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November 2013 Cookbook of the Month Voting is Now Open!

Welcome to the voting thread for the November 2013 Cookbook of the Month. This month 16 books received nominations. In remembrance of Marcella Hazan’s passing, a call to revisit The Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking received the most nominations, followed closely by a Marcella Month which would include all of her cook books, and in the non-Marcella category, John Gregory Smith’s second book Mighty Spice Express had a strong showing. Which book(s) will earn the most votes and take us into November?

The first nominee is hot off the presses, MIGHTY SPICE EXPRESS: FAST, FRESH AND FULL-ON FLAVORS FROM STREET FOODS TO THE SPECTACULAR by John Gregory Smith. It is said that the “book is a revelation. Drawing inspiration from Thailand, China, Taiwan, Malaysia, India, Mexico, Turkey, and Morocco, Gregory-Smith has created recipes that are super-quick to prepare and full of savory flavors… even the most complicated meal takes less than 45 minutes to make. (T)he Taiwanese Beef Noodles (are) ready in 15 minutes, and made with a mix of spices that don't take long to cook, or his Cinnamon Fig Tarts, which you can make in 25 minutes. Here you'll find exotic flavors and tongue-tingling spices from every corner of the globe--all super fast.” http://tinyurl.com/mmh4fsc

Our second option, THE ESSENTIALS OF CLASSIC ITALIAN COOKING (1992) by Marcella Hazan, is a compilation and revision of her first two books, The Classic Italian Cook Book (1973) and More Classic Italian Cooking (1978). It has been said that “…Marcella… is responsible for bringing Italian cuisine into the homes of American cooks. We're not talking spaghetti and meatballs here--Hazan's cuisine consists of polenta, risotto, squid braised with tomatoes and white wine, sautéed swiss chard with olive oil and garlic.... Twenty years ago… such recipes were revolutionary…In addition to the delicious collection of recipes, this book serves as a basic manual for cooks of every skill level. Recipes have been revised to reduce fat content, and a whole new chapter full of fundamental information about herbs, spices, and cheeses used in Italian kitchens--as well as details on how to select specific ingredients--has been added.” http://tinyurl.com/mxhph8b

Lastly, voting for MARCELLA HAZAN MONTH includes a vote for four books including MARCELLA’S ITALIAN KITCHEN which has a “…a strong emphasis on soups, pasta, risotti, and unusual vegetable combinations… There are particularly flavorful fish, chicken, and veal recipes, and dishes that use…radicchio, sweet yellow peppers, dried porcini mushrooms, and the occasional treat of fresh white truffles. Vine-ripened tomatoes, once again abundant in farmers' markets, are used with proper light Italian touch, and you don't have to travel to Italy to taste its famous gelati…” http://tinyurl.com/l66meb8, MARCELLA CUCINA which " …focuses on regional cooking, (including)…every area of Italy and offering a rich array of flavors and textures from cities and villages alike. Best of all, Marcella cooks at your side with easy-to-follow instructions…from preparing homemade pasta to cleaning artichokes -- and allow you flawlessly to re-create her magic in your own kitchen.” http://tinyurl.com/lbxhfny, and MARCELLA SAYS…ITALIAN COOKING WISDOM FROM THE LEGENDARY TEACHER’S MASTER CLASES WITH 120 OF HER IRRESISTIBLE NEW RECIPES which “…includes a "master-class" chapter that culls a lifetime of Hazan's cooking smarts, presented in the likes of "When Is it Done" (cook vegetables all the way to tenderness, she advises); "How to Cook a Pasta Sauce" (use a saucepan for long-simmering sauces, a skillet for the rapid reduction fresh sauces require); and "Herbs, Garlic, Spices, Salt, and the Pursuit of Flavor"…Hazan also supplies typically attractive, easily accomplished recipes, such as Rapini and Butternut Squash Soup, Spaghetti "Rotolo" with Zucchini and Bacon, Fish Fillets Marinated and Baked with Lemon and Thyme, and Bread Pudding with Chocolate and Apples…” http://tinyurl.com/oqh3d4y and THE ESSENTIALS OF ITALIAN COOKING.,

To view the nomination thread, please click here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/919575

To view the history of COTM and how it works, please visit this link:

Please cast your vote by checking the "recommend" box underneath your chosen title (one vote per hound please).

Voting will close on Monday, October 21st at 7pm Central Time.

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    1. Vote here to revisit THE ESSENTIALS OF CLASSIC ITALIAN CUISINE by Marcella Hazan

        1. re: BigSal

          I hope this wins! I'll probably be cooking from Essentials anyway, but I'm happy to spread the love.

        2. You're really raising the bar here, Sal. Thanks so much for your descriptive synopsis of the books we must consider. Well done you!

          1. Great job again - I love reading descriptions even if I know the book it refreshes my memory :)

            If not too late, you may want to change "Might Spice" to "Mighty Spice" - not a big deal.

            1 Reply
            1. Looks like Marcella month has got a good start. I always worry that multiple books will make it hard for us to really get into the subject matter. That said I've never participated in a multi month so it will be good to see how it goes. Sorry I just realized I posted this above the votes, but I can't delete it. Hopefully a moderator can move or delete it.

              3 Replies
              1. re: delys77

                The new chow.build always makes your posts APPEAR to be on top, but then they shift down to the bottom. I assume this is to give you time to review/edit before that option disappears forever.

                1. re: smtucker

                  We can still edit after the post shifts down to the bottom, as long as it's within the 2 hour time frame.

                  I think a new post is replied to at the top because we're replying to the OP i.e. making a new statement, not replying to another poster. So it's not indented but stands alone, as it were.

                  1. re: Gio

                    Thanks for the info all, I had a moment of panic this morning when I thought I had budged to the front so to speak.

              2. Just taking on a seat on the couch to watch the votes come in.

                I no longer own any Marcella Hazan Cookbooks. I know she has a strong following here, but I never cooked out of her books when I owned them, and they were among the very few I have ever managed to cull from my shelves. To my mind, that must mean I am not a fan. I think I will be sitting on the sidelines this month, unless Mighty Spice makes a comeback.

                I have way too many Italian cookbooks to even consider adding another one to my collection, or even taking it out of the library, unless it was one that grabbed my attention! Having said that, I am sure I will be motivated to pull my other Italian cookbooks down and cook along with all of you while I happily read along.

                2 Replies
                1. re: dkennedy

                  I don't own any of her books either, but I'll be happy to check the local library. November does seem like the kind of month for cozy food, and Italian seems to me to fit that bill (even if that wasn't what I voted for).

                  1. re: LulusMom

                    Yes, I agree November is a great month for cozy meals, so Italian does seem appropriate. I will, I'm sure, be motivated to make ragus and such alongside the rest of you!

                  1. re: buttertart

                    Your vote won't count this way anymore. Scroll up and find BigSal's post with your choice. Expand that post and then click the word "RECOMMEND." Your vote will then be calculated.

                    Hope that helps.

                  2. Wow! Landslide in process! Must go dust off my Hazans!


                    3 Replies
                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      I think this is more of a tribute to Marcella than anything. Even my hum-ho dinner club proposed to have dinner in her memory - I probably won't be around than but was impressed never-the-less.

                      Not voting this time since my participation has been terrible in spite of all good intentions!

                      1. re: herby

                        Yes, absolutely, a tribute to Hazan. And, sadly, I know what you mean about not voting (and in my case, not nominating either). One of these days I'll get it together. I'm pretty sure that day is not today, though.


                        1. re: herby

                          Our supper club too (which I have to say is not ho-hum at all) is getting behind a Marcella dinner. Next Saturday! It will still be October, but if this ends up being our COTM, I'll be sure to make note and report on our dishes.

                      2. This is a very clever use of the recommend button.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: buttertart

                          Agreed. I believe we have Breadcrumbs to thank for the idea.

                        2. I don't mind which wins to be honest.

                          Big Sal - I think you mean October 21st in your OP. :-)

                          1 Reply
                          1. Wow, this the most votes we had in a while, isn't it?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: herby

                              I believe so. Quite an outpouring of interest. Very exciting.

                            2. Voting is now closed. Please join us in the announcement thread. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/921217