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May 2012 Cookbook of the Month Winners: Food of Spain and Moro: The Cookbook!

The Cookbooks of the Month for May 2012 will be:
The Food of Spain by Claudia Roden, and
Moro: The Cookbook by Samuel Clark and Samantha Clark

Our selection process for May has been interesting and wild. We are a passionate bunch when it comes to food!

On May 1st I will be posting the individual threads for reporting your culinary experiences with these two books. In the meantime, you can use this thread for general discussion, and for posting any online links to recipes from these books.

I would also love to hear some discussion about how you would like the threads set up. I've reviewed past COTMs where more than one book was involved. Sometimes, each book had its own thread (Jamie Oliver month, for example), sometimes threads were thematic, with both books being included in each thread for a type of food (Mario Batali month, for example), and sometimes each book had its own set of threads for each subject area (as in Japanese month). In my experience, in some threads for a single book, I felt more like I was cooking with a big group, which was fun. But I'm aware that these threads can get pretty long. On the other hand, if there are too many divisions, you feel like you are cooking alone (I remember one month, I was the only one who posted dishes to one of the threads, it felt lonely!) I would love to hear other opinions on this, please!

Also, there was a lot of interest in The New Spanish Table and other Spanish cookbooks, so it would be a great month to set up an ancillary thread, if someone is interested in doing that! Please post it here if you do.

If you are curious about the selection process, and the accompanying discussion, the nominating thread is here:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/843409
And the voting thread is here:
http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/844307

If you haven't ever participated in the Cookbook of the Month discussion, we hope you'll give us a try in April. We have a lot of fun, and we learn from each other's experiences. The basics of COTM, and the archive of past books, can be found here:
http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

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  1. Wow, I have not stayed plugged into the COTM process (still getting down with cooking out of a particular book in a month, and sharing). But - I read this book in March, borrowed from my local Library, and it is Awesome. I will check it out again, and participate.

    SO MUCH history here, and info on jewish/spanish traditions, and how Moorish traditions have stayed, and left . a great gift to understand the food of Spain, and why NOT be a part of it....:)

    2 Replies
    1. re: gingershelley

      Wonderful gingershelley! I hope you join us. Mr. NS and I are contemplating an overnight to Seattle, closer to the end of this month, just to shop at the Spanish Table. We'll stock up on supplies for May.

      1. re: gingershelley

        Which book are you referring to, Shelly--Moro or Food of Spain?

        ~TDQ

      2. LN, you are the best. About setting up the threads... I personally prefer not too many threads. FOS is a big book, so I don't know about one thread per book, but I think it does help not to divide it up too much. When we did the Grace Young books, we had one thread per book, and it worked great (I thought), but those were not large books. That was the month I felt most like I was cooking in a group. I'm not giving any specific recommendations here, so I'm probably not being too helpful, but you seem to have a talent for taking all our vague comments and reaching a fair conclusion.

        1. You're not going to be disappointed by the Roden, I've only made 2 things from it but they were superb (meatballs with almond sauce and venison tenderloin).

          2 Replies
          1. re: buttertart

            So good to hear this from you buttertart! I've bookmarked the meatballs in almond sauce in EYB (and the venison, in case I ever actually get venison).

            1. I haven't found a way to view the contents of Moro, so I'm not sure how it's divided, but if it's feasible my preference would probably be to have the books combined and the threads divided by category (tapas and starters, vegetables, meat, fish, and so on) so that things don't feel so segregated and there aren't a ton of threads. That approach has worked with past months covering two books with different authors but one general geographic area*, such as Vietnamese month and Southern month (Willis/Foose), and invites comparing and contrasting. The single-book threads can get unwieldy, and also seem as if in this month they'd segregate participants depending on which book they have access to, whereas combining might lead someone to look for a recipe online or ask for a paraphrase if they see an intriguing report.

              *Yes, I'm aware that Moro ranges beyond Spain, but it seems like a close enough fit that it could work.

              7 Replies
              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                L.Nightshade,

                In answer to your question posed above, I prefer fewer, longer threads. Otherwise, I lose track and I end up missing a lot.

                I am really thrilled MORO made the cut off. I am not sure how much time I will have to participate this month...but I am planning on buying the book so even if I only get my entries in later on, I'll still be able to participate. I think this month will be my last chance to participate in COTM until after July. I have a trip to Paris, a Bar Mitzvah to host, and a graduation all coming in the next three months. But I will enjoy reading along. Selfishly, I hope The Homesick Texan doesn't get selected while I am AWOL, but if it does, I'll just have to catch up after the fact.

                Thanks for putting in all the time and effort it must have taken to consider everyones' votes and whether or not they wanted to cook from multiple books. What an undertaking!

                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                  I agree with Caitlin. Part of the fun of covering a cuisine with two different authors is to compare and contrast recipes/approaches. And who knows, I might get inspired enough to buy the Roden! Stranger things have happened...

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    Totally agree with Caitlin (despite my rather insane number of thread during Japanese month, which I couldnt' seem to work my way around).

                    Amazing job, LN. This was a tough one.

                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      Brava L. Nightshade!

                      I agree with Caitlin. I prefer "combined' (for the two books) threads that are organized by course, Tapas, Vegetables, Fish, etc. That way, even if people are cooking from only one book or the other, we are all still cooking "together." If we have separate threads for each book, then some of the community aspect of COTM gets lost.

                      I went looking for my copy of FOS last night and I think, unfortunately, it's in one of the boxes I packed up when I moved out my about a month ago, so I'm going to have to go in search of it. I will be setting up my office in a different part of the house, but I'm probably six months away from that. Funny, I remember wondering if I was going to regret packing that particular book... I should have marked which box it was in.

                      Anyway, since it's Spanish month, is anyone thinking about also cooking from those old Casas COTM threads? http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5245...

                      ~TDQ

                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                        I also agree with Caitlin. I understand the appeal of having one book/one thread a la Grace young month. But, now, when those threads pop up, I want to cry because they are so long (these also also an issue with the Dunlop threads which were broken up into categories.) These long threads take a long time to load and often times my computer will freeze during the upload.

                        1. re: beetlebug

                          I know. Those Dunlop threads were sufficiently broken down into categories I thought, but they are such popular books that the threads just keep growing. I kind of dread looking at new posts in them, but of course, don't want to miss a single one!

                          ~TDQ

                          1. re: beetlebug

                            Add another agreement with Caitlin's suggestion. I like the idea of comparing and contrasting the two books, especially since there are no copies of Moro in my local library system, so I'm unlikely to be cooking from it.

                            And yes, Beetlebug, I too cringe at the hugely long threads that developed during the single thread months. Some happy medium of some subdividing but not too much subdividing is what I like best.

                            Thanks, LN!

                        2. Hats off to you, L.Nightshade! I did not see this selection coming and very happy that TFoS is selected. My Library has only Casa Moro and I looked at it today and did not take it out since it did not appeal to me at all.

                          Regarding division of threads, I would love to see separate ones for each book. Rodens book has 14 sub recipe section and I would try to reduce the number to five or so; maybe combining all proteins together; rice, pasta, beans and savory pies; salads, soups and dressings; drinks and desserts; stocks, tapas and eggs; or something like this.