                                            2 Replies
                                                            1. re: BigSal

                                                              Of the many Japanese cookbooks that I donated a few months back, I kept just a mere handful. The one most favored that I kept is "Japanese Cooking as a Simple Art" the old edition. If Washoku were selected, I would like this book, too, as a companion.

                                                              But still like you, I want to cook from Pepin.

                                                              1. re: Rella

                                                                I could get into NIGELLA LAWSON'S HOW TO EAT.

                                                                Also worth considering:

                                                                UNION SQUARE CAFE COOKBOOK.

                                                            2. Id like to throw out for future consideration the Moro Cookbook, by Samuel and Samantha Clark.
                                                              I bought this english book, which features Spanish, Turkish and north african dishes, at a friend's enthusiastic recommendation and I would be happy spending a month exploring it.

                                                              3 Replies
                                                              1. re: jen kalb

                                                                Why future and not now? It's been out for several years now, so that isn't an issue. Do you feel it wouldn't be a good fit for January?

                                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                                  It would be just fine for jan, I just think it might take a bit of time for the community to think about it, Also, Id like to do Essential Pepin this time round. since I was unable to resist it at Costco last month.

                                                                2. re: jen kalb

                                                                  I have the first two books - they are really great.

                                                                3. I believe the ESSENTIAL PEPIN is at Costco in Canada which would make it very accessible. that is my nomination.

                                                                  4 Replies
                                                                  1. re: delys77

                                                                    I bought my copy at Costco in Virginia some time ago and I must confess I've not opened it. So..
                                                                    ESSENTIAL PEPIN

                                                                    1. re: delys77

                                                                      It's not even out in Britain until mid-January and is quite expensive. Does anyone know if it's a book which has lots of web recipes?

                                                                      1. re: greedygirl

                                                                        Hi GG... there are tons of Essential recipes on-line. Here's the WQED PBS site that has 75...!

                                                                        http://blogs.kqed.org/essentialpepin/

                                                                        RSS feed...
                                                                        http://blogs.kqed.org/essentialpepin/...

                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                          ...Thought I'd leave the Google search page for Essential recipes here too...

                                                                          http://www.google.com/webhp?sourceid=...

                                                                    2. ESSENTIAL PEPIN

                                                                      1. ESSENTIAL PEPIN

                                                                        1. ESSENTIAL PEPIN

                                                                          1. Looks like it will be ESSENTIAL PEPIN - maybe we do not even need a voting thread. I have the book but have not cooked from it; grateful to have a push:)

                                                                            5 Replies
                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                              How do people feel about not having a voting thread? Discussed this with my husband and we came to the conclusion that I should go ahead and have a short (maybe 2 day) voting period. But it is true - Essential Pepin is way ahead. I'm happy to do the voting, but if you feel like the decision has already been made, then maybe it is pointless. I'd be grateful for any thoughts/comments.

                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                Seems like it might be silly to try to pick the top two or three books for a runoff, as Pepin has well over twice as many votes as any other choice. On the other hand, if every single peson who didn't nominate Pepin voted for the same book, it could be a tie. To me, voting looks rather futile at this time.

                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                  Post a short voting thread if you must, LLM. It looks to me that the majority would like to cook Pepin's food for January. Maybe we will have a Japanese book for February - I would absolutely love to cook Japanese and a need a good push to get started.

                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                    I think it is prudent to have a voting thread, even if it seems a forgone conclusion, because there will always be people who didn't participate in the nominating thread, thinking they could vote later. They will always be surprised, and somewhat irritated, that they missed the chance to vote. Also, once you have the field narrowed down to a few books, people may vote differently than they nominated.

                                                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                                                      I agree. Unless there is only 1 nominee, there should always be a voting thread, IMO.

                                                                                2. I'm a long time lurker, first time poster, but WASHOKU has me very interested for the new year!

                                                                                  1. A voting thread is up at http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/823428