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Cookbook of the Month April 2013: The Voting Thread

Sorry to keep y'all in suspenders, as my granny would have said. Well she wouldn't have said y'all, because she was from Yorkshire, but you catch my drift.

April was a lively discussion month with a definite Spring in its step! I've counted and double counted, and I reckon there were four titles with the same number of votes. No clear frontrunner. So it looks like we've got a nailbiter on our hands!

The runners are:

AD HOC AT HOME/THOMAS KELLER MONTH

SMITTEN KITCHEN COOKBOOK AND BLOG

FOOD FROM PLENTY BY DIANA HENRY (with an adjunct thread)

SOUL OF A NEW CUISINE by Marcus Samuelsson

For more details on the books in contention (plus an interesting discussion on how to organise your cookbooks), head over to the nomination thread. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/893366

For voting, I thought we'd try Breadcrumbs' suggestion of using the fancy new "recommend" button. The nominated books will appear in separate posts. To vote, simply click on the box next to "recommend" at the bottom of the post. You can still only vote once! I will be checking!

Voting will close at 0800 GMT on Thursday 21st March (or midnight on the 20th if you're on the West Coast of America - y'all can work out the rest).

Fingers crossed that this new system of voting works and we don't have another Florida on our hands!

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    1. Vote here by clicking on the recommend box for:

      SMITTEN KITCHEN COOKBOOK AND BLOG

      1. Vote here by clicking on the recommend box for:

        FOOD FROM PLENTY BY DIANA HENRY (with adjunct thread)

          1. PS Don't be afraid to post if you have any questions/comments!

            103 Replies
              1. re: blue room

                I've just spotted a flaw - I can't recommend my own post! Disenfranchised!

                1. re: greedygirl

                  Hah! Well, we can always award exclusive rights to use of the "+1" for our distinguished co-ordinator!!

                  1. re: greedygirl

                    If it turns out that you're voting for a different book than whatever i decide on, I'd be more than happy to cast your vote for you (but you'll have to remember that I'm allowed 2 votes this month). Let me know if you'd like me to do so.

                    A bit disappointed that the Diana Henry books are not available on kindle - they look wonderful.

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      I think I'll just hang back and add my vote at the end if it looks tight. For the record, I'm voting for DIANA HENRY. Apart from anything else, it's the only one I own or have interest in owning!

                      1. re: greedygirl

                        That is what is most appealing to me right this second, although i want to think about it. Tomorrow is the last day our library is open for the next few weeks, so I'm going to try hard to stop by and pick the books up. Fingers crossed they are still there!

                        1. re: LulusMom

                          Sounds like a plan! I hope you're feeling better by the way and that Mr LLM has been looking after you.

                          1. re: greedygirl

                            Wish me luck at the library tomorrow! On am definitely on the road to recovery (although still hacking on day 24, for crying out loud). LulusDad has been doing a superlative job of looking after me. But he's leaving the country tomorrow. Eeek!

                          2. re: LulusMom

                            gg, Mel, LlM and others w the book. Could you give me a sense of what spring-type recipes Plenty might have? I did a quick view of its recipes in EYB but what I saw reminded me more of fall dishes. I've had this book on my Amazon wishlist for some time and have been on the fence. I didn't see recipes in the list that seemed different from those in other books I already own.

                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                              Here's a few that are spring-like either in ingredients or attitude, plus a few that I would consider all-season:

                              There are a set of recipes for leftover roast chicken that go in an Asian direction with it:Vietnamese Chicken with Nuoc Nam, and Chiang Mai Chicken Noodles.

                              There is a lot of lamb, I won't even begin to list them.

                              Pinzimonio - a starter of raw veg that calls for young carrots, peas, radishes, etc.

                              Peas, broad beans, and chorizo with mint

                              Beetroot, fennel and radish salad
                              Radish, olive, anchovy and parsley salad
                              Turkish carrots with lentils and herbs
                              Greek potatoes, curly endive, spinach and leeks with dill, mint and garlic yoghurt
                              Lentils with spring cabbage and peperoncino
                              Spring couscous
                              Mackerel with spiced rhubarb relish
                              Beetroot, celeriac and smoked mackerel salad
                              Roast mackerel on potatoes, lemon and thyme
                              Many salmon dishes, whether that is appropriate depends upon where your fish come from
                              Genoese squid with potatoes
                              Braised squid with fennel (variation of the above)
                              Pea and coriander soup
                              Cool lettuce and herb soup
                              Soup Savoyarde
                              Parsnip and smoked haddock soup
                              Wild greens soup
                              Wild garlic and goat's cheese omelet
                              Some strawberry recipes (here in the South, strawberries would be available in April)

                              1. re: MelMM

                                Mel, sincere thanks for this. Such a helpful list & much appreciated.

                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                  I initially recommended Diana Henry when it was colder. However, April can still sometimes be quite cool here, not to mention rainy, so I might appreciate some of the more warming recipes

                            2. re: LulusMom

                              Managed to get Plenty and Pure, Simple Food (hope that is the right name) from my library yesterday. Had a look at the second one and was really impressed. There is a lot in there that I'd like to make. It doesn't look like it has a bat's chance in hell of winning, but it is worth picking up for those of you who like good food with fairly uninvolved prep work. I'm happy to have it for the next 3 weeks.

                                1. re: greedygirl

                                  I can see why. I have a feeling that the library copy is going to end up making me need to have a copy. I'm going to try something from it next week. So many things look so good.

                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      Can you tell me some of your favorites? I plan to make the cod with anchovies and white bean puree along with the roasted tomatoes with herbs first.

                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                        Just a note for anyone who has this Diana Henry book (Pure, Simple Food, I believe it is called) - made a full meal from it last night that was loved (raved about!) by everyone. As I mentioned above, I made the cod with anchovies and white bean puree, and served the roasted tomatoes with herbed breadcrumbs on the side. Going for the pasta with roasted onions, Gorgonzola and walnuts next week.

                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          The only DH book I have is Flavors. The chapter titles are:
                                          Lemon & Lime, Chocolate, Mint & Basil, Salt & Pepper, Cinnamon & Spice, Vanilla, Ginger & Chili, and Garlic & Onion. Nothing like Mighty Spice at all, but still probably enough there to recreate a pretty tasty dish or two... Just hasn't happened here yet.

                                          Your dishes sound great!

                                          1. re: Gio

                                            Thanks Gio. Wow, those are some interesting title headings. After last night's dinner LulusDad said "I think you should buy the book."

                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                              Uh Oh! Wonder what my next move will be. If LLD says That, I "should buy the book" yes?

                                              1. re: Gio

                                                All signs point to yes. Going to live with the book (from the library) for another week or two before making the definite decision. Maybe greedygirl can help us out.

                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                  I looked on EYB and I can't find a listing for a book called Flavors by Diana Henry. Perhaps the US version has a different title?

                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                    I think Flavours is by Donna Hay, and the Diana Henry book mentioned is Pure, Simple Food.....

                                                      1. re: Allegra_K

                                                        You're correct. I confused the issue... sorry!
                                                        Who said alphabet soup?

                                            2. re: LulusMom

                                              I also got Pure Simple Cooking from the library this week, and love the sound of lots of the recipes. I am planning on cooking a couple of things from it in the next few days, so I am very encouraged by your experience, LulusMom!

                                              I am thinking we should have a "Cooking from Diana Henry's Books" thread, given how enthusiastic people are about her. I would be happy to start one if others would like to join in.

                                              P.S. On the plus side for the "need to own" impulse, this book and some of her others are fairly slim...

                                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                I would definitely join in, if you posted such a thread.

                                                Is the book you got, and LLM got, actually called "Pure Simple Cooking"? That is the title I'm seeing on Amazon. I have one called "Cook Simple," which I believe is the UK edition of the same book.

                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                  You're right about the book title, MMM, and as I'm still within the edit window, I corrected it in my post.

                                                  I went ahead and started a thread, though I won't have anything to report until at least tomorrow. I hope to see you all there!

                                                  Here it is: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/895953

                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                    Yep, that is the one. For some reason my brain isn't storing that information. Sorry about misleading people. It really is a nice looking book, lots of stuff that sounds good to me.

                                                  2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                    I'd be more than game for a thread like that Caitlin!

                                                  3. re: LulusMom

                                                    Yay! So pleased you like this book.

                                              2. re: LulusMom

                                                What is the name of the book you're interested in, LLM? "Pure and Simple Food'?

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  Pure Simple Cooking by Diana Henry. Do you have it too? I really marked a lot of dishes when I went through it yesterday, salivating. If you have it, would love to hear about anything you've made and what you thought.

                                2. re: greedygirl

                                  Oh no, I don't want to be the cause of another hanging chad...fingers crossed that this works out!!!

                                  On the voting, this rarely happens and it may come as a surprise to some folks but I only own 1 of the books nominated! It should make my life easier for voting but, I don't know if there are enough weeknight friendly meals in Ad Hoc that I could support it for a month of cooking. I'll take a look this weekend.

                                  1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                    I own them all, as is often the case. Makes the deciding harder, but it means I'll be ready to go whatever the result.

                                    1. re: MelMM

                                      Oooh, well I'll be watching to see where you place your well-considered vote then Mel!! I may just need to buy a book!

                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                        Well, I have only cooked from two of the books, Ad Hoc and Plenty, so I don't know how well-considered my vote is. It's really based on just knowing myself, and what book I'd be most likely to cook from in a month when I have a hectic travel schedule (again.... seems to be a theme in my life lately). Different circumstances would very possibly result in a different choice.

                                        1. re: MelMM

                                          I'll be travelling as well Mel...at least if it's a book I don't own that wins, I likely won't feel like I'm missing out because of my travel!

                                  2. re: greedygirl

                                    Thanks, GG! This new "recommend" system is fun -- I like how easy it is to keep track of the horse race!

                                    I'm going to have a hard time choosing between Diana Henry and Thomas Keller (the two options I already own). Anybody want to share thoughts for and against? (I know that's what the nomination thread was for, but still....)

                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                      Just got Ad Hoc at Home from the library. Wow, that is a large book! I will spend some time looking at that one this weekend before I make up my mind. Unfortunately, my library doesn't have any Diana Henry books (very US centric, the cookbook section is) and I'm not sure I want to spring for it right at the moment.

                                      1. re: greeneggsnham

                                        genh, I'll be interested to hear what you think of Ad Hoc at Home. I agree w you, it's size alone is kind of intimidating. I hope to review it this weekend as well. My biggest issue is whether there are enough recipes in there that are weeknight friendly. On the weekends mr bc tends to enjoy a COTM-free experience...unless of course it's an Italian book. ; - )

                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                          I was able to spend a little bit of time with AHAH this weekend and I have mixed feelings. I think it would make a good COTM, but it's just not a great book for me at the moment. It is written with the home chef in mind, specifically, it's written for a home chef who has time and energy to devote to improving their skills. That's why I think it would be a good COTM. Unfortunately, I am more often the home chef madly trying to get something on the table after work so we don't all starve.

                                          There are some recipes that would be weeknight doable, provided there had been some advance planning and shopping. But a lot of the recipes to me seem like something I might make for an elegant dinner party rather than for family dinner. Much more butter and cream than I use regularly, and a much more refined feel than needed for our family dinners.

                                          That said, I would happily read along and participate when I could if it wins. And I have my eye on those ice cream sandwiches even if it doesn't win.

                                          1. re: greeneggsnham

                                            greeneggsnham, thank you for this. I was contemplating switching my vote over to AHAH because it appears Smitten Kitchen isn't going to win, but I don't think it would be a good fit for me personally either. Like you, most of my cooking is devoted to weeknights, with maybe one more involved meal on weekends. But since SO started a job where he's gone most weekdays, our weekends are usually jam packed with errands and events and seeing friends so I don't have the time then either to devote to involved recipes.

                                            1. re: greeneggsnham

                                              Yes, this is a funny sort of book...I found it a bit off-putting when I initially bought it (I am not as advanced a home cook as many of you) because of the seeming fussiness and precision, not to mention the huge size of it. But over time I've warmed to the book and don't have the same impression. I would think there would be a number of things you could make on a weeknight. Of course, my warming has only resulted in making a single recipe thus far (crispy braised chicken thighs with olives, lemon and fennel) -- but I've made it 2-3 times and all on weeknights (total time probably 45 minutes). He also has a couple of recipes that repurpose leftovers from his braised short ribs (beef stroganoff and Catalan beef stew). Some of the salads (including grain and bean salads), as well as the sides seem quite doable as well.

                                              That said, I'm not voting, since my track record on actually participating has been terrible. And I'd be torn between this and Samuelsson anyway. But I'll enjoy reading along with all of you no matter what way the voting goes!

                                              1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                I’m out of the country right now and won’t be back until early May so am neither nominating nor voting. But I did want to jump in here to say that your reasons for NOT leaning toward AHAH, greeneggsnham, are exactly the reasons I would vote for it if I were voting. I live alone, I don’t have to get a meal on the table, I no longer work a day job, I can cook whatever I want whenever I want whenever I feel like it. (Yes, I know. Poor me.) In my circumstances, there’s nothing I love more than a challenge, a learning experience. That’s exactly what I turn to COTM for.

                                                I know there have been previous discussions about just what it is we all look and hope for in a COTM selection. My hope is that our choices are balanced between those books that are mostly appropriate for weeknight, family dining and those that are more time intensive. I’d be very disappointed to see COTM tend only in one direction.

                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                  Joan, I appreciate your comments and I too, would hope COTM would not gravitate too far to one extreme or the other. And I know I really enjoy reading about the challenges that other COTMers tackle with living vicariously through them.

                                                  1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                    This is an interesting sub-thread: I agree with JoanN and greeneggs that what I like about my experience with COTMs (I think it's about two years now) is that there IS such a variety of books that go in different directions. We've had seasonal-type books, we've had books celebrating a certain type of cuisine, we've had weekend AND weeknight types of recipes made available, plus some really fascinating ethnic cookbooks. Occasionally I end up taking a month off, but I always know that there will be a month coming up that I can enjoy getting into. Somehow the nominating and voting process works out, thanks especially to the good work of the moderators.

                                                    1. re: Goblin

                                                      Absolutely agree. When Lulu was a baby, and I was a lot more tied down, some of the only new stuff I was getting to do in my life was trying to cook something new. And boy, did I, thanks to COTM. I made my first pastry, I made Vietnamese food, Chinese food (I *never* thought I'd be cooking stuff that tastes as authentic as this does/did), all sorts of things. And it gave me a feeling of accomplishment that some of the "easier" books don't. At the same time, I definitely understand and feel the need for there to be some recipes that are quick, easy and very good. I really really understand it. So I think changing things up from month to month is a great way to keep it.

                                                      1. re: Goblin

                                                        I'm trying to pick the book that has the food that I want in front of me on the plate. Regardless of time or technique required, rarity of ingredients or reputation of author. I figure if the recipes appeal to me, that's what matters.
                                                        The *used* book price is rarely a problem, and the penny books balance the $30 books. I do have a few square feet of *very* little-used ingredients stored away from past COTMs, but even those get use once in a while, serendipitous!
                                                        This is off-topic, but the new way we are voting (which is cool) might look like a simple survey to some -- are we getting clicks (votes) from casual passersby? I think that defeats the purpose? Or is it good exposure for COTM?

                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                          I do see votes from people who don't typically post in these threads, but maybe they have been reading and cooking along and not voting? I would love it if some of those folks eventually jumped in and post about their experiences with the books, the more the merrier!

                                                          ~TDQ

                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                            I know what you mean, but I'm thinking some voters think we're just asking "what's your choice for hottest book?", not "which book do you, a home cook, want to cook from this month?" The new format has mistakenly given a new meaning (the medium is the message) to the "election". Or maybe I'm haha all wet.. and full of olive vegetable!

                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                              Maybe those folks can vote on which of us is correct by recommending either your theory or mine...

                                                              ~TDQ

                                                            2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                              I've been waiting for the right book to get me into the whole COTM rhythm. So I vote for books I'd like to test run and hopefully soon enough I will write up my two cents as well.

                                                              1. re: Musie

                                                                Musie, I can completely relate. It took me a long time to finally take the COTM plunge. In my case, it was more about my insecurity about my cooking skills than the actual choices of books. All I can say is when I finally jumped in, my first thought was, "Oh, I wish I'd done this sooner!" When you're ready, I'm sure you'll be as hooked as the rest of us!

                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                1. re: Musie

                                                                  What TDQ said. We're pretty unjudgemental and friendly, and we love having new people join us. You'll have fun - I promise.

                                                                2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                  I think the directions are pretty clear. I seldom participate due either to timing or not having the book.

                                                                  I do vote once in a while if I have the book - hence my vote this month.

                                                                  1. re: meatn3

                                                                    Thank you, meatn3 -- I don't think everyone understands that their votes materially affect other people. If you vote but your participation depends on which book wins -- nah, boo to that.

                                                                    1. re: blue room

                                                                      The flip side is that I often lurk and the enthusiasm which builds during the month often prompts me to eventually purchase a specific book.

                                                                      My budget lends itself to thrift store finds - which are very much happenstance! My new book purchases are few and far between.

                                                                      Do (this is to all the regular COTM contributors) remember that there are probably many people cooking along who don't get around to posting their experience for whatever reason.

                                                                      I think the contributors come off as a very friendly welcoming bunch. There is definite comradery in the threads but the posters keep it from feeling like a closed clique. But I could see a shy newbie being nervous about posting.

                                                                      1. re: blue room

                                                                        That's interesting. I voted this month, my choice didn't win, and I can't get the winning book through my library and it's not one I'm interested in owning. Does that mean I shouldn't have voted for a book I would have loved to have cooked through, because my participation depended only on whether my choice won?

                                                                        Also, for Jerusalem month, I purchased the book and read thorugh the threads, and even cooked a few recipes - but then got really busy and lacked the oomph to write up. That was a shame but I'm sure it happens regularly that those with good intentions can't keep up. Great book, though - no regrets about buying it.

                                                                        1. re: limoen

                                                                          You can still write up those recipes from Jerusalem! COTM threads are never closed. We keep adding to them, albeit at a slower pace, long after the designated month is over. This week I posted to the thread for a COTM that was over 2 years old. There have been months when, for reasons of work or travel, I didn't get to the book during the month, but I often get to it later, and post without regret.

                                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                                            True, but there's an element of fun, interactivity and support during the actual month that's really lovely, hence why I lurk even when I have no interest in owning the book! As I imagine many do. Intrigued to see what everyone will make of Ad Hoc at Home

                                                                            1. re: limoen

                                                                              You might be surprised at how much fun, interactivity, and support there is on many of the older threads as well. Granted, a lot of that has to do with the fact that those of us who have participated for years, if not from the very beginning, have those threads pop up on our profile page as soon as someone has posted to them. It makes it much easier for us to keep track of new additions. But everyone is welcome to the party. Post to those threads and they’ll pop up for you, too.

                                                                          2. re: limoen

                                                                            I always really enjoy reading your posts limoen so if you have the time to add your reviews to the Jerusalem thread, I'll look forward to reading them!

                                                                            I've actually purchased most of the old COTM's since joining CH in Oct 2010 and I love cooking from those books because if I find a recipe I'm interested, I know I can check back to the COTM threads to see if anyone has made the dish before and then add my own impressions.

                                                                            I don't know if you're an EYB member but if so, I've found it helps to create a COTM-Historical bookmark and add in all the books folks have cooked from here. Often when I'm searching by ingredients I first limit my search to that Bookmark because there's a good chance someone else has made it.

                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                              I found EYB through chowhound. I think it was a post about organizing recipes or managing cookbooks; I can't recall for sure. I just remember being absolutely delighted It has truly changed the way I use my cookbooks.

                                                                              And now on this thread, I've discovered that I'm barely using it. I only use it for searching for recipes to match ingredients and mood. I never noticed the bookmark feature (I guess I'm slow). I am so excited to dive deeper into this great resource!

                                                                            2. re: limoen

                                                                              My scolding on this subject is a broken record, I'm sure some are tired of me. You said the magic words yourself, though -- "good intentions". It's the Golden Rule, I suppose.
                                                                              Twenty people say hey let's have a picnic!
                                                                              Twenty people say agreed, OK, yeah, a picnic!
                                                                              Freddie says let's bring cold fried chicken.
                                                                              Flossie says no, cold poached salmon.
                                                                              I say lets vote.
                                                                              Twenty people say okay, we'll vote.
                                                                              Cold poached salmon 12
                                                                              Cold fried chicken 8
                                                                              The fried chicken people say well, we aren't going on the picnic after all.
                                                                              Of *course* if something comes up and you can't make it, that's different!

                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                I think COTM is a little different than that... You're asking people to go to some amount of effort to acquire --perhaps even purchase-- a cookbook, then spend their precious time, money, and calories cooking, eating and serving-to-their families meals from said book off and on for an entire month.

                                                                                It's quite a commitment to ask of someone (and the rest of their household) who may not enjoy a particular cuisine or have access to or the budget for seasonal or high-end ingredients.

                                                                                I do always try to cook at least a couple of dishes from the chosen book each month, because I always learn something and am sometimes surprised, but I don't think anyone should feel bad taking a month off if the chosen book doesn't suit your tastes, dietary restrictions, or budget.

                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                  TDQ, your first sentence was
                                                                                  "I think COTM is a little different than that..."
                                                                                  My last sentence was
                                                                                  "Of *course* ... that's different!"
                                                                                  So we agree on that. *All sorts of things* make a difference.
                                                                                  I'm arguing the principle I guess.
                                                                                  You aren't right when you say I am asking people to make an effort, to commit to a certain book/cuisine. They themselves agreed to that. Agreed to participate when they voted, didn't they? Why else would you vote in a group decision? To go off and do your own thing?
                                                                                  My silly picnic example was not obtuse I hope.

                                                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                                                    So you feel that anyone who enters into a specific months vote is agreeing to participate regardless of which book is ultimately chosen? I'm not trying to put words in your month - just trying to be sure I am interpreting your post as you intended.

                                                                                    I can see a certain logic in that line of reasoning. But, speaking only for myself, I view the situation very differently.

                                                                                    Often the books up for vote vary by such wide degrees that I would be surprised if the majority of those voting would be content cooking from all of them. I look at the Dish of the Month in a similar vein. So far tacos, baklava, asparagus and spring rolls have been voted for along with many others. I wouldn't expect the passionate asparagus person to be equally as interested in baklava. If they are great but I would have no expectations of seeing them in that months resulting reports.

                                                                                    If a book I have voted for is not selected I very well may opt out of participating. It is not from being a poor sport - I either have no interest in that months book, don't have access to the book, or the recipes do not lend them self to the realities of my personal life at that time.

                                                                                    I will read along because I usually find the reports and discussions of interest and invariably learn from them. But I will do so silently since I have no hands on experience with the topic.

                                                                                    As one who does not have an extensive history of active participation in COTM I have to say that the expectation of full participation with the chosen book due to simply voting seems unrealistic. If that view point is held by the majority of COTMers then I think many of us considering will opt to stay silent onlookers. I just don't commit unless I am sure of what I am committing to. I would never commit to COTM without knowing which cookbook it was...

                                                                                    1. re: meatn3

                                                                                      Well, I for one, feel differently. I try to participate even if the book I voted for was not chosen. But when a book is chosen that I have no interest in, and do not own, I feel no obligation to participate. This doesn't happen often, but it does happen. I do make an effort to get the book from the library, just to see if there is anything that appeals to me. But if not? I just do not participate for that month. I think the last time I did not participate at all, was when we did Homesick Texan. I did check the book out of the library, but it did not appeal at all.
                                                                                      I think that if we encourage people to participate when they have, or like, the book, and not "enforce" participation (not that anyone is suggesting enforced participation) when they do not have an interest, then we will build a stronger, broader community here.

                                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                        Agree completely that a stronger, broader community is the best end result!

                                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                          I agree with you L.Nightshade. I don't have this month's book and can't get a cheapish copy, but I will probably try an online recipe or two.

                                                                                        2. re: meatn3

                                                                                          Here's how it works: Toward the beginning of a given month, the organizer posts a thread inviting suggestions for the next month's cookbook and members chime in with their suggestions. The organizer gathers those responses and there's a vote amongst the most popular suggestions. Once a winner is determined, an announcement goes up so people have some time to buy or borrow the book from the library before the new month starts. For those who can't get the book itself, there are often some recipes available online.

                                                                                          Ok ok I'll unruffle my feathers!

                                                                                          1. re: blue room

                                                                                            Thanks for the additional clarification!

                                                                                            Since I am a 98% lurker on COTM I don't even think of participating in the nomination threads. But I am always very excited when I have access to one of the books up for the final vote.

                                                                                            I have attempted obtaining the book from the library. Many of the titles were only available through inter-library loan. Once I was successful, but the book arrived two weeks into the next month. I scanned the recipes that appealed, but the power of the group momentum was gone...

                                                                                            Which brings me to what makes COTM so amazing and keeps me reading faithfully even if I have no interest in the cookbook that month: Somehow this series of threads has captured the best of Chowhound. The passion, curiosity, willingness to share flavor every post. It is wonderful seeing cooks develop new skills and watch the friendships develop. Even our differing views are handled with respect and tact and a desire for peaceful understanding. Could you imagine how quickly this conversation would have turned ugly on NAF?

                                                                                            I look forward to following the journey in the coming month!

                                                                                        3. re: blue room

                                                                                          I'm sorry my dearest blue room, but I don't believe that simply by casting a vote, people are inherently agreeing to participate in ANY book that wins.

                                                                                          What if you're a vegetarian and Fish Without a Doubt wins?

                                                                                          What if you live in Minnesota (where the first killing freeze was in mid-October and the ground remains frozen solid until the end of March) and a book that is heavily reliant on fresh produce wins for April?*

                                                                                          What if your spouse absolutely cannot countenance Indian food and 660 Curries wins?

                                                                                          What if Breakfast, Lunch and Tea wins and the only way to get ahold of the book is to buy it and you're on a strict budget?

                                                                                          Are you saying that if any of these kinds of books you don't want to cook from is a finalist in the voting round alongside a book in which you are very interested, you must abstain from voting if one of the finalists is an absolute nonstarter for you?

                                                                                          I respectfully disagree. I think if you nominate and/or vote for a book that goes on to win, you should make every effort to cook from it. I think if a book you are not interested in wins, you ought to consider cooking from it because you might learn something as I nearly always do, but I don't think you are obligated.

                                                                                          I will say that another reason it took me so long to try COTM is because of the strong suggestion that used to accompany the voting threads "If you vote for it, you must cook from it" (I'm paraphrasing of course). I was very uncertain of my cooking skills back then. I was worried that I might not be able to go the distance with even a book I was very interested in. So I didn't vote, and therefore didn't feel engaged and/or a true part of the process, and therefore didn't participate.

                                                                                          Just as I feel people should feel welcome to wander into COTM at any point during the month, I feel they should feel free to wander away at any time. COTM, and Chowhound in general, is supposed to be fun, and if you're not having fun, take a break.

                                                                                          These days, if I think there is a very strong possibility I will be able to cook from the winner, I nominate and vote, otherwise I abstain, although I do participate in the discussion. I often cook along and don't post my experiences if a half a dozen people have made a recipe and I have nothing to add other than "me too!"

                                                                                          Also, I'm afraid don't understand your picnic analogy, either its parallel to COTM or its general logic. Why do 20 people have to share only dish? Have it be a potluck and everyone bring their own with enough to share and enjoy the spice of life.

                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                          * I'll admit, I'm already nervous about AHaH's apparent heavy reliance on "seasonal" recipes http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8943... Any fresh produce in MN in April is going to have to come from afar. Late April and early May are the worst for produce here as any fresh local produce that you overwintered (apples and squash and root vegetables) are pretty soft and hideous, and nothing can even be planted, let alone grow and be harvested, until the ground thaws, except in a hot house, which I don't support. April is my "rely on frozen vegetables" month, which is not so Thomas Keller-y.

                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                            TDQ, my *only* quarrel is with those who decide ahead of time that they won't participate if their book doesn't win!

                                                                                            Of course you are right, there are all sorts of things that would limit participation.

                                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                                              When we've done bbq books I know that there are some who haven't been able to participate because they live in cities and don't have a place to bbq. And for me, a book that is all about meat is going to sit untouched since we mostly don't eat red meat in our house. So obviously I won't vote for those books, and eating out of them would be pretty near undoable. So we have to keep in mind that people may have different reasons holding them back.

                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                One thing I'd like to add to this discussion is that I think "participation" can take many forms and all is welcome in my view.

                                                                                                Even if folks don't have the book and are reading along w the threads, I'd highly encourage them to pop in and leave a note commenting on a dish that appeals or to ask a question.

                                                                                                I also love it when someone with subject matter expertise shares tips with us. This month's COTM is a great example. The posts from members who have taken the time to explain different Chinese ingredients or cooking techniques are just as valuable to me as the reviews...and I'm cooking more authentic dishes as a result.

                                                                                                I don't think we could ever have too many cooks in our COTM kitchen and I really hope folks will participate in the threads whether or not they are cooking from the book. I know when I post about a dish I'm always happy to answer a question, learn a tip or hear from someone who has or would do the dish differently or, even just rec'v a word of encouragement. It all enhances the cooking experience!!

                                                                                              2. re: blue room

                                                                                                You know, I kind of understand where you're coming from. I'm not trying to put words in your mouth, but it seems to me that you think of COTM as its own little community within the broader community of Home Cooking and even broader community of Chowhound. And I do, too, actually.

                                                                                                So, I get what I think you're saying that as a citizen of COTM, it's not very nice to never cook unless your book wins. I kind of agree that it might make make one seem like a bad sport or a bad citizen or whatever.

                                                                                                But, I don't think everyone necessarily thinks of COTM as its own little community. I guess I view those folks sort of as passersby or guests. The community hosts them graciously and hopefully they contribute something along the way.

                                                                                                But I also understand and forgiving of real life constraints. Time/money/personal preferences/and calories are real. If people just want to cook from particular books and stay away otherwise, if they don't really see themselves as a citizen of COTM, I can totally respect that.

                                                                                                I think if we leave the welcome mat out, we'll hook all of those people because, afterall, they love cookbooks and they love food.

                                                                                                I hope this makes sense and that I've understood you correctly.

                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                  I'm finding this discussion very interesting. I am someone who lurked on CH for quite a long time before one book finally drew me in and made me want to actually participate (660 Curries). I felt welcomed by the "little community" and it encouraged me to continue participating.

                                                                                                  This month when I saw that EGOR had won I decided not to participate, even though there are dishes online that I could make, and even though I did take part in nominating and voting. I didn't step back out of pettiness because "my book" didn't win; on this particular month it just felt easier to not participate. I know that in time my library will acquire the book & I'll enjoy reading through the discussions and letting your comments guide my cooking choices from EGOR.

                                                                                                  Now your comments have me re-thinking my behaviour. Should I not have voted for Burma last month, knowing as i did that EGOR was a very popular option which would likely win and that I would be very unlikely to participate if it won?

                                                                                                  1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                    If you wanted Burma to win, and would have cooked from it, then you did the right thing to my mind!

                                                                                                    1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                      geekmom please continue to nominate, vote and participate in a way that makes sense for you!! I think that's all we can ask of folks. The more the merrier and I'm enjoying your contributions.

                                                                                                      All the excitement over Burma made me move it into my kitchen and start flagging recipes!!

                                                                                                      1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                        I think everyone should participate as life permits. Vote your passion and out of a sincere wish to cook with all of us from the book you vote for and all will be well.

                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                          And, if my repsonse above was too cryptic, the answer is no, I see nothing wrong at all with you having voted for Burma.

                                                                                                          I think Burma will definitely have its day, by the way. I think it's just a matter of when.

                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                      2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                        I think that is very well put TDQ. I can see that this discussion has sparked some passionate responses, which is a good thing, since it shows how much people care about COTM.

                                                                                                        The reference to a community is a very apt one. Even if participants have an attachment to the COTM community they won't necessarily always approach the community the same way. I have held back on commenting here because in the 8 months or so that I have been participating I skipped participation in some months because I had no interest in the book that won. I never thought of it from the perspective held by some of the contributors here, I never once felt that perhaps my approach was unfair or not "community minded". I still don't believe that is the case but I better understand how some of you might perceive my type of approach.

                                                                                                        I must admit that for me cooking, and by extension COTM, are not only a hobby but a daily reality of survival. I need to feed myself and my partner and I choose to do it in a way that is most rewarding to my family. For me that means participating in COTM whenever I can, but because of the constraints of life and the fact I wish to enjoy my hobby I have only participated when I have been enthused by the selection. This month I was super charged about Soul of a New Cuisine, but TK just doesn't do it for me. I may very well do a few online recipes and lurk about the threads, but if the month is a busy one (which it likely will be with wedding planning) I may not.

                                                                                                        Community involvement is often a choice, and that is how I see COTM.

                                                                                                        After all of the above comments however I do think I will be more mindful of other opinions on the subject in the future.

                                                                                                      3. re: blue room

                                                                                                        blue room, that has been the case for me in both January and March. I knew that I wouldn't be able to get the required ingredients (due to both money and time restraints), so I knew I wouldn't participate if the books that won, won. Even this month, I don't have the extra money to buy Ad Hoc at Home (my original vote was for Smitten Kitchen so I could just use her blog, which is free!). I switched my vote to Soul of a New Cuisine because honestly, that sounded interesting and even if I couldn't participate I wanted to read about it. When I originally voted though, I did plan on buying the book, but just in the last few days some unexpected expenses have come up.... so even if it did end up winning, I wouldn't have gotten to participate anyway.

                                                                                                        This next month, I'm just going to try to use some of the web links people have provided for Thomas Keller recipes... but even then my participation will rely on how much time and money I have to buy ingredients I wouldn't normally buy, and if I have enough free time on weekends to devote to the recipes. I work full time from 9-6 and have an hour commute each way, so I rarely start dinner until 730 or even 8... cooking for another 2 hours on weeknights is not an option for me, and often we are doing other things on weekends, especially now that my SO travels often during the week. So while a book like Ad Hoc at Home sounds very interesting to me, my current lifestyle doesn't lend itself to long kitchen experiments. But like I said, a few of the web links are for things I can probably swing, so I'm going to do my best to try them.

                                                                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                          Julie, don't forget that it isn't just AHaH month, but Thomas Keller month. I highly recommend this Thomas Keller recipe. It is very diet and budget friendly. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                                                          I make it in advance either on the weekend, at night after the current night's dinner, or in the morning before getting ready for work.

                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                            Thanks! Roast chicken always pleases me.... so easy too, I don't know why I don't do it more often.

                                                                                                            Edit to add... one of the dishes I will be attempting to make is the Tarragon Chicken that was linked to, it looks pretty doable for a weeknight.

                                                                                                            1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                              Agreed! If you can take a few minutes in the morning to coat the chicken breasts in paprika & curry powder, it'll be even better, but the Serious Eats reviewer didn't do that step and still raved.

                                                                                                              I'm going to be making that this week because my local-foods market had fresh tarragon, to my amazement.

                                                                                                              Another approachable dish is the crispy braised chicken thighs w olives, lemon & fennel. It's a braise (finished with a broil), that can be cut in half for a family meal. The method's very similar to a Tyler Florence chicken with fennel dish that I've made for years (which makes me think that Keller's oven cooking time is at least ten minutes too short, unless the initial skin-side-down frying of the chicken goes the full ten minutes). Will report early in April...

                                                                                                              1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                I didn't really find that chicken with tarragon dish calling my name (but maybe I will after one of you posts about it), but that crispy braised chicken thighs actually sounds pretty good to me.

                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                            2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                              I can remember about 13 or 14 years ago I found out that I had to have extensive dental work that was going to cost (even with really good dental insurance!) a fourth of my yearly take-home pay. I ended up living on $40 a week, aside from rent. I walked to and from work each day. So I had to be verrrry careful with my food budget. Everyone has unexpected things come up in life. We all understand, I think (I think I accidentally answered TDQ on this, I meant to answer JJ - sorry!).

                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                Yeah I feel like here on Chow sometimes people don't understand what it's like to be on a pretty tight budget. But, glad to see some people understand :) It won't be like this forever for me so I at least like to live vicariously when I cannot participate myself, that way someday when I do have the extra funds, I can create whatever I like!

                                                                                                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                Thank you for posting this recipe, TDQ! Kind of similar to Zuni's in approach but without advanced prep. I'll to remember to use this technique when I have a friend(s) for dinner. For myself, I usually split chicken into two halves, freeze one for future, put back and wing tips into "for soup" freezer bag and roast remaining half usually on a bed of onions and garlic with generous sprinkling of S&P at high heat.

                                                                                                        2. re: blue room

                                                                                                          I voted for the March COTM but didn't participate when Every Grain of Rice won. Why would I when I'm not interested in cooking Chinese food?

                                                                                                          1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                                            Now I *am* feeling stung --

                                                                                                            this is why you would participate:

                                                                                                            http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8943...

                                                                                                            1. re: blue room

                                                                                                              The thread you linked to is the announcement that April's COTM is Ad Hoc at Home, and Njchicaa saying she's excited to participate and just received her copy of the book. Njchicaa was saying above she voted in March's, but didn't have any interest in the book that won (Every Grain of Rice), for March. They're not related, so I'm not sure why you're upset by that?

                                                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                I think you are talking about different months, no?

                                                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                  Don't feel stung! You are our dear blue room, member of the former COTM coordinator Hall of Fame. We are always interested in your perspective!

                                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                    Please don't feel so!

                                                                                                                    While we may not always agree, your pov gave me a chance to view the situation in a new way - always a worthwhile exercise imo.
                                                                                                                    And lively debate helps work up an appetite!

                                                                                                                    (Raising a glass) To blue room! Cheers!

                                                                                                            2. re: limoen

                                                                                                              I think we've all had those months when we had the best intentions to cook from the book and then life happened.

                                                                                                  2. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                    Same here, I didn't mean to say that I want EVERY COTM to be the style of cooking I do...I definitely know that wouldn't be challenging enough for most! I really enjoy reading and learning from the threads of all of them, even if I'm not participating.

                                                                                        4. Interesting to see the votes in the new fancy-schmancy voting system. I particularly like that all the nominations are grouped together in one place rather than scattered up & down the thread. A good use of the controversial Recommend button. Well done you, GG!

                                                                                          2 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                                                            The credit belongs to Breadcrumbs, really, as it was her idea.

                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                              Don't forget the expertise of the mods made it possible, they'v been decried lately. Cheez, give the new stuff a chance. I like the Henry book.

                                                                                          2. Thanks greedygirl, what a wild nom thread!

                                                                                            Love the recommend votes, and being able to see the tally.

                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                              Keeps things interesting - and me on my toes!

                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                This way makes it every easy to want to sit in front of your computer biting your nails, doesn't it??

                                                                                            2. Just dipping my toe in here so that I can keep this thread on my tally without having to look it up....apparently just clicking 'recommend' doesn't add it to the list.

                                                                                              I'm pretty excited to see how this is going to turn out!

                                                                                              15 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                It's a pretty close race this time around isn't it? Voting ends on Thursday though so I guess there's still a lot of time for things to play out....very exciting!

                                                                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                  Nailbiter so far. It will be interesting to see if people change their votes at the last minute if it seems like they've voted for a loser...

                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                    Oooh, even more excitement to consider TDQ! I would totally do that! I think we've seen a number of cases in the past where folks have asked to change their vote for one reason or another...now we can watch it all play out live!! Because it's so easy to check it's a little addictive though isn't it?

                                                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                      BC... I forgot how to change the recommendation... click it again to delete? Then vote somewhere else?

                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                        Yes, according to CH's post on Site Talk you can un-recommend by clicking again. Why don't you try it by recommending my post here then unr-recommending it later. blue room there was no time limit on it, no expiry.

                                                                                                      2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                        Is everyone aware that their votes can be changed by "unclicking" the recommend?
                                                                                                        I wonder if this expires, like the edit button?

                                                                                                        1. re: blue room

                                                                                                          I just recommended then un-recommended your post blue room. A second click does the trick.... ; )

                                                                                                          1. re: blue room

                                                                                                            There's no expiration time on Recommend.

                                                                                                            1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                                                                              Thanks Jacquilynne! Are you going to join us in the COTM perhaps?
                                                                                                              ; )

                                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                I always mean to, but never quite manage to!

                                                                                                                1. re: Jacquilynne

                                                                                                                  Well be warned, once you join, you'll be hooked Jacquilynne. I hope you join us, the more the merrier.

                                                                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                        ever so glad to find out I'm not the only one who checks these things a bit obsessively......

                                                                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                                                                          Ha! I used to always keep running tallies, until I was the coordinator for six months. After that, I was happy to just let it go and be surprised at the end!

                                                                                                    2. Vote here by clicking on the recommend box for:
                                                                                                      SMITTEN KITCHEN AND BLOG

                                                                                                      5 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                        Goblin... your vote is supposed to be counted by clicking the RECOMMEND word in the box where the smitten kitchen post is...on top of this thread with the other books in the running. Just slide your cursor over the space under the last sentence and you will see the red letters... Lord I hope that makes sense...

                                                                                                        1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                          Hey Goblin. Not sure you've understood how this new system works. Gio explains it well. You need to go to my post at the top of the thread which says vote here for SMITTEN KITCHEN and click in the recommend box. You'll see that quite a few people already have done so.

                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                            OK, I sure didn't get it at first but now I finally got it! Thanks for the help. To go boringly into the details, I was madly clicking INSIDE the little box, to no avail, not under the red "recommend" line and nothing was happening so I wrote my own post.
                                                                                                            Anyway, it's now recorded. Kinda fun to see the different votes mounting up! And a lot easier.

                                                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                Oh Blue Room, I LOVE these graphics and have appropriated one already for an email to a friend. Thanks!

                                                                                                        2. I was initially drawn to Soul of a New Cuisine as I have very little experience of African cuisine beyond a few local places I have tried, but after looking at the recipe list in the EYB index it seems there is definitely a large number of recipes with a distinctly Middle Eastern influence. Not surprising considering that Samuelson was born in East Africa and that there are likely a smattering of dishes of a North African sort, my challenge is that I likely won't be able to sell the significant other on more Middle Eastern food. He enjoyed Jerusalem, but I think he is good for a little while.

                                                                                                          Can anyone who has the book give us an idea of the approximate geography of the book. Are we talking mostly Ethiopian and North African or is there lots of stuff from the rest of sub-saharan Africa?

                                                                                                          19 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: delys77

                                                                                                            I am away from home, and don't have the book, but I would say that there are a lot of recipes that are not at all North African. I cook a lot of North African dishes, and there were so many things in this book that were completely dissimilar to those profiles. A lot of the dishes are "influenced by," in other words, a chef's take on traditional dishes. If I recall correctly there were some East, some West, some North, some Sub-Saharan inspirations. But the few dishes I've cooked from the book have been wonderful, and truly different.

                                                                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                              That is very encouraging LN, I think I'm giving my vote to Marcus.

                                                                                                              1. re: delys77

                                                                                                                I've been considering changing my vote to Samuelson after reading some compelling reviews of Soul of a New Cuisine yesterday. It's now a new day and I must rethink this. For us it would be better to move in a different direction than to keep repeating similar recipes that we're used to.

                                                                                                              2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                I'd echo what LN says. There are recipes from all over the continent. If it was mostly north African I probably wouldnt' find it quite so intimidating (although I have it and do very much want to cook from it).

                                                                                                                1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                  I own and am voting for SOUL OF A NEW CUISINE. I first borrowed this book from the library and later bought it because I liked it so much. I wrote a pretty extensive review on it on the Cookbook Challenge thread which I will repost here. I think this would make an excellent COTM. The recipes aren't overly challenging and it is a great introduction to African cuisine.

                                                                                                                  My challenge selection for this week will be THE SOUL OF A NEW CUISINE by Marcus Samuelsson. I bought it when it came up during the October COTM nomination process. This is the second time it was nominated and after the first time I checked it out of the library, along with every other Marcus Samuelsson book. I knew I liked the book before I bought it, but wasn't sure I would ever cook out of it. This thread gave me the perfect motivation to make sure I do cook out of it, at least for one week.

                                                                                                                  The book arrived by mail last week. I ordered it along with 5 others so I was very worried it would be buried both on my bookshelf and in my subconscious even before I had a chance to page through it again. My son (age 14) saw it sitting on the shelf and asked if he could take it up to his room. Of course I said yes! He has never shown the slightest interest in cooking before this. He came back down a couple of hours later and asked me if I would make two dishes with him next week. Not for him, with him. This alone makes the book a keeper. I told him I had most of the ingredients on hand but would need to buy the rest and then we could get started. The two recipes he selected were Curried Trout with Coconut Chili Sauce on page 207 and Apple Squash Fritters on page 172. Last night we made the trout, which we served with sauteed green beans. I hope to get to the fritters tonight and, if they are successful, we will add them to our Thanksgiving menu this year.

                                                                                                                  This is a gorgeous book. Not too big, but heavy. It is 344 pages, cover to cover. Marcus is a fascinating guy. His mother died in the tuberculosis epidemic that hit Ethiopia, and that is how/why he was adopted and raised in Sweden. His adoptive parents provided him with a privileged and very western life, so his memories of his early life in Africa are virtually nonexistent. But obviously he felt some pull back to his roots, because after he became a chef, a very successful chef, he started seeking out Ethiopian food and culture. First in New York, later in Ethiopia. Marcus' book focuses on the great beauty of Africa. His pictures show the towns, the rivers, the people, the animals, and of course, the food. He states "It' a place that assaults your sense: the colors are more vibrant, the music is more intense, the flavorings are startlingly spicy and aromatic; the heat prickles your skin." All of this comes through in his pictures and writing.

                                                                                                                  The first few chapters cover basics like ingredients, equipment, and spice blend and rubs, condiments and sauces. Then the stand alone recipes begin. I would not characterize this as a true African cookbook. It is a cookbook that offers a few traditional African dishes such as Doro Wett p. 244 and Injera, p. 144, sprinkled between a whole lotta African inspired dishes (African fusion cooking). Both types appeal to me.

                                                                                                                  Day One: Grocery shop and make the Curried Trout.

                                                                                                                  CURRIED TROUT WITH COCONUT CHILI SAUCE, p. 207 THE SOUL OF A NEW CUISINE

                                                                                                                  This is a simple recipe calling for whole trout, which I had the fishmonger clean and debone for me. The fish is seasoned with s and p and then a green curry paste (I used canned) is brushed over the skin and inside the fish. The fish is roasted at 375 for 8 minutes per side. While the fish is roasting, a sauce is made with shallots, garlic, serrano (omitted) the remainder of the curry paste, and tomatoes. After 10 minutes, 1 cup of coconut milk is added and the mixture cooks for another 10 minutes. The fish is removed from the oven, drizzled with lemon juice and then tented for 5 minutes. Sauce is served on the side. Verdict: Great, great flavor. Very spicy. Easy preparation. A 14 year old boy with no kitchen experience could easily do this on his own. Recipe provides opportunities for teaching a lot of basic techniques such as mincing, basting, reducing sauces, juicing lemons, pan roasting. Tweaks: Next time I would cut the sauce recipe in half and only juice one lemon (it called for two). I would also omit the serrano and substantially reduce the amount of green curry used. The recipe called for 1/4 c. next time I would use 1/8 c. at most. I might also consider diluting the paste so the heat is minimized but the flavor preserved. I think I would also use the lemon zest on the fish. One last thing, I would preheat the pan before adding the fish to get a crisper skin.

                                                                                                                  Day Two:

                                                                                                                  APPLE SQUASH FRITTERS, p. 172 THE SOUL OF A NEW CUISINE

                                                                                                                  Tonight is the eve of Yom Kippur so this will play nicely as a variation of the tradition of serving apples dipped in honey to usher in a sweet new year. 2 apples and 2 lbs butternut squash, and 4 garlic cloves are roasted at 350 for 15 minutes. The roasted veggies/fruit are brought to room temp and mashed up. Add to this 2 t. garam masala, 1 t. salt ,1 T. cornstarch and 1/3 c. (I used gluten free). Roll into balls and dredge in more flour. Fry in peanut oil. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or if it is Rosh Hashana, drizzle with honey. I'll report back with our results tomorrow.

                                                                                                                  Day Three:

                                                                                                                  APPLE SQUASH FRITTERS, p. 172 THE SOUL OF A NEW CUISINE

                                                                                                                  I wasn't able to get to the fritters on day two so we ended up having them for dessert on Day Three, it accompanied Del Taco for dinner (I hang my head in shame) and a Lost marathon (we are in the middle of season two so no spoliers please).

                                                                                                                  As I set out above, 2 apples and 2 lbs butternut squash, and 4 garlic cloves are roasted at 350 for 15 minutes. They go back in for another 20 minutes after removing the garlic. The roasted veggies/fruit are brought to room temp and mashed up. (Note that I had to roast them for much longer to get them to the mash up stage, about 40 minutes in total) and I used a food processor to mash them. Add to this 2 t. garam masala, 1 t. salt ,1 T. cornstarch and 1/3 c. (I used gluten free). Roll into balls and dredge in more flour. Fry in peanut oil (I used Canola oil). We sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.

                                                                                                                  Thoughts:

                                                                                                                  These were interesting, but I am not sure what else to say about them. Texture: on the soft side. I was expecting a crisper crust. Taste: Savory, I was expecting sweet. The garam masala really gave them a tropical flair, not at all dessert-like. Next time: I think they would make an excellent accompaniment to the spicy grilled fish I made two nights ago. I would plan on serving these on the main dinner plate rather than as a dessert. Their semi sweet edge would help cool the fire of the chiles. On their on, kind of blah.

                                                                                                                  My son's reaction: He loved them and he loved making them. We used TJs pre-cut butternut squash and he peeled, cut and tossed the apples. He roasted them himself and mixed in the various other ingredients. He rolled out the balls. I deep fried them on our wok burner. He made the cinnamon sugar topping. Wants some in his lunch box today. He also wants to keep cooking out of this book!

                                                                                                                  Next up: My son picked out the Zanzibari pizza recipe on p. 166. Marcus describes it as a chapati stuffed with eggs, meat and spices served hot off the grill. It is a street food so it is right up my alley, taste wise. It requires a bunch of stuff I don't have on hand so it will need to be tackled this weekend. Scotch Bonnets will need to be nixed for my household, but still need to make a green masala, potato lentil dumpling dough and spiced butter (all recipes set out on pages 27, 162, and 34 in the book).

                                                                                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                    DK... you have to go to the top of this thread and open the post that says, "Vote here by clicking on the recommend box for:
                                                                                                                    soul of a new cuisine," etc. It's the fourth post with the "Vote here..." statement. Then click on the red letters that say RECOMMEND. That's how your vote will be counted.

                                                                                                                    I Loved reading your account of cooking with your son. And, the recipes sound exciting. I voted for SOANC and just ordered the book. Can't wait for it to arrive.

                                                                                                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                      What a great idea to re-post your terrific review here dk...thanks!!

                                                                                                                      Just a reminder that we're using the "Recommend" feature for voting this month so to cast your vote, click on "Recommend" up-thread beside the book you've chosen.

                                                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                        Thanks for explaining. I didn't have a chance to read through the thread yet so I had no idea. I will go back and vote as you two described.

                                                                                                                      2. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                        Super helpful DK, thanks so much

                                                                                                                  2. re: delys77

                                                                                                                    Does anyone happen to know if "Discovery Of A Continent - Foods, Flavors, And Inspirations From Africa" by Marcus Samuelsson is the same book with an alternative name? Visually they are very similar but obviously that is no good if the recipes all differ!

                                                                                                                    1. re: Musie

                                                                                                                      Wow, that is interesting. The covers are nearly identical. I read the amazon reviews of this book. The few recipes that are mentioned in the reviews are all in Soul of a New Cuisine. Do you have the book, or have access to it? You could compare recipes in the book with the EYB list of recipes in Soul.
                                                                                                                      http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/1...

                                                                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                        I have ordered it. It is being sent from the UK, so perhaps it is the UK version of the book. I'll do a little recipe comparing when it arrives. It cost me maybe a quarter of the price of Soul of a new cuisine would have.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Musie

                                                                                                                          Musie, I looked at the book on Amazon and it appears to be the same book but published for UK market. A couple of recipes that reviewers mention are in the "Soul" as well. Hopefully they are similar enough that you won't have trouble following COTM reviews should it win.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Musie

                                                                                                                            Interesting to know, musie. I've been looking for a reasonably prized copy of this book without success. Unfortunately for me you seem to have bought the only cheap UK copy!

                                                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                              I originally just bookmarked it, but the price was too good to resist for more than a few minutes. There till could be more out there with the alternative name (assuming that is all it is).

                                                                                                                              1. re: Musie

                                                                                                                                There are loads, but they're all in the US, which is kind of ironic as I'm in the UK! Which site did you get it from out of interest? I am wavering about ordering from the US, because it can take up to a month to get here.

                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                  GG, DailyDeal UK has it for 15.95 pounds plus delivery - did you this on Amazon UK?

                                                                                                                            2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                              I received my copy of "Discovery of a continent" and having compared it to "Soul of a new cuisine" using online sources, they look like the same book but with different names. The recipes all seem to be the same and the book layout is also the same.

                                                                                                                        2. A vote for Ad Hoc is a vote for French Laundry and Bouchon too, if that makes up anyone's mind in this tough selection!

                                                                                                                          5 Replies
                                                                                                                          1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                            I missed that. They will all be included, as in Keller month? Or will the others be adjunct threads?

                                                                                                                            1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                              Based on gg's OP I think it's AH@H and TK month LN. That's how I'm reading it.

                                                                                                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                Yes, I agree with BC's alphabet soup recipe above!

                                                                                                                                1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                  That made me smile. I had no idea I did that!

                                                                                                                                2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                  There was a preference in the nomination thread for Ad Hoc At Home, so I think that would have its own threads, then there'd be a separate one for his other books. An adjunct thread, as it were.

                                                                                                                              2. Just marking my spot here so that I do not look all over for the thread.

                                                                                                                                1. I meant to vote for Smitten Kitchen but voted Ad Hoc by mistake. Can you fix that for me? Thx

                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                  1. re: shaebones

                                                                                                                                    shae, if you click the Recommend button under Ad Hoc again it will "unrecommend" (remove you recommendation/vote). Then you can click "recommend" for SK and cast you vote accordingly.

                                                                                                                                  2. Oh, I have to vote for Marcus Samuelsson. I live in Sweden, and for once I would be able to get the book from the library!

                                                                                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                                                                                    1. re: Hadil100

                                                                                                                                      Aw, that would be so great. I was waivering between "Ad Hoc" and "Soul" (I own them both), but your comment tipped me over to Soul of a New Cuisine.

                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                    2. Once again, I missed the whole nomination process this month. Busy, busy, busy! I haven't even cracked the spine of this month's selection!

                                                                                                                                      I would be up for cooking out of any of these with the exception of the Diana Henry book which does not appeal to me.

                                                                                                                                      I own Soul of (which I am voting for - see my post above) and Ad Hoc, and I really like Smitten Kittens style so I wouldn't mind adding this one to my collection.

                                                                                                                                      I noticed that Street Food was mentioned in the nom thread and I wish I had been involved because I really think this will make for an excellent COTM discussion. Maybe next - next month.

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                        Yes dk, let's get back to Street Food next month!
                                                                                                                                        Like you, I haven't even cracked this month's book. I'm still hoping to, but schedules have been so overwhelming, we've actually been eating take-out!

                                                                                                                                        1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                                                                          I started the month by doing a 5 day juice cleanse (which I would highly recommend to all you food driven people). Lost 4 1/2 lbs in 5 days, most of which has stayed off. But the reason I would recommend it is it really made me start craving things like salads and sautéed kale and finding desserts too sweet.

                                                                                                                                          I just can't seem to motivate enough to go shopping for all the necessary ingredients which isn't like me. Hoping to create a list this weekend and be better situated next week.

                                                                                                                                      2. Well I read through the Eat Your Books recipe list for the M. Samuelsson book. (I don't subscribe, so this makes me feel guilty!) But the result was no enthusiasm for the recipes. I don't see the beautiful pictures and background stories of course, just a list of names and ingredients -- what's on the plate. (I'm trying to separate the excitement/appreciation for a beautiful book from my dinner!)
                                                                                                                                        You know, he has a restaurant in New York
                                                                                                                                        http://redroosterharlem.com/menus/
                                                                                                                                        with a menu that does make me crazy, *that's* the book I'm gonna wait for.
                                                                                                                                        For this month, I can't pass up the 3 Keller books.

                                                                                                                                        1. Voting by using the new Recommend button is making it very easy to see who's ahead. I wonder if we'll see a lot of movement at the end. The people who are backing a book with only a few votes would decide which of the frontrunners to switch to ... ?
                                                                                                                                          And a lot can happen by Thursday!

                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                            It's a lot of fun, isn't it, to take a peek every now and then.. (They don't let me out of confinement very often...LOL)

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                              It's a pretty interesting "race." And it's only Saturday!

                                                                                                                                            2. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                              I might as well admit it: as the backer of a less-popular book, I will most likely be changing my vote as the time comes close to choose between the two frontrunners--kind of exciting!
                                                                                                                                              Yay! It's going to be like bidding on Ebay! ;-)

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                I'd probably do the same, especially if one of the frontrunners was a book I really didn't want to cook from...

                                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                  I may do the same, but if I do, I'll wait until the last minute to do it. There is a lot that could still happen between now and the end of voting, so I'm not going to get too worked up about some books having an early lead.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                    Yep, seen that happen a lot. The two front-runners aren't books I want to own, nor are they available in my library, but I'd be particularly interested in hearing the verdict on Ad Hoc at Home. I've had it on a 'maybe' list for a while but have wavered over the viability for the home cook.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: limoen

                                                                                                                                                      It's also possible to participate via online recipes.

                                                                                                                                                      Or, possibly, borrow from friends? [I've wondered how many here ever borrow cookbooks from (or lend them to) friends; maybe I'll start a thread.]

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                        I do both occasionally - borrow and lend - always for a particular meal or recipe.

                                                                                                                                              2. Since I have all the books, I thought it might be useful to list a some recipes from each of the front runners, that are catching my (very quirky) attention. Maybe some of the others that are voting for these books will also post recipes that appeal to them, or that they have tried, and it will help those of us who are considering changing our vote, or who haven't voted yet, make up our minds.

                                                                                                                                                I'll start with Ad Hoc at Home:
                                                                                                                                                Buttermilk Fried Chicken
                                                                                                                                                Split Pea Soup
                                                                                                                                                Cream of Cauliflower Soup with Red Beet Chips
                                                                                                                                                Roasted Beet and Potato Salad with soft-cooked egg, smoked salmon, and mustard vinaigrette
                                                                                                                                                Lamb Meatballs
                                                                                                                                                Fried Fresh Chickpeas
                                                                                                                                                There's a section of about 13 vinaigrettes, some of which I would make
                                                                                                                                                There are some mustards, pickles, jams, and other pantry items I would make

                                                                                                                                                My overall impression...the book is certainly not too difficult for the home cook. There are some recipes that call for specific ingredients that may be difficult to obtain (I'm talking about the fresh ingredients here, not pantry items). There are also recipes that are very seasonal, and you just wouldn't want to make them out of season. To be honest, most of the recipes seemed kind of boring to me, stuff I can already make very well without a recipe. I don't need to be told how to fry potato chips or sweet potato chips. There are no earth-shattering new techniques here. It's all basic stuff. If you are good on the basics, this book might be too dull. If you are still learning the basics, it will probably be extremely useful.

                                                                                                                                                On to Soul of a New Cuisine:

                                                                                                                                                Various spice mixes - I would probably make them all (Berbere, Awase, Black Olive Oil, Chermoula, Boharat, Dark Spice Mix, Duqqa, Ginger Paste, Green Curry Paste, Green Masala, Harissa, Jerk Mix, Ras Al-Hanout, Spiced Butter, Yogurt Rub, Za'atar).

                                                                                                                                                Chickpea-Eggplant Dip
                                                                                                                                                Barbecue Sauce
                                                                                                                                                Chili Mayonnaise
                                                                                                                                                Fresh Cheese with Chives
                                                                                                                                                Papaya Ketchup
                                                                                                                                                Piri Piri
                                                                                                                                                Pistachio Rouille
                                                                                                                                                Preserved Citrus Peel

                                                                                                                                                I am actually going to stop here with this book, because having looked all the way through it, I want to make almost everything. For the most part the ingredients are as accessible (perhaps more so) than in the Keller book. And there are new flavor combinations, new ideas. Not all the recipes are strictly authentic, and I'm OK with that. Samuelsson is a chef, and as such likes to riff on things. But the food is interesting throughout the book, and at the same time very doable.

                                                                                                                                                16 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                  Great idea, MeIMM! I only have The Soul and a month or so ago had a visitor from Lesotho. As she was flipping through the book reminiscing meals she enjoyed at home, I asked her to mark a few recipes that i should make and she put four stickies in the book:
                                                                                                                                                  Corn Bread
                                                                                                                                                  Pumpkin Mash
                                                                                                                                                  Boerewors Sausage Patties
                                                                                                                                                  Bobotie

                                                                                                                                                  Since I was busy hosting I did not look at what she marked until much later and didn't have a chance to ask for reasons.

                                                                                                                                                  I have not made anything yet but many recipes are unusual and appealing:
                                                                                                                                                  Mango Couscous
                                                                                                                                                  Grilled Seafood Salad with Yogurt Sauce
                                                                                                                                                  Tomato Date Jam
                                                                                                                                                  Merguez Sausage (lamb and chicken)
                                                                                                                                                  Quince Chutney

                                                                                                                                                  I like the section on Ingredients and Equipment up front and flipping through it I did not see anything that would be difficult to find.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                    MelMM and herby, for Soul of a New Cuisine, how hard do you think it would be to cook from this book if you only have access to ingredients that can be purchased at "regular" grocery stores? I can shop at a large Kroger-owned store, Sprouts, Whole Foods (although I'd rather not shop here just because of prices), and I can make my way over to Penzey's (involves a decent drive) if I absolutely had to.

                                                                                                                                                    This book intrigues me a lot, but just like this current month's COTM, if it has a lot of ingredients that are difficult to source in a regular store, I probably won't be able to participate if it wins.

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                      I think you could get almost everything at a regular grocery store. You might need to mail order a spice or two, or go to an ethnic market (for sumac, perhaps, or dried rose petals). But most of what is called for should be things most cooks would already have: cumin, coriander, chiles, ground turmeric, thyme, oregano, cardamom, peppercorns, mustard seeds, fennel seeds, poppy seeds, cloves, cinnamon. Even when less common ingredients are called for, it is just in a handful of recipes. Most are very accessible.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                        Great, thank you. Do you think many of the recipes would be good for weeknight cooking as well?

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                          I think once you have your spice mixes made many recipes can be made under an hour with maybe 20 minutes or so hands on time.

                                                                                                                                                      2. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                        Completely agree with MeIMM, most ingredients are either common or there are recommended substitutes that are common. In the beginning of the book there is a list of ingredients and MS explains what the ingredient is, the role it plays and what substitutes can be used. I am happy to type out the list (about 30) if you'd like. The most unusual ones for me that I won't have on hand and need to buy are:

                                                                                                                                                        banana leaves
                                                                                                                                                        cassava
                                                                                                                                                        merguez sausage
                                                                                                                                                        morning glory
                                                                                                                                                        palm oil
                                                                                                                                                        teff
                                                                                                                                                        rose petals

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                          This is helpful, as is your comment above, thank you! No need to type out the whole list. I'm going to see if the book is available at the library so I can go check it out before deciding to buy.

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                            And in fresh ingredients, I noticed one recipe that called for both green and ripe papaya. I generally would not be able to find both at the same time, and even if I did, would have a hard time justifying buying that much papaya.

                                                                                                                                                            But for the most part, this is a very supermarket friendly book. I would say more so than the current COTM, and even more so that Ad Hoc.

                                                                                                                                                            I can actually get banana leaves (frozen), cassava, palm oil and teff at a local supermarket, and I am in a modest-sized town in South Carolina. It's all going to depend upon what happens to exist where you are.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                              Should SOANC win I know I'll have to substitute a few ingredients. I've never seen banana leaves around here, neither fresh nor frozen. I'll probably not be using palm oil because of the debate about saturated fats. To tell the truth, even though I realize the result I'll get will not be authentically authentic (sic) at least I'll have an essence of what the recipe is about. As long as the result is pleasing to us, I'll be happy.

                                                                                                                                                              "In the old days" I could have run all over the Kingdom gathering every morsel of precise ingredient necessary to stay true to the written recipe. I simply cannot do that any more so I will do the best I can with what I'm able to find that's a close approximation of what's necessary and mail order if I Think it's necessary. I'll have to rely on my good informed judgement.

                                                                                                                                                              Cooking from a popular cookbook should really not be as intimidating as we sometimes make it. Or Think it is. Leaving the peanut gallery now...

                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                *recommend*

                                                                                                                                                                I used to love the ingredient chase, now I don't have time for it. I don't mind going to a specialty market to "stock up" but I can't be running all over town. I miss the chase, but sometimes allowing myself some reasonable substitutions means the difference between being able to participate and not...

                                                                                                                                                                Also, like you, I have to make compromises for health reasons and sometimes I use the word "health" very broadly, as in, health of the planet. I know my dish may not be authentic, but it's as authentic as I can manage while staying within the boundaries of healthful eating and my values.

                                                                                                                                                                I live in a place where it's going to be much easier to source African ingredients than acquire seasonally specific produce. The ground is still frozen here and will be until about mid-May.

                                                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                  But in SOANC, you can make most of the recipes without any of those substations. Really, we were list the "worst case scenario" ingredients above. Most recipes are using supermarket friendly ingredients and regular cooking oils.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                    Gio, You can get banana leaves at Hong Kong Market in Malden. In the frozen food section, right next to the chopped lemongrass usually.

                                                                                                                                                                    The brine recipes in AdHoc are absolutely wonderful. I love this book for all those small asides, the brines, salad dressings, dips, spice blends, etc.

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                                                                                                                                      Thanks so much SMT. I've never seen those items there even though I thought I looked carefully. I'll tell G where to find them. He's making the Malden run these days.

                                                                                                                                                              2. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                I think Dunlop's books are among the most sourcing intensive of the COTMs. And, in a way, EGOR is the most intensive because she wants you to rely on the "magic ingredients" and doesn't give as many suggestions for substitutions compared to LOP and RC.

                                                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                              3. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                MelMM wrote: "To be honest, most of the recipes seemed kind of boring to me, stuff I can already make very well without a recipe. I don't need to be told how to fry potato chips or sweet potato chips. There are no earth-shattering new techniques here. It's all basic stuff. If you are good on the basics, this book might be too dull. If you are still learning the basics, it will probably be extremely useful."

                                                                                                                                                                Interesting. To me this book is about taking a good home cook with a grounding in the basics and helping them transform their skills to the next level. So yes many of the recipes seem pretty basic, but it's the precision of the instructions that almost guarantee you will end up with a fantastic end product (rather than something that's merely yet another rendition of a standard dish). I actually think a home cook without a solid grounding in the basics would be overwhelmed by Ad Hoc at Home.

                                                                                                                                                                1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                  There certainly is a lot of precision. But when I read through a recipe from start to finish, in most cases I'm not seeing anything that I wouldn't have already known to do. Maybe I have a different definition of "basics" than most.

                                                                                                                                                              4. Sometimes a deciding factor in motivating me to buy a cookbook will be pretty pictures or entertaining commentary. Sometimes personal reviews or even an appealing back story does it. The top rated review for Samuelsson's book on Amazon says "great introduction to the trendiest new food in the US." But more than one said the writing was weak. That's as important to me as the recipes ALMOST. A couple of years ago a good friend was very excited about seeing M.S. in person at a Starbuck's sponsored tour stop. She arrived 4 hours early, was effusive in her praise and bought 3 copies! She hasn't used it much though. She says she might have liked the idea of the book more than the food. I have a shelf full of those! :-) She also hasn't offered to give me the book. I will likely monitor the thread if thats the pick though as I like to share others' experiences. I'll vote either Keller's Ad Hoc or Smitten Kitchen. (I'm dying to see how she manages great cooking in such a teeny kitchen.) And Deb's book has a kindle edition.

                                                                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                                  I saw comments about "weak writting" on Amazon and do not really understand the meaning of these comments. I read a good chunck of the book and enjoyed it. Maybe the writting is not Man Booker prize quality but the stories are enjoyable, not too wordy and relevant. Anyone agrees with the 'weak writting"comments?

                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                    Nice to have a different opinion expressed. Thanks herby.

                                                                                                                                                                2. The James Beard Awards finalists have been announced and in the Cookbooks: Writing and Literature catagory we find none other than "Yes, Chef" by Marcus Samuelsson.

                                                                                                                                                                  2 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                    Soul of a New Cuisine won the "Best International Cookbook" JB award the year it came out...

                                                                                                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                      I really enjoyed Yes, Chef. It was well written and an interesting story. More so then most other chef based memoirs.

                                                                                                                                                                    2. AD HOC AT HOME/THOMAS KELLER MONTH

                                                                                                                                                                      As I will be celebrating my 40th in April in Napa!

                                                                                                                                                                      Sorry, no delete button. I just clicked the recommend after reading the post. Oops

                                                                                                                                                                      1. I was a bit hesitant to vote, as I've not been particularly active on chowhound lately. But as I settle into a new home and find myself needing to get back to interesting cooking, COTM seems like a great idea. The kick in the behind I need, perhaps. So glad this project is still going after so many years!

                                                                                                                                                                        1. The case for Ad Hoc at Home and Thomas Keller is simple and strong: Keller, one of the most significant and popular chefs/cooks of the last decade, has been overlooked completely so far by COTM.

                                                                                                                                                                          This is a home cooking forum, and I can certainly understand not leaping to take on The French Laundry (and there's still the archive of the FL at Home blog). Likewise Bouchon, which in any case is nowhere near as popular as the FL. Those two books are full of hyper-exacting, top-flight restaurant fare.

                                                                                                                                                                          But Ad Hoc at Home is at #8 on the list of most widely held books at Eat Your Books (The French Laundry is #24). Every other author with books in the top 50 at Eat Your Books has been explored in a COTM except Keller and the Rombauer-Becker team from the Joy of Cooking (#2).

                                                                                                                                                                          Ad Hoc at Home isn't really home cooking, either, but it's a lot closer than the other Keller books (for whose enthusiasts there'd be a side thread). The book's been out for three and a half years, is available in libraries and in the used market for a reasonable price, and I'm guessing a lot of you out there have it. Or that a friend has a copy that s/he hasn't cooked out of in quite a while (maybe the two of you could do a temporary swap until the end of April).

                                                                                                                                                                          COTM participation can be as little as one recipe -- but who knows, maybe the early reports will have you diving in!

                                                                                                                                                                          8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                            While your case is compelling for folks in the US, I'd like to add that It's not available in libraries in the UK, and I can't find a cheap copy anywhere, used or otherwise.

                                                                                                                                                                            As I can't use the "Recommend" feature for my own posts, I'd just like to mark here that I'm changing my vote to SOUL OF A NEW CUISINE.

                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                              Didn't Samuelsson open a restaurant in London recently, GG? Or am I dreaming...

                                                                                                                                                                              ETA: just did a quick search and I can't find anything about that. I Could Have Sworn...

                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                  \\hahahaha// thought so! Night night.

                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                  He did open a restaurant just 2 years ago, but in Harlem in Manhattan. It's called the Red Rooster, and reading the menu made me happy. I hope there's a book someday!

                                                                                                                                                                                3. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                  Thanks for that info, greedygirl. Remarkable that there hasn't been a UK edition of Ad Hoc at Home yet, considering how well it's sold here.

                                                                                                                                                                                  The holdings of chow participants may differ sharply from those of Eat Your Books members, but nine times as many EYB shelves have AHAH as the Samuelsson book.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                    You can get it, but it's £25 which is too much for a book that I wouldn't buy in the ordinary scheme of things. Thomas Keller isn't a big name here btw.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                      A surprising amount of Ad Hoc at Home is viewable on Google Books. Just saying.

                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Tom P

                                                                                                                                                                                    Tom, we are not doing capitals this time. Go to "vote here..." for the Ad Hoc and click on "recommend" button.

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                      Thank you, moving too fast :)

                                                                                                                                                                                  2. Morning all. A reminder that you've got just over 24 hours left to cast/change your vote in this most exciting of COTM races!

                                                                                                                                                                                    1. I've decided to abstain this month. I only have one of the nominated books - AHAH. I finally pulled it off the shelf last night and a while some of the early recipes appealed, I found as I worked my way into the book it seemed like most recipes called for at least 1 and in instances, two or three other recipes from elsewhere in the book. Much as I love cooking, I get frustrated flipping back and forth in a book at the best of times and with a big unwieldy book like this, I can only imagine how challenging that would be. If it does win, I'll definitely give some of the recipes a try but in fairness, I don't think I'd cook enough from it to cast a vote in its favour.

                                                                                                                                                                                      41 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                        I flicked through the book in a shop a couple of years ago after a COTM discussion - and decided to pass for the reasons you mention. I won't be buying it even if it wins.

                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                          I won't be buying it if it wins either, and unfortunately our library is closed for the next few weeks so I can't even take it out. I'm pretty excited to cook from the Diana Henry books I got at the library before it closed but since that was looking like a non-started I have cast my vote for SOANC which I own.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                            That reminds me, I need to go through the book and tell you what I've made. The Pacific Lime Chicken springs to mind, and the merguez dish is fabulous, but you don't eat red meat. I also liked the potatoes with chorizo. More later.

                                                                                                                                                                                            This is turning into just as lively a thread as the nomination one!

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                              That Pacific Lime chicken is on my list. Sounds easy and wonderful.

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                We also loved the simple gascon sausage and beans. Vanilla-baked apricots are an easy summer dessert. This really is a terrific book.

                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                          The size of AHAH really is a drawback in my eyes. And it seems quite home-cook unfriendly. That said, my husband and son were flipping through AHAH last night and flagging recipes they want me to make. I'm going to hold off changing my vote for the moment though. Still haven't seen Soul of a New Cuisine yet (waiting for me at the library right now). Will be interesting to see if it really goes down to the wire with people changing their votes.

                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greeneggsnham

                                                                                                                                                                                            Yikes, 5 and a half pounds, according to Amazon. O well -- at least it probably lies flat, being as wide as it is tall, eh? My copy's on its way, but I hadn't realized quite what a whopper it is.

                                                                                                                                                                                            No question that cooking from AHAH will take some planning, but sitting down with a pen and paper is how I start every cooking week anyway. Based on the reviews at Amazon (well worth reading, particularly the 4-star ones), some steps to minimize frustration in assessing flagged recipes:

                                                                                                                                                                                            A. Review the ingredients; if you can't acquire them easily, don't have a suitable substitute, and don't want to order them, move on to another recipe. They don't all require piment d'espelette or vanilla paste.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. Look for the sub-recipes, and schedule a session where those get done in advance. This will save time on the day of the full recipe cooking, but also will minimize the need to flip back and forth within the book.

                                                                                                                                                                                            2. Look for long advance steps (brining, marinating, chilling, etc.) and pencil those in on a calendar.

                                                                                                                                                                                            3. Before cooking anything, read the sections of the book on ingredients and general technique.

                                                                                                                                                                                            For chowhounds without access to any of Keller's books, there are quite a few recipes online, and blogs that have cooked extensively from AHAH and previous Keller works.

                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                              Just curious ellabee, have you cooked from any of Keller's books before?

                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                                                                                                                Nope, with the exception of a lime creamed corn dish via a food blog. That was simple and delicious enough that I wondered why such a widely owned book hadn't been a COTM by now. I'm not invested in the outcome at all, but figure there'll be pretty good participation whichever book wins.

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                                  I've made a couple of recipes from AHaH and a couple from TFL. Kellers Simple Roast Chicken on Epicurious is a weekly staple at my house. His recipes always yield excellent results, in my experience. I would totally love an excuse from this book though, realistically, it might be more of a weekend thing than a weeknight thing, but that's usually when I can fit COTM in these days anyway...

                                                                                                                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                                Dear God, there's no way I can do all of that!

                                                                                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                  All that is about a half hour of reading, and making some notes on a calendar.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Maybe I'm unusual -- a lot of my cooking involves a session once a week or so of prepping things that will be ingredients in meals in the next week or two: roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, creme fraiche, sauteed or braised greens, a pot of beans, roasted squash... That makes it a lot easier to throw together dishes. Keller's preps are probably a bit more involved, but the principle's the same.

                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                                    I tend to do my weeknight meal prep on Sundays ellabee. It really helps make life easier during the week. In the winter that means I must have my menus for the week ahead planned by Saturday morning when I head out for groceries. During growing season my menus tend to be driven more by what's fresh at the farmer's market.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                                      I really have a hard time "calendaring" out my meals, unfortunately. I have an entire thread or two devoted to that and, depsite the advice from some brilliant hounds, have improved very little in the area of weekly meal planning.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      :(

                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                                    My concern is that if Keller's book is selected, there will be low participation because of the complexity of the recipes. Although that wasn't the case with Sunday Suppers at Lucques, so what do I know!

                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                      The heft of the book alone really quashes any interest I might have had. (MY RA is kicking in mightily this week.) And yes, I was initially very interested.

                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                        Sorry to hear about your RA Gio. The book is a beast to manage. I tried putting it in my cookbook holder last night and it toppled over and almost took out the cat in its fall!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                        It was too big to lie flat conveniently on the counter beside my cooktop too....and I have abundant counter space. ...and then there was the multi-recipe within recipe thing I mentioned up thread that further compounded the issue.

                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I often make a photo copy if the book is too big. Even when it is a manageable size I find it easier to have a page hanging at eye level. Plus I can scribble any notes or changes without qualm.

                                                                                                                                                                                                          I have something similar to this:
                                                                                                                                                                                                          http://www.amazon.com/Out-Sight-Recip...
                                                                                                                                                                                                          Which folds up and hides inside the cabinet when not being used. $1.99 at Garden Ridge!

                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thats a great little gadget meatn!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: meatn3

                                                                                                                                                                                                              You can also just use a pants hanger (the kind that either clamps on, or with the clips on each end, hung on the cabinet handle :) In my old apartment I had a metal range hood and just used one of those magnetic clips.

                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Many thanks BC. I hope I can continue later, though... Your cat must have been frightened.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'm sending lots of positive energy your way and hoping you're able to continue later as well Gio. My thoughts are definitely with you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Yes, my cat was frightened...and a little confused since it's usually him that's causing things to fall and crash to the floor. I'm glad it didn't hit him...or my foot for that matter!

                                                                                                                                                                                                            3. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                              Sorry you're in pain, Gio. I'm not a fan of hefty books in general, myself, and am beginning to have wrist issues.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you ellabee. When I cooked from Dorie Greenspan's "Baking From My Home to Yours" I learned my lesson. This time it's just the nature of the beast, so to speak.

                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Oh, I do hope you're feeling better soon, Gio.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                Although I did vote for AHAH, I agree with you and Breadcrumbs (and others) that it is a ridiculously-sized book. I don't understand the thinking behind such massive cookbooks.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Gio, I'm sending chase-away-the-RA vibes and good thoughts your way.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have a real issue with the size of TK's cookbooks too and I also wonder what they were thinking. Is it a coffee table book or do you want home cooks to actually be able to use the darned things??

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have almost no counter space in my kitchen (although I try hard not to complain about it now that I've seen photos of Deb Perelman's kitchen (Smitten Kitchen), which is much tinier). When I put AHAH or Bouchon Bakery on the counter, there isn't enough space left to assemble and prep my ingredients! I will most certainly be photocopying the recipes as another CH suggested.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  So sorry Gio - wish there is something I can do to help but you have no doubt explored various alternative remedies. Feel better soon!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    (shaking fists at the heavens) darned that RA!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I'm just joining the chorus of support for your struggle with RA. I wish we lived closer, and I could help you out. At any rate, I hope your exacerbation abates, and I send you my best thoughts and wishes. If AHAH wins, I'd be happy to send you any recipes you'd be interested in cooking, in light-weight internet or fax form.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Ah Gio,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I empathize. I have lots of joint issues and when my fingers are inflamed even posting here on my iPhone becomes a trial. I rarely use a cookbook in the kitchen as I'm actually cooking unless it's a last minute thing or quick memory jog. I usually jot down notes after I decide on a recipe, read it over a couple of times and take the notes when I shop if its something new. In the kitchen, I find myself crossing things out, adding phrases that make instructions more clear to me, etc. (usually with tomato sauce or grease on my fingers.) My cookbooks peer at the frantic, messy process from the safety of their shelves and sigh in relief. :-D

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Then you know... Actually, I use cookbooks like workbooks. I too read, notate, mark my adjustments, etc. but right on the page so that when we cook the recipe the result is just right for us. Never deviating so much that the original intent is lost. Just slight tweaks, or necessary substitutions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          The heft and unwieldyness of AHaH is problem. It's not even fun to sit on the couch with it on your lap and flip through. I think I'm going to take an EYB approach with this book for the month. Find an ingredient, then see which recipes call for it, rather than allowing the book itself to inspire me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I've already decided that I'll cook from on-line recipes that appeal or that I can manage. I don't know how many but there are a fair amount of "adapted" recipes that I hope come close to TK's original. The Soul of a New Cuisine arrived yesterday, Stir the day before and I can hardly lift them so I can only imagine how heavy AHAH is. I'll be reading along, though, to see everyone's experiences.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              OK, and you know if there's anything you ever need us to paraphrase or whatever, there are many of us who would step forward and do that for you in a heartbeat. In the announcement thread, I post a link to all of the ONLINE Thomas Keller recipes that are indexed on EYB. I'm sure there are many, many more recipes out there in cyberspace, but that might be a good starting point for you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ♥ Thank you so much, TDQ. I appreciate that more than I can say! ♥

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Gio, you're such an inspiring and adventurous cook - I'm sure you'll find a way to participate somehow!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thank you for your kind words GG. You know I'll do the best I can. (♥_♥)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Oh noooo.... The reading in bed is the part I was looking forward to most.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Maybe you're better coordinated than I am and won't find it unwieldy. :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        3. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ellabee, bless your heart, I want to cook Ad Hoc too. The weight of the book is not a factor. A medium Dutch oven with dinner in it weighs more. (Dorie Greenspan's "Baking From my Home to Yours", a five-pounder surely, is a satisfaction, and the recipes a joy. I put a book on a nearby surface and go from there.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Unless some dismaying month we pick a really uggo whose-idea-was-this ridiculous joke book, there will be something for everyone in *any* book.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          How much I like the finished dishes decide the worth of book for me in the end.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I think this is great advice, ellabee. Thank you! I am trying to develop similar habits and be a little more organized about my cooking and shopping. For the past month I've been sitting down on a Sunday morning with a cup of tea and the cookbooks I'm interested in cooking from so I can write out a weekly menu plan and shopping list. I seem to use a lot of ingredients which aren't available in my local market so I have to plan to hit certain ethnic and gourmet food shops, the organic butcher, etc on the days of the week that my kids have appointments nearby. Your suggestion of pre-reading recipes to make sure I know what I'm going to be doing in advance (and how much time that's going to take) should help me to cut down on the number of absurdly late dinners where my pale and listless family members keep wandering into the kitchen wondering where their food is.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. NOTE to greedygirl and members voting and considering voting:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Currently at least one member has voted (recommended) both of the leading candidates. Because nothing in the software prevents you from making multiple recommendations, please make sure your vote is clear to greedygirl, and will count.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        You can remove an unintended vote by re-clicking the word 'recommend' for that choice, and you can check the list of recommenders by hovering the mouse over the box beside 'recommend' without clicking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks for letting me know ellabee. I haven't really checked properly yet - waiting for tomorrow!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I guess I should say that if you have voted more than once, neither of your votes will count as I have no way of knowing which book was your preferred one.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I was immediately panicked that I might be the double-voter, but then I remembered that there's an easy way to tell which posts you've recommended.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Just FYI, to voters, once you "recommend" a post, the little pointy red box to the right that tallies all of the "recommends" will be completely filled-in red, whereas posts you have not recommended will only have a red outline around the tally...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Hah, how clever TDQ...I didn't realize that!!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I see it's Goblin who's accidentally voted twice. I just checked her profile but there's no email address listed....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Mods if you're watching, any chance you could send her a message?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you for making this very useful distinction, TDQ. Mea culpa! I was the one who recommended two books at once. At least, that's what the evidence of the two red boxes showed on my computer-screen!! (Blushing) Didn't mean to do so and I've corrected it now. I'm lurching towards figuring this system out. ;-)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      You are simply especially enthusiastic!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. Right people, I'm to bed shortly. Will post the result when I get up in the morning. This is almost as exciting as a real election!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: angelsmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Angelsmom, not sure if GG will count caps since we are using "recommend" button to vote. Have a look at four postings at the top, one for each of the books. You might consider changing your vote to one of the two books with the majority of votes too. Hope you see this in time.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: angelsmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Angel's mom, the voting procedures have changed. Click the recommend button here http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8943... to vote for SK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          There seems to be an issue w posts appearing in reverse chronolgical order tonight. Its been mentioned on site talk. When I got home from work and came to this thread, all the voting posts were at the bottom vs the top. At first when I didnt see them I thought voting must have closed. Then I realized the posts were in reverse order.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Though Site Talk said this was fixed, I just came back here (on my ipad now) and posts were reversed again.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I hope this doesn't create confusion for any last minute voting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            BC, do you see the clock face on the right under the OP? If you click on it the chronological order of the posts will reverse. I had to do it a few time today and was wondering which gremlin was at work :)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: herby

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              This seems like it might be an ongoing issue, especially as new users join the project who may prefer the other sort order (it keeps more recent/fresh posts near the top, which some people may prefer).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              For the organizer, it might be a good idea to edit a direct link to one or all of the actual voting posts into the original post once you've set them up, just so people can easily jump to them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Or maybe add a note that the voting posts will be either at the very top or the very bottom of the thread depending on your sort order so people know to go looking for them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I've noticed this too, but there is a button at the top where you can click to organize posts in most recent order. Although I keep clicking it, every time I open the thread again, it goes back to the most recent posts being at the top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. And the winner is..... (cue drumroll)

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          AD HOC AT HOME/THOMAS KELLER MONTH

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Announcement thread to follow shortly

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          14 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Hooray! And I just received my copy yesterday. Looking forward to jumping into it!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Can you also let me know what you thought of the new voting experiment. I thought it worked well, and added a certain frisson to proceedings. But would love to know your thoughts - don't hold back!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Count me in as one who likes the new voting system. I hope we'll stick with it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I liked the new voting too. It was fast and easy to see what the vote tallies were.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I have mixed feelings about the new system. The proof though, for me will be in the pudding, if the participation holds up, great stick with the new system, if not I think we might want to consider returning to the old voters are more "committed" system.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I really enjoyed the new voting method gg and your describing it as adding “a certain frisson” really resonated with me. For me the appeal is:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Clear, easy to find, up to the minute tallies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Reduced administrative burden for the co-coordinator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Creates an opportunity for unencumbered discussion. No worries about cluttering the thread
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Unintended positive outcome of having folks make pitches for their books of choice
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • Loved that folks could easily change their votes if they wished, especially in light of the fact that folks were citing the merits of certain books. In the past if I was undecided I would hold off voting. Now I can vote early knowing that if someone convinces me to move in a different direction, I can make that happen and do so without bugging the coordinator
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    • The whole process just seemed more exciting for some reason…and I only owned one of the books and didn’t even feel that inclined to cook from it! I just got caught up in the lively discussion!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      The new system is a good one, I can't imagine going back. The only problem I see (and I don't know how to fix it) is that some people see this sort of headline:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Vote here for Cookbook of the Month
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ...............Abby's Apple Recipes
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ................Benny's Buns
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ..............Cake Catharsis

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      and they think it's a simple survey, and just click one. They leave without a clue about COTM, that it even exists. I don't know if this is a problem, maybe not a big one?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        But these are just assumptions on your part, BR. We don't know that happens. More than once I've seen folks jump into either the nominating thread or the voting thread just because they have a connection to one of the books up for COTM. They want to join in because the book they want holds great interest for them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        That is their first time posting on the board. Their book does not win. What should they do? I believe they don't go on to cook from the winning book they are not invested in.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Nor should they...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          No, I'm not saying this happened -- just that the new system might look like a stand alone poll to a casual browser. The old system looked less like that. Nothing to do with motives at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Ah yes, I know what you're saying. There are plenty of people who don't know what COTM means, even though they have been Chowhound participants for ages...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I also liked the new system for the reasons that several people have already noted:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1) Ease of voting and ease of changing one's vote when one in influenced by another person's advocacy for another nominated cookbook, or by the fact that one's original choice is clearly not going to win.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2) The excitement of watching the votes mount up in the little "squares.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I say all this in spite of the fact that I was a klutz about catching on and I made some incorrect posts. I think that if we do continue this new method, it will be easier next month to know how to explain it at the top so even dunderheads like me can figure it out.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Goblin

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Goblin, I was actually really glad that you recommended two candidates by mistake because it gave us a chance to improve the instructions for next month's voting. Given the lack of a chowhound FAQ that explains the forum interface, people following the COTM voting thread probably now have a better grip on the recent changes than most 'hounds.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          We learned that:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Clicking the word 'recommend' once ups the number of recommends and adds your name to the list of recommending members, which can be viewed by holding the mouse over the little box beside 'recommend'.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Clicking the word 'recommend' a second time on the same post will undo your recommendation, and remove your name from that list. There's no time limit on that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - Members who've recommended a post will see the little recommend box as solid red, which is a helpful safety check for voting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          - The little clock symbol at the bottom right below the original post is a toggle switch that arranges the thread posts by newest first or oldest first.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It would have taken me quite a while to discover these workings on my own. If ever...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Thank you, Ellabee, for graciously making me feel better AND for explaining everything so clearly. You also just taught me about the little clock-symbol!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        2. re: greedygirl

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I've always been impressed by the efficiency of COTM coordinators and the ability to manage/track the nomination and voting threads, so I'm with others in thinking that that alone is a good reason to keep the new sytem.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          It's also easy for the voters to keep track of how the voting is going. And while I've never changed my vote, I don't really see a problem with it. It strikes me as somewhat similar to what happens in a run-off: the favorites move to the top, and we presumably end up with the one of those favored by the majority.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. I have mixed emotions about the new voting system. On the plus, it is fantastically easy to tally the votes--a huge advantage for the co-ordinator, and also fun for those of us who check in regularly to see the count as it progresses.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          On the other hand...I'm not sure that I like the whole my-selection-is-losing-so-I'll-go-with-my-second-choice thing. The ease that comes with being able to change one's vote makes it much more likely for a participant to be able to flop around on their choice just to avoid a win from book they don't want to cook from. I like the uncertainty of the original voting system: the way that there can be a clear front-runner and then the underdog sweeps up from behind at the very end for a surprise victory. With the recommend system there's less of a chance of that happening because the voter has those numbers right in front of them and so might be deterred to cast a vote for their first choice if it seems unlikely to win.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Yes, people have changed their votes in the past, and most certainly should be able to do so, but it sure seemed like we had more mind-changers than is usual.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          And okay, I'm going to say it....how many of those who voted are actually going to cook from these books and report? There was a surprising number of 'new' voters this time around, which would be lovely if they participated--the more the merrier and all that--but since it's so easy now just to pop in and click recommend instead of putting your voice down in the form of a comment, more are likely to do so and forget all about following through.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I'm curious to see how others feel....

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          51 Replies
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Allegra, I especially agree with your second paragraph, about it maybe seeming too easy to change one's vote. I didn't bother voting for the book I most wanted to win because it was so obvious that it wasn't going to.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm having a hard time getting used to the replies being on top - getting confused over here.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Underneath the OP but before the first replies, on the upper right hand side, there is a swirly arrow and a clock. Click on the clock and the new replies should be back on the bottom. It worked for me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: beetlebug

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you so much bb, that worked!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Am also confused by replies on top.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Actually, I really like the new voting system. It's almost like having instant run-off voting.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But, I have to say, LLM that I think your not bothering to vote for the book you really wanted was a strategic error. I'm guessing the book you really wanted was Henry?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Let's say you're TDQ and you're happy to cook from any book in April that isn't Smitten Kitchen (and I didn't say so during the voting because I didn't want to bum out the conversation, but I am absolutely unwilling to cook from SK, but, I digress) and you're kind of intrigued by Henry. If you see it has a fighting chance, you might actually vote for it, but if it doesn't have a fighting chance, you're probably vote for one of the front runners, just to ensure SK doesn't win...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                So, I think what, strategically, the best thing to do is vote for the book you really want (vote early!), fight for it in the comments thread (SOANC was winning by one vote, I think, before ellabee made her passionate plea for AHaH--passionate pleas apparently work!) and then, see how the chips fall. Then, if it appears your book is really going to lose, switch your vote at the last minute if you have a preference between the real contenders.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Of course, if you don't plan on cooking from either of the contenders, then you should not bother to switch your vote.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And I hope to see all of those "new" faces that voted for THOMAS KELLER MONTH posting in April. If there were new faces that voted for SOANC or any of the books that didn't win, I don't really expect them to post as I personally didn't jump into COTM until a book I was really passionate about won. Of course,now that I have the COTM bug, I've discovered it's almost always worth trying at least a couple of recipes from the month's winner, even if it's something you're not in love with (like SK for me) as sometimes a book can surprise you, so I really encourage them to jump in anyway, but I will understand if they don't.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I can see your point TDQ. I have the Samuelson (sp?) book and have wanted a reason to cook from it, so it isn't as if voting for it was against what I really wanted. But yes, once I got my paws on the Diana Henry books, I was excited about them. I'm hoping there will be some online recipes for next month that interest me.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Agree - if newbies voted for something besides TK, then I totally wouldn't expect them to jump right in. If they did, I want to read reports (picture me in full mean teacher mode).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    And I'd love to hear your taken on Smitten Kitchen. I know just about zero about her, but sure hear the name a lot.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Eh, I have just a very strong bias that is likely totally unfair.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Speaking from almost no actual knowledge of SK whatsoever, I have just felt very let down by books born out of blogs by non-culinary professionals, former COTM Homesick Texan, for one, but also some cookbooks I've explored on my own such as Dinner, A Love Story, which was a wretched, disaorganized mess. I'm not talking about people like David Lebovitz--yes, he has a very successful blog, but his creds in the culinary world are from his years as a professional pastry chef, not as a blogger.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I think publishers are eager to capitalize on bloggers "followers," but when it boils right down to it, a lot of bloggers earn their reputations by cooking (and slightly adapting, sometimes barely) great recipes from cookbooks and authors we COTM'ers already know and love (and maybe even some cookbook authors who are new to us). But, when it comes time to actually assembling some recipes into a book, the publisher isn't willing to put say, an obvious rip-off of a Diana Kennedy recipe, into the book for copyright reasons. When you start stripping all of those recipes out of the available pool of recipes to include in the book, or, pushing back on the bloggers saying, "You must adapt this recipe even more before we can publish it as 'yours'", what's left?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Honestly, I think the pressures of maintaining a successful blog (not to mention feeding all of the other social media that goes along with blogging these days such as instagram, twitter, and pinterest), which really requires you to publish regularly, at least once a week on the blog, can be incompatible with what it takes to develop and thoroughly test recipes to the point of being cookbook-worthy, especially if blogging is something you're doing "on the side" of another full-time career.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Now, I've actually heard great things about SK, Deb's book went impressively far in Food52's Piggy tournAment. I also note that it's an IACP finalist, but then again, so is that that mess of a blog-turned-book Dinner, a Love Story.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Do I think there are some exceptions out there? Of course, there always are in life and publishing. Furthermore, I'm a nobody seriously thinking of writing a book and do I hope people give me a chance? Absolutely.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      But, I guess I'm no longer willing to spend my precious time and money vetting these kinds of books and devoting an entire month to them before the books themselves, not just the blogs, have been thoroughly vetted. I'd rather see a "Cooking from" thread devoted to these books before I take the plunge. I want to know if the enthusiasm for the actual book itself is truly warranted.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      This is all just conjecture on my part, of course, on how publishing from a blog really works.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanks for that explanation. I actually agree with everything you have said, and having been disappointed with some blog books myself, am like you, wary of them.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Plus, I think a lot of what goes into a successful blog these days has to do with Web design, photography, and writing. I think the most successful blogs tend to be the best-looking, or most entertaining to read, which doesn't necessarily mean the best from a purely culinary point of view. A good photograph can be a very deceptive thing!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks very much for explaining, and I completely agree with you. Not having ever read the blog, or seen the book, obviously I can't really make any sort of decision. But in theory I absolutely agree with you.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is so well-articulated. I do follow some food blogs and really like some. But your critique of how they translate into cookbooks seems pretty accurate (as a general rule).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              TDQ, let me defend the Smitten Kitchen. (No more than maybe ten? visits to the site in my life.) But here's a short instance:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              She lists, under "Recipes" only three Chinese (there are over eighty for chocolate, too bad not relevant here.)
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              The three are:
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Ginger Fried Rice, attributed to Mark Bittman's adaption of Jean-Georges Vongerichten's recipe.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Peanut Sesame Noodles, adapted from Gourmet June 2002.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              and Vegetable Dumplings, adapted from Alton Brown.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              She chooses crowd pleasers and *gives credit* -- no funny business like the Homesick blog.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Her book, though, is not taken from her blog, so I dunno about that. Just wanted to say I would recommend her taste.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Thank you for that insight, BR. I don't doubt that SK's taste is great and that her blog is exceptional.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Blogs are not books.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'd like to hear from people who have cooked from her book before I feel like I want to spend an entire month cooking from her book.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I'd also very much value a 'cooking from the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook' thread sometime in the next few months.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                As blue room mentioned, the recipes in the book are almost entirely dishes that didn't appear on the blog. Deb Perelman worked in publishing before she started her blog. A big key to her popularity (besides regular posting, appealing recipes, and attractive but not irrelevant photos) is that she participates in the comment threads, and has done so for six years. If ever a new cookbook author were fully aware of the need for and vagaries of recipe testing, it would be her.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                That doesn't guarantee that everything will work as written, but it ups the odds quite a bit. Since the book came out last October, a few of the book recipes have also appeared on the blog; reading the comment sections of those posts would be an opportunity to evaluate.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                But there's nothing like hearing the experiences of people whose cooking styles and skills you've gotten to know, and that's where a non-COTM thread on the SK book would come in handy. I'm pretty sure a lot of chow members have the book by now; it continues to sell very strongly (granted, the author's continuing to tour to support it, but I have a feeling that word of mouth is also sustaining sales; summer will tell the tale on that).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  Thank you for that info, ellabee. I did not know she worked in publishing before starting her blog. THat increases my confidence quite a bit, actually that she's not only a successful blogger, but probably has a solid understand of what makes a cookbook different than a blog.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Thanks, ellabee, this is interesting; I didn't really clue in that Deb worked in publishing before she started the blog. I find her blog different from most other food blogs, and have had many successful experiences cooking from her own recipes (not just the ones she has adapted from other food writers). I love that you said her photos are not irrelevant. I would rank her blog as one of my top five food blogs precisely because it's not filled with annoying "lifestyle" photos and writing, which for me personally are a turn-off.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Are you sure Deb Perelman worked in publishing? A New York Times article late last year said she was working as an art therapist when she started the blog. I had the impression that she was an entirely self-taught home cook with no professional experience whatsoever. But I could certainly be wrong about that.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I'm sure that she's an entirely self-taught home cook with no professional cooking experience.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Will have to find where I read the 'worked in publishing' reference; maybe it's her husband who is in the field. Or maybe I'm wrong about that entirely. There are certainly a lot more opportunities to absorb publishing-biz realities living in New York than elsewhere (greatly increased odds of meeting agents, editors, professional food writers, etc.).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          According to the "about" section of her blog she's had a few different jobs:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          "In previous iterations of her so-called career, she’s been a record store shift supervisor, a scrawler of “happy birthday” on bakery cakes, an art therapist and a technology reporter. She likes her current gig – the one where she wakes up and cooks whatever she feels like that day – the best. When she’s not prattling on about galley and grub here, Deb is an occasional freelance writer and photographer."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: juliejulez

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I'm pretty sure it was the technology reporter job I was remembering (in 2007, per this profile in the Boston Globe http://www.boston.com/ae/food/article...). Some other article described that job in a way that made it sound more like part of the book biz.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          2. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            This is the kind of thing I was thinking of (from an article on one of her book-promo stops last fall):

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            :: Not long after Smitten had evolved into Smitten Kitchen, Perelman was approached about writing a cookbook but demurred. “I love the web,” she said. “I wasn’t interested. I didn’t feel like I needed to do a book. But I would get an email every few months and then more frequently and then my friends who are in the industry tried to convince me." ::

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            "The industry" is still largely based in New York, so someone living and working there is just a lot more likely to get to know people in it.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    OK, TDQ, now that the voting is over, I really want to know why you wouldn't cook out of SK.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I pretty much followed the strategy you outlined above, voting for Henry, then switching to the Samuelsson book only once it was very clear that the Henry book had no chance at all.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    I do really like the new system, as I like seeing the instant tally. And under the old system, I would be unlikely to change my vote, as I always felt it would make too much confusion for the coordinator. Now, it creates no extra work, as long as I make sure I end up with only one book "recommended".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      That was my strategy too, MelMM, although I too have mixed feelings about "strategic voting".

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Excellent points TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      I liked the new voting system. Simple and to the point. If I have time, and I'm retired so that's a given, I would try at least one recipe from any book selected. There are always some online. But even if I don't like the selection, I figure I'll benefit from others' shared experiences and get a better feel for the book and author. I'm not enthusiastic about preachy or overly political chefs, but I would still keep an open mind. I understand your issues with a non cook. A sweet, young niece gave me a copy of Sandra Lee's semi-homemade recipes and I just gave it to Good Will. Heehee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        :: the best thing to do is vote for the book you really want (vote early!), fight for it in the comments thread (SOANC was winning by one vote, I think, before ellabee made her passionate plea for AHaH --passionate pleas apparently work!) ::

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I didn't intend it so much as a passionate plea as simply making the case, which no one else had really done in the voting thread. I was prompted to post by dkennedy's detailed and enthusiastic lobbying for Soul of a New Cuisine, which understandably also generated quite a few votes for that candidate -- and made me much more interested in cooking from it in the future. Thanks, dk.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I've only participated in one COTM before, and now I *am* making a passionate plea, to everyone who voted for Keller/Ad Hoc at Home: Please cook at least one dish and report. If you own any Keller books but didn't vote for them, please consider participating -- the difference between one and zero is vast.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        I regret that JoanN won't be able to join in until after April -- she's one of my chow heroes for the caramelize-onions-in-the-oven tip that's helped transform my cooking.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As I mentioned elsewhere in the thread, quite a bit of AHaH is available on Google Books. There are also a substantial number of Keller recipes online. From a search:

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        cooking the book - The Delicious Life blog http://www.thedeliciouslife.com/thoma...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        chicken breasts w tarragon http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        tomato confit http://www.marthastewart.com/318889/t...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        baby back ribs http://www.mensjournal.com/food-drink...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        pecan sandies www.7x7.com/eat-drink/thomas-kellers-...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        cornbread stuffing/dressing (gluten free) http://sfist.com/2012/11/21/stuffing.php

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        grilled cheese www.menshealth.com/nutrition/grilled-...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        five meals: rack of lamb, skirt steak w red wine sauce & caramelized shallots, roast chicken, pork and beans, BLT with melted cheese and fried egg http://www.mensjournal.com/magazine/p...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        beef stroganoff http://momofukufor2.com/2010/04/thoma...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        ratatouille http://www.startribune.com/lifestyle/...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        summer vegetable gratin http://www.pickledplum.net/2012/08/ve...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Thanksgiving menu http://www.esquire.com/blogs/food-for...

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: ellabee

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Thanks ellabee. It would be great if you could cut and past those into the announcement thread, if possible.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      2. re: Allegra_K

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Interesting comments, Allegra_K. I think you're right, that the ability to switch your vote could lead to a lot of flip-flopping, which could be frustrating (especially for those of us who are cheering for an underdog book).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        As for how many of the voters are actually reporting in the COTM threads - that's not something I had really thought about before. It does strike me that we may have a lot of "lurkers" here who are too shy or too busy to actually write up their recipe reports but very much want us to cook from some particular book so they can read about others' experiences and perhaps use that to help guide them in choosing recipes

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        1. re: geekmom

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          I also suspect that people might be afraid to post about their negative experiences with a book that everyone else seems to be raving about, for fear of being criticized for poor cooking skills or "stupid" mistakes, or simply going against the tide.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Yep,

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I have fairly pedestrian tastes and skills but will try anything. I probably wouldn't share the fact that I found a dish everyone raved about to be "weird" or "unappetizing."

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              If the book author is around, posting and answering questions and commenting, which happens occasionally, I clam up. I feel this is *our* site, they have their own site!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              1. re: ItalianNana

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                LOL... I have. And others have posted their dislikes of recipes I've cook as well. Everyone has different likes/palates, etc. It's all good because we're learning what we like and what we don't with these new cuisines.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                My famous story is a pasta dish I made from one of the River Cafe books. In the past I had made it with dried linguine. One day i made it with fresh imported papperdalle and I was truly transported. I posted that it was the best pasta I've ever tasted. Well... needless to say those who made it afterward thought I was nuts. ( exaggeration).

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Anyway, that's just one of the things I like about COTM.. The experiences.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  I'm confused. Do you mean "dry" imported pappardelle? Don't see how you could import fresh, but maybe I'm just in the wrong place.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    First "dried linguine"... Dry boxed Barilla super market linguine.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Then "fresh imported papperdalle". Imported from Italy. In the fridge section of our local salumeria..

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        No need to sigh. Once I asked if they had guanciale. The fella at the counter said, "you mean guacamole." I took the cannoli and left.