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Voting Thread September 2012 Cookbook of the Month

Hello all, and thank you all --

For September, a dozen books were nominated. Two led: Mozza received five nominations, The Food of Morocco received four. But there were three votes each for My Calabria and The Book of Jewish Food. I’d rather have more choices than less, so here’s the ballot for September 2012 Cookbook of the Month:

THE MOZZA COOKBOOK by Nancy Silverton

THE FOOD OF MOROCCO by Paula Wolfert

MY CALABRIA by Rosetta Costantino with Janet Fletcher


So, ponder and participate!

***Voting will be open ’til 9 p. m. EDT on Monday, August 20, 2012***

Here’s the discussion / nomination thread that went before:


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  1. Beautiful job blue room! Thanks so much.
    This decision is going to be difficult...

    2 Replies
    1. re: L.Nightshade

      Oh thank you, L.Nightshade! You've been the coordinator for the last 6 months --

      I watched *every move you made* and then stole every one of them.

      1. re: L.Nightshade

        Debating whether or not it's kosher for me to vote since I'll be away most of the month, but the book I'd most like to dig into when I get back is THE BOOK OF JEWISH FOOD.

      2. Great job, BR!

        Four books and so similar in regional choice - hard to pick - but since this is the only one I have and do not wish to buy any off the list, my vote goes to THE FOOD OF MOROCCO by Paula Wolfert.


            it seems there were not alot of ppl voting-do u have any idea why?

            1 Reply
            1. THE MOZZA COOKBOOK

              Thanks blue room!

              1. THE BOOK OF JEWISH FOOD by Claudia Roden

                (Brilliant, blueroom... and Thank you).

                1. MY CALABRIA. Thanks BR, you seem to be holding up really well!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: qianning

                    Just placed a hold on My Calabria at my local library and an ebook hold on The Food of Morocco. This will be my first experience checking out an ebook and I am very curious as to how they pull that off. I guess it can't be on more than one reader at a time?

                    1. re: dkennedy

                      I think it depends on how the library licenses the book.

                  2. Great selection of books this month and it appears that they are all available through my library system. But I do have until Monday to ponder these choices.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: smtucker

                      I know, this is a tough one, isn't it? Some really good things to choose from.

                      1. re: smtucker

                        I'm having a difficult time deciding. The only one I don't own is Jewish Food, but it sounds interesting enough to acquire if it wins. It is odd that the hardbound version is cheaper than the paperback on Amazon. The hardbound edition also has quite a few more pages than the paperback. Does anyone know more about the difference between the two? Is the later edition updated, or just printed differently?

                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                          I didn't think there was a paperback edition of The Book of Jewish Food. Where are you finding that?

                          1. re: JoanN

                            Actually, it looks like a UK edition, but sold on Amazon US. Published in 2009, as opposed to the US hardcover, published in 1996. Fewer pages than the hardcover.

                      2. Was it ever resolved whether Food of Morocco was significantly different from her book on Couscous? I have the latter so it sort of matters to me.

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: LulusMom

                          LLM, I read online somewhere that FOM is duplicative of Couscous, only with pictures and more recipes, but many of the recipes are torn from the pages of Couscous. I don't have either so I am just reporting what I read.

                          1. re: dkennedy

                            she stated on a response to this critique on Amazon that there are 100 new recipes in this book and a different approach. I quoted the excerpt on the nomination thread if you want to read it (or go to Amazon). Like I said there, some of the stories are the same but they are worth sharing with another generation (I bought the first book at least 35 yrs ago

                            Obvously tho 100 recipes are new a lot of recipes are the same and Im sure some have been dropped. I would assume one could cook from Couscous if this book were chosen (just as when we did Hazan's Essentials a lot of folks cooked from the predecessor books)

                            Personally I would be happy enuf if this book was paired with Jewish Food, since both of them seem to have fairly small constituencies which might not overlap completely.

                          2. re: LulusMom

                            thanks dk and jen. Given that I have the older one, I likely wouldn't buy the new one, even with some additional recipes. Doesn't mean I wouldn't enjoy cooking from it though. Will see if my library has it. Again, thanks.

                          3. Hopefully we can have Union Square next month......

                            2 Replies
                            1. I'd be happy to cook from any of these, assuming I can get my act together in Sept. Luckily for me, my library has them all.

                              I'd lean slightly towards Mozza or My Calabria only because we've already done a couple of Rodens and a couple of Wolferts already. Might be nice to try some new authors, even though we know Roden and Wolfert are tried and true.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                Totally agree TDQ, That was exactly the logic behind my vote. Anyway, however the voting goes, they all have promise.

                                1. MY CALABRIA

                                  Thanks BR!!

                                  1. MY CALABRIA by Rosetta Costantino with Janet Fletcher

                                    Thank you Blue!

                                    1. MOZZA. Thank you blue room.

                                      1. I'd be happy cooking from any of them, but the reviews of MOZZA intrigued me the most.

                                            1. re: pikawicca

                                              is it my imagination, or are the votes very slow to come in this month?

                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                Not sure about the pace dk but I was struck earlier about how scattered we are...no runaway favourite it would seem, although the Italian books do seem to be gaining some momentum. I hope this doesn't translate into low participation in Sept.

                                                In my case I have 3 of the 4 books so I'll be happy w whatever the outcome. I wasn't sure I'd have any time this weekend to vote so I cast an early vote for Mozza however I'd be equally happy if My Calabria won as I'm so excited to cook more from it. Selfishly I'd prefer to cook Moroccan cuisine in the fall but I'm game if we end up doing so in Sept.

                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                  BC, I too am worried about low participation based on the voting. Like you said, Moroccan would be better suited for later in the fall, but other than that, I am game for whichever title prevails. Though I don't own My Calabria, I've done some research and it seems it is the product of a blog, so I think that would make it very accessible.

                                                  I own and love Mozza, and am still hoping it is selected, as the recipes are truly exceptional. I have already tabbed three new recipes to try over Labor Day Weekend.

                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                    First of all, I think it's probably an illusion that voting participation is low. During the last six months, and, I believe, the six months before that, the time period for voting was three days. A lot of people seemed to vote in the last day or two. This time the voting is five days, so we are only now entering the last two days! I, for one, am still considering my vote.

                                                    And Gio is right, a lot of people read these threads! I asked the mods at one point for a rough count of participants. What they were able to easily give me was a count of views. For the month they looked at, each reporting threads had hundreds of unique pageviews. Some threads had nearly 2000 unique pageviews (and well over that number for non-unique pageviews). So you never know who is getting inspired, and will soon jump in.

                                                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                      What interesting insights LN! Imagine 2000 unique page views! That's great to hear. I remember I used to have a link to Boardreader that showed the # of hits per major Board (eg. Site Talk, Not About Food etc) By far and away the Home Cooking Thread was the most popular.

                                                    2. re: dkennedy

                                                      oooh, looking forward to those Mozza reports dk!

                                                    3. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                      Oh I don't mind which book gets selected.. that is except Wolfert's book. While I respect her and all her Moroccan research I simply cannot get "into" the recipes. There seems to be much more work for me than I can do at this time. If Mozza wins I'll gladly add it to my library as I was going to do anyway. As for Calabria and TBOJF I own them and have cooked a few from former and nothing from the latter.. so far.

                                                      As far as "low participation" is concerned we never know who will pop into a thread to either cook along for the first time and surprises us with valuable insight. I have a feeling that although we are the more vocal COTM participants there are many others who read along and are influenced by what we do.

                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                        Your view of Wolfert's book is in keeping w Joan's experience w the couscous dishes from the book. If this is the case then I expect this will need to be a "weekend" book for me as I simply don't have the time after work.

                                                        Here's Joan's post:


                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                          Im going to say one thing here and leave my full pitch for the Morocco book overall for another month. Neither the Morocco Book nor the CousCous (and Other good things,,,) book are predominantly about couscous (which is too laborious for me,, or about making warka leaves, grinding your own ras al hanout, aging smen, etc. They both do cover these things, but they also present (and I just went through the new book again, and I think its more true of it,) many, many good dishes that do not require a lot of technique or time, dozens of interesting salads, stews, grills, all kind of good healthy stuff. They do have the tour de force dishes, but also a lot of interesting dishes that do not show up on the standard menus of the small group of US Moroccan restaurants. And they are not all "weekend dishes" (Im assuming most people dont get home at 8 pm like me)

                                                          I hope folks will give this a real look the next time its nominated so we can have a good shot at exploring this totally different and new to COTM cuisine. I know we had a good time with Cradle of Flavor and The Splendid Table, two that really repaid diving into a new cuisine.

                                                          PS - and 95% a non-sequitur - we went to Aziza a couple months back and enjoyed Mourad's cooking (his tasting menu, not particularly moroccan), but his book is a killer. No way does it present Moroccan food, in any way that competes with or is comparable to Wolfert, Kitty Morse or any of the other authors who try to authentically present the cuisine + its a bear of a chef's book, with typical multirecipe recipes and dozens of pix of his pretty face and some moroccan flavors.. I am sure I will eventually pick it up and cook something the dish names do sound appealing and his cuisine in SF was delicious.

                                                          My vote is for MY CALABRIA.

                                                          1. re: jen kalb

                                                            I love Moroccan food, and if the field wasn't so interesting (and my interest for cooking at a low point in general) I'd have jumped right on this one. Sorry you caught me at a bad time. I'm all for a Moroccan month sometime.

                                                      2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                        I agree about preferring to cook Moroccan in the fall. October or November would be lovely.

                                                      3. re: dkennedy

                                                        For me, I'm sort of in one of those cooking funks. I've had so much else going on and cooking has been relegated to a lower status of importance than usual. Add to that that all of these books sound pretty interesting me to me, I've basically decided that unless I have some sort of epiphany in the next 24 hours, I'm going to let the gang decide and then try to find whatever wins at the library. Grilling month was out for me because my husband (our official family grill master) was away for a lot of time this month, so it didn't really have much of a chance.

                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          I hate the cooking funk. I was in one all summer, probably because the kids were always underfoot. Last week I made three, homemade, scratch-to-finish meals that were restaurant worthy. That felt a whole lot better. Hope the momentum continues.

                                                          1. re: dkennedy

                                                            Having a little one underfoot *definitely* has something to do with it. There has also been lots of travel, both as a family and just for LulusDad. When he's away we often just go out to dinner. This gives me a little bit of a break, since I end up solo parenting, and also gives Lulu lots of experience with dining out. She's a pretty much of a pro at it now. I'm so glad you understand the cooking funk. It is so odd to have something you love suddenly become sort of "eh" to you.

                                                          2. re: LulusMom

                                                            I'm in a cooking funk as well. We've had an unusual stretch of heat and humidity that has been sucking the life out of me. This is the one summer that I almost broke down and bought an a/c. But, then thought of re-wiring my old electrical outlets was too much to bear. And, with the horrible humidity coupled with a broken toe, my daily runs have been terrible which then effects my overall black mood.

                                                            For cooking, since I can't really use the oven, I've been doing quick stir fries and/or cold dishes from the Dunlop books. We have been eating a lot of popsicles and ice creams, none of which were homemade.

                                                            Good news is that the weather broke this weekend and I also have a glut of tomatoes. Both are easing me out of my cooking malaise.

                                                            1. re: beetlebug

                                                              Ditto to the cooking funk. It's lasting far longer than I anticipated, for many different reasons. Summer is so short in my neck of the woods that every moment must be siezed, so many outdoor expeditions take me away from the kitchen. Although, it's been so hot and humid here as well that I probably wouldn't be cooking even if I were home. My Grandma came to visit from Australia for a couple of weeks, and that limited what I could make, plus there were so many family get-togethers that I wouldn't have found the time to report on what I did cook.
                                                              But there is a light peering though the end of this tunnel. An amazing sate meal yesterday awoke my senses, and my garden is now providing me with many vegetables, forcing me to use them, lest all my work be in vain. School is commencing soon (!!) and with that comes more routine and structure. To add to my recipe-reporting ease, I am using a laptop for the first time, which makes writing reviews so much nicer sitting in a bright, sunny porch with a steaming cup of coffee than the usual dark, damp basement cut off from the rest of my family.
                                                              Here's to more cooking!

                                                              1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                There is hope for us yet. Amen on school starting, and not being locked up in a basement on a beautiful day.

                                                                1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                  I'm in a COTM funk, too. I think it's the heat, the little one underfoot, and lots of general family chaos with out of town travel etc. Also, I've just generally been feeling behind on COTM and guilty/disappointed in myself for my low-participation. When I was doing a lot of writing, one piece of advice for beating writers block (from Anne Lamott I think) was to forbid yourself from writing for a set period. Then there's no guilt or dread or whatever associated with "not writing."

                                                                  I think I'm going to forbid myself from participating COTM until Oct 1 and focus on some other cooking-related goals for a month (I'm going to work on honing my weekly planning and shopping routine http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8637...). By Oct, the weather will be cooler and I will be in my "back to school" routine.


                                                              2. re: LulusMom

                                                                I've been struggling quite a bit myself. I've been dividing my time between three states, and Mr. MM has been dividing his time between two, and generally not the state I am in when I am there! So I've been either away from home, or when at home, cooking for just me. Unlike you, however, I have grilled a lot while on my own. I do the grilling in our household (I really don't understand why women let their husbands do the grilling, but that's another thread), and pretty much every meal I've cooked for myself this summer has been either on the grill or my outdoor wok. But I've been doing much less cooking in general, because of the travel. And even cooking at home, I find it less convenient to do a recipe from a book, because I'm usually looking to use up a specific ingredient, and I'm not wanting to buy things for a recipe that I won't be able to use up on my own. So I usually end up ad-libbing based on whatever I have on hand. So as much as I love the current COTM, I haven't cooked from it as much this month as I'd like, even though I'm grilling almost every night when I am at home.

                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                  As good as it is to hear that I'm not alone, I feel bad that you're both going through the funk too. The heat definitely has something to do with it. Husband has been away a lot (and the fact that he does the grilling is just one of those "I'll be the trash person, you be the person who does the bills" things) and it often doesn't seem worth cooking when it is just me and Lulu. I'm hoping that once school starts (for both of them - Lulu in the first grade, he'll be back to teaching in the fall after a semester off and then the summer), and a week or two of really easy stuff, I'll be back to being interested. Fingers crossed - and for you two too.

                                                                2. re: dkennedy

                                                                  I'm doing my best to restrain myself from jumping in this time around, because I'm moving in the middle of the month and don't expect to have a working kitchen until October. The choices look fantastic though and I will eagerly be reading reports and hopefully adding to them once I get more settled.

                                                                  1. re: TxnInMtl

                                                                    LLM & TxnMtl, I can certainly empathize. Unplanned business travel has been significantly impacting my ability to contribute, especially this month. Here's hoping for a less eventful fall for all of us!!

                                                              3. MOZZA.
                                                                Basically a coin toss. I won't be crying if something else wins.

                                                                  1. My vote goes to The Book of Jewish Food. Love Claudia Roden's cultural/historical approach and have had good success with many of her recipes.

                                                                    6 Replies
                                                                    1. re: debbypo

                                                                      debbypo, if you want your vote to count, it has to be in all caps.

                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                        I have neglected to specify*, in this voting thread, that votes must be in caps. I know it's usually done, but in this case I can't discount debbypo's vote.

                                                                        * My fault, no excuses.

                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                          You know, it's really just to make counting easier, and to make sure conversational mentions are not counted. But in this case, I think it's pretty clear that it is a vote. No worries blue room!

                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                              And I'm so used to this convention (which, as L.N says, is just to make distinguishing votes easier) that I didn't even notice that you didn't specify it in the OP!* But no worries, indeed, you're indeed doing great blue room. And my note to debbypo was needless in this case because she wasn't neglecting a direction.

                                                                              *Probably because longtime participants automatically used all caps anyway.

                                                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                I didn't notice it either until I saw debbypo's vote, whereupon my heart froze.
                                                                                Everyone is handily trained, lucky for me.
                                                                                I am grateful for the support here!

                                                                        2. Everyone please note --

                                                                          today is Monday, August 20, so the voting will close at 9 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time (a little under 12 hours away as I write this.)

                                                                          1 Reply
                                                                          1. Well, all you adept, agile, articulate, regular-contributor's to COTM... I am blushingly confessing my lurking here (part of the 1,000's of page views!). Having read all your wonderful insightful comments, and checked out the books.

                                                                            I have only, humbly, participated in one COTM so far actively - "Roden's Book of Spanish Food' in May, and tried to participate in June's Morro, but had a different book (Morro East") as am currently by budget restricted to what I can get from the library for new books to cook....

                                                                            I own 'Food of Morocco' by PW, and have taught Moroccan cooking here in SEA for several years, after a teen/20's background of time involved with the food and culture of the country. I like this book, but I do find it a bit difficult of a book for anyone doing casual cooking. Wolfert's care and consideration of traditional technique she wants to teach and transfer across the miles, countries and practices make it a bit of a challenge for those who have voiced concerns about 'it not being a good week - night cook book'. This I understand.

                                                                            However, I can't see diving into another Roden book, as so recently COTM did one, however great her scholarship is, and the stories worth reading.

                                                                            I myself, want to read the book "Jewish Cooking" as her wonderful coverage of the food of Spain, Jewish and Sephardic traditions in "Food of Spain' were so revealing to me - thank you COTM for introducing me to that book - can't believe I had missed it in my scholarship of Med. cooking...) BUT, it seems a different idea for the transitional month of Sept. would be good.

                                                                            You all are going around the world with grilling, which I could not participate in since my library didn't have the book yet. Before that, for 2 months, COTM went pretty Jewish, and very Spanish with Food of Spain, then to Morro.... It seems to me that roaming to another country in that area, but diving in specifically as opposed to an overview could be a very good choice to focus distinctions rather than relationships would be very enlightening.

                                                                            So, since I don't want Roden, for reasons stated, and kind of think Wolfert would be best left for a time for more stews/braise's such as Oct. (PERFECT to me for this book, as lot's of great produce, but cool enough to want to braise);

                                                                            i am voting for MY CALABRIA, as it is a different area of Italy that I think would be fun for COTM to focus on.

                                                                            It is a book that appears to be specific, lens-tight on a regional cuisine, harvest-time friendly, and relatively simple execution on many recipes as great Italian food tends to be - all about ingredients simply prepared, in luscious combinations, authentic.

                                                                            iMHO, all you more experienced COTM-er's. I would like to join in. Thanks for reading my 2 cents!

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: gingershelley

                                                                              Welcome Ginger! So glad that you have de-lurked.

                                                                              1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                Welcome gingershelley! I thoroughly enjoyed your post and I'm excited to have you join us in the kitchen in September....glad to have you out of the pantry!! ; - )

                                                                                1. re: gingershelley

                                                                                  Great to see you here again gingershelley! Ah, you well know what great ambitions I had for Spanish month, and then life just got crazy! August has been pretty good, and September should be even better. Looking forward to cooking with you!

                                                                                2. This voting thread is closed now, I'll put up an announcement thread right away.