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Sep 21, 2012 11:57 AM

“A Cookbook a Week” Challenge (CAWC) – Thread #2 - Will you join me? [old]

Welcome to our 2nd CAWC thread!! I’m delighted and excited about the level of interest in this thread. In only 2 weeks we hit almost 300 posts and collectively reviewed 22 cookbooks!! Some were deemed to be keepers, some we need to delve deeper into and others were destined for a new home.

For folks new to this thread, welcome, we hope you’ll join in. Here’s how it works:

GOAL FOR THREAD: Get to know our cookbooks better. Keep the good ones, toss a few duds along the way.


• Pull a book off the shelf (each week in my case and I figured if I posted a thread and put my commitment out there, I would be more likely to stick to it). I think folks should just pull a book
whenever they have time. I didn’t expect anyone to stick to my schedule. On the contrary, I think this will work best if people commit to whatever schedule works for them.

• Any cookbook will do. Old, new, big, small….whatever book you want. In fact the greater the variety of books reviewed, the more we’ll learn. We can all review different books, it doesn’t matter.

• Have a look in the book and record your impressions/review. What do you like about the book, what don’t you like. Have you made anything? If so, what was it and did it work. If you’ve tabbed recipes to make later, what are they? Will you keep the book now you know it better?

• Post review here. ***Please start your post with title of your book in BLOCK CAPITAL LETTERS***

• If you make a dish at a later date, come back and post your review beneath your original post. Review the dish as you see fit. Some folks will have lots to say, others won’t. This isn’t at COTM so it doesn’t have to be detailed but if someone wanted to do that, great.

• If others have the book and/or have cooked from it they can add their reviews beneath the first post about that book.

• Before posting about a book do a search of the thread (“Ctl F” w a pc, “Command F” on a mac) to see if someone else has posted about it. If so, add your post beneath theirs. If not, hit “Reply to original post” and post to the OP.


I’ll start a new thread each time we hit approx 300 posts

That shouldn’t stop us from continuing to add to the previous threads if we have something to add to book reviews that were started there. I’ll provide a list of all the books reviewed in prior threads and links in each OP so we won’t lose track.

Threads will be numbered for ease of reference.

If you’re reviewing a book not previously covered, please create a new post and start with the book’s title in BLOCK CAPITAL LETTERS as it makes for easier searching.

Thanks once again for joining me and happy reviewing!


If you chose one of these books, please add to existing reviews here:

660 CURRIES (this book will be the Oct 2012 COTM),

Also, Mr. Bigglesworth shared a link to his thread where he undertook a similar challenge and shared book and recipe notes:

….and finally, for those of you who are thinking…this OP is too long, I totally agree!! Next time I’ll link to this thread for info on “HOW IT WORKS” and will just list books reviewed to date in the OP.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)

    ABOUT THE BOOK: This book was a recent (used book) purchase for me. I’ve always wanted to visit the cooking school so I thought having the recipes may be the next best thing. Before doing my usual “open shipping package, record book in EYB, place in pile in kitchen, move pile to spare room, put books on bookshelves” I thought I’d rescue this one from the cycle and use it as my next CAWC.

    The book is printed in black and red font (colours that are replicated in the cover) and while I don’t mind the red font, I don’t like the fact that all the ingredients are in italics. You may think I’m picky but it also bugs me when a recipe starts in the middle of a page and continues onto the following page(s) and that’s the case w this book. I really dislike having to pull the book out of my cookbook holder to flip back and forth. There are no photos in the book but a few Cooks Illustrated-style illustrations adorn its pages. As one might expect from a cooking school book, instructions are clearly written, many tips are included and there’s lots of info on re-purposing meals, prep, pantry ingredients, tools etc. All recipes have head notes and they’re written in a conversational style that appealed.

    ABOUT THE RECIPES: It interested me that as I worked my way through the book I found the recipes seemed to fall into 2 clear categories for me…I either immediately wanted to make a dish or, I knew I’d never make it. Dishes in the latter category were either too fussy or rich sounding or, some of the standards that you’d see almost identical recipes for in many cookbooks (think mushrooms or spinach turnovers w cream cheese pastry, pear blue cheese and walnut salad, Beef Bourguignon, glazed carrots) Recipes that appealed included:

    White Bean Crostini with Wilted Greens
    Charred Eggplant Dip w Pita Triangles
    Roasted Eggplant Soup with Tomatoes
    Potato-Garlic Soup with Croutons
    Country Soup of White Beans and Sausage
    …truth be told, all but a couple of the soups really appealed to me
    Crispy Chicken Breasts and Wild Mushrooms with Mashed Potatoes
    Stir-Fried Chicken and Ginger-Peanut Sauce w Mixed Grain Pilaf
    Braised Short Ribs w Horseradish Mashed Potatoes
    Curried Eggplant & Chickpeas

    And while admittedly I didn’t take a close look at the dessert section since if I make desserts we eat them so I try to avoid them…I did spot an intriguing sounding Cardamom Pound Cake that immediately caught my interest.

    I actually plan to make one of the soups tonight depending on what mr bc comes back from the market with. I’ll keep you posted.

    17 Replies
    1. re: Breadcrumbs

      Oh, please do report back on that Cardamom Pound Cake if you every try it. Great OP, by the way.


      1. re: The Dairy Queen

        Thanks very much DQ and I'll definitely report on that cake if I make it. It does sound sensational doesn't it?!!

      2. re: Breadcrumbs


        I’m holding the enticing aromas of this soup wholly responsible for the fact that despite slicing and cutting the bread, I totally forgot all about those blasted croutons!! Let me start by saying that, to my sincere dismay, mr bc does not share my love of soup. “I’d love to have soup for dinner” are words that I’ll never, ever hear coming from his lips. That said, mr bc LOVED this soup. He even had a second bowl! If I were naming this recipe, I’d have included leeks in the title since I think it was the leeks, not the garlic that shared the spotlight w the potatoes in this dish. The flavours reminded me of a delicious, perfectly dressed baked potato…but creamier & better! Prep is super-quick and easy and I was astounded that, as the author suggested, my stick blender (a Bamix) aptly pureed this soup…big chunks of potato and lumpy leek bits be damned!! As Dr. Seuss said (sort of) …I could eat this here or there, I could eat this everywhere!!! And so could everyone else it seems. This is one of the best soups I’ve made at home I think. Yum!

        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          This soup looks amazing - I want to make it NOW:) For those without the book and desire to make this soup, here is a link:

          1. re: herby

            Thanks so much herby...I wish I had some leftover!! Next time I'll double the recipe.

        2. re: Breadcrumbs

          BC, please post about Curried Eggplant and Chickpeas if you make it - sounds delicious and so are the soups.

          1. re: herby

            I felt the same way about the Eggplant dish and the soups herby!! If all goes well I'll be making the curried dish and the eggplant tomato soup this week! Stay tuned!!

          2. re: Breadcrumbs

            Ok, here comes another hit from this book. Sorry DQ, not the pound cake (though I can't stop thinking about it!!) Nonetheless, if anyone has this book, 'tis the perfect season for a dish like this and I'd highly recommend it.

            TANTE MARIE’S COOKING SCHOOL COOKBOOK – White Bean Crostini w Wilted Greens – p. 23

            Let me start by saying this was great… and I didn’t even see the step about pureeing the beans!! Provided I can get some more fresh borlotti beans (and that’s iffy at this point in the season) I really want to make this again w the pureed version as the method sounds delicious (cooked beans are combined w chicken stock, tomato paste, a little cayenne and rosemary then mashed). I simply tossed my cooked beans along w some evoo, S&P then served on grilled Crostini w the delicious wilted swiss chard atop. This was simple but really delicious and my bean-loving mr bc gave it a 10!! (he hates greens…especially kale and chard). The richness of the oil and the creaminess of the beans offset any bitterness in the chard and made for a lovely antipasti.

              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                Thanks DQ!! We used the leftover beans & greens for work lunches. I just tossed them together and drizzled a bit of balsamic atop. Perfect and I so appreciate not having to do anything complicated to feed us during the week.

            1. re: Breadcrumbs

              TANTE MARIE’S COOKING SCHOOL COOKBOOK - Country Bean Soup of White Beans and Sausage – P. 101

              Loved it! Recently I reported on a pasta dish I said I’d call “clean out the crisper pasta” well this dish has that one beat! This one I’d call “The great fall garden clean-up soup!!!” I’m telling you, if it’s growing in your garden, you can put it in this soup!! A huge pile of bruised and or partially bug-eaten tomatoes inspired this dish. I salvaged what I could and into the pot they went along w beans, onions, peppers (sweet and hot), garlic, celery carrots, herbs…you name it, its probably in this soup along w some sausages of course. This is one of those recipes where ratios definitely don’t matter. Just toss it in, cook it up and enjoy! This is one of those steamy hot meals you can’t wait to ladle into your bowl and enjoy on a crisp autumn evening.

              I have to say, I’m loving this book. I have no business cooking right now. I’m super-busy at work and arriving home late. I’m about to go on vacation but somehow I can’t resist these recipes and they’re turning out great to boot.

              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                Looks beautiful, BC - I want a bowl of this soup right now:)

                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                  Beautiful. Just more fuel to my determination to make this the Winter Of Soups.

                  1. re: smtucker

                    We should start a 'winter of soups' thread for sure in a few weeks when the weather cools a bit more. I LOVE soup and salad for dinner.

                  2. re: Breadcrumbs

                    I LOVE 'use what you have' veggie soups! This looks so vibrant and delicious BC. Nice job!

                    As I have a hard time following recipes to the letter, this is up my alley...

                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                      You're doing an amazing job of making me need this on my amazon wish list. The soup and crostini alone looked incredible.

                    2. re: Breadcrumbs

                      TANTE MARIE’S COOKING SCHOOL COOKBOOK - Curried Eggplant and Chickpeas – p. 275

                      I made this dish right before we went on vacation but didn’t have time to post about it. This was another hit! What I loved about this recipe was that it made use of seasonal ingredients and, it came together in a flash. It does call for a lot of garlic – 12 cloves (another plus at our house!!) and the garlic is sliced so I did that on the weekend so at least one part of the prep was done ahead. Since my tomatoes were from the garden and some had become a little mealy, I opted to add a couple of tbsps of tomato paste to boost the tomato flavour. We served this atop some steamed basmati rice and alongside some grilled Tandoori chicken however it would have been just as lovely and substantial enough in its own right to serve as a main dish, perhaps atop brown basmati rice. I’ll definitely make this again and would add that mr bc isn’t a big fan of eggplant as he finds it slimy but he really enjoyed this recipe….in fact, he said “this is great!!”.

                    3. Thank you so much for starting a second thread! I'm adding Wild Fare & Wise words, recipes and writings from the great outdoors. Love the delicious quotes throughout and the wild game bird recipes. Also lots of venison recipes. Theres a Blueberry backstrap recipe I will be trying in a few days. Its venison loin steaks grilled medium rare with a blueberry sauce. Will let you know the outcome.
                      "Hunger clutched at your belly and the cookin' was easy. You gutted a bluefish, stuck him on a stick, and let him baste himself with his own fat. His hide cracked as he cooked, but inside he was sweet as peaches."
                      -Robert Ruark, The Old Man's Boy Grows Older

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: uneed2eat

                        uneed2eat I just had to Google that book to see if it really was a cookbook!! Too funny!! I do hope you report back on the recipes that appeal (or not!)...and more prose of course!!

                      2. TEST OF HOME SPECIAL EDITIONS: 72 Tasty Recipes shared by real people

              , display until September 24, 2012, $7.99 (magazine format)

                        I found this one at the local public library. My attention was caught by the from scratch sauces as we had not made a tomato sauce we were fully satisfied with yet. Make your own pasta (page 10) does look easy as promised. I've only been studying this for a few minutes but I may buy my own copy of this magazine. It has an alfredo pizza, a pizza dough recipe, chicken cacciatore, chicken parmesan. We already make our own balsamic vinaigrette (that my husband created), but if you don't already it has that too. Several of the recipes are similar to things we already do but the tweaking is interesting to me and several things are new to me and easy. The pasta making does not require expensive machinery (as my husband joked would be part of the recipe) and it looks as simple as making homemade dumplings, something my paternal grandmother showed me at age 4.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: HappyHattiesburgr

                          I saw this one on the shelf at the bookstore HH, can't wait to hear about it. I have found some real gems from ToH over the years.

                        2. Thanks for all your work as thread-master Breadcrumbs! What a fine, fine exercise this is for expanding learning for all!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: gingershelley

                            Thanks so much gingershelley and thanks so much to you for your's infectious and sincerely appreciated!

                          2. I have decided that my next cookbook to crack open, is THE ESSENTIAL NEW YORK TIMES COOK BOOK CLASSIC RECIPES FOR A NEW CENTURY, by Amanda Hesser. I received this book at Christmas. I have to give Kudos to this author, tested 1400 recipes, even while pregnant with twins, she was still sitting down and chopping and dicing, to test and she wrote most of the book on the subway, talk about determination! She calls this book a monument to all the great food writers and it is indeed a monument.
                            The books layout is how I like a cookbook to be, print is large and plain, with a lot of content. I hope that I am up to the challenge, will report back later in the week.

                            6 Replies
                            1. re: Ruthie789

                              I can't wait to hear what you think of this book. I think you won't regret spending time with it. Did you knowi t's a former COTM?


                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                Hi DQ, No I did not, it got much publicity in the food section of my local paper. I was at a bookstore and told my niece that it was supposed to be a good one and she put it under the Christmas tree for me. I am in the midst of making New England Pot Roast, a very simple recipe, with only a few ingredients. It smells good, my official taste testers, who ALWAYS, tell it like it is will let me know later on today.

                                1. re: Ruthie789

                                  New England Pot Roast, a simple recipe it was, another 1 pot meal, blade roast, horseradish, beef broth, cranberry sauce, cinnamon stick, and cloves, carrots and small white onions. Flavor combination was lovely. I also like that she gives suggestions after each recipe of what pairings go with the meal. Now as for the PEANUT GALLERY, they did not like the blade roast, found it too grisly...

                                  1. re: Ruthie789

                                    Too bad this dish wasn't a universal hit but it sounds wonderful. I really enjoyed this book during the COTM so I'm keen to hear what appeals to you as you work your way through it (or at least make a dent in it....such a HUGE book!!)

                                      1. re: Ruthie789

                                        I love that book, Ruthie. Even with heavy-ish (for me) participation when it was COTM, I barely scratched the surface. But most of the recipes I tried were winners. I need to get back into it. You'll surely find something that will have the PG cheering.