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One Cookbook. One Weekend. What's Your Pleasure?

My birthday's coming up and I was thinking how much fun it would be to treat myself to a weekend in the kitchen with just one cookbook that I was excited to add to my shelf but, haven't had the opportunity to cook from yet.

Tomorrow I'm going to scan my shelves and pick a book. In the meantime, I thought I'd throw the question out to everyone else.

If you had one weekend to yourself in the kitchen with one book that you haven't yet baked or cooked from...what book would you pick?

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  1. The Forgotten Skills of Cooking.

    The winter weather has limited my time and effort.

    Happy early birthday! :) Enjoy your weekend!

    1 Reply
    1. re: wineos

      Thanks for your warm wishes wineos! I have a couple of Darina Allen's books but not this one. Your post inspired me to pull some of my compendium books off the shelf though...they tend to get neglected because I often use my single-subject/cuisine books first. Good suggestion, thanks!

    2. What a lovely idea, breadc. I rec'd this cookbook some time back and have yet to do anything more than drool over the recipes. But I like your idea and in my case celebrating is months away. So, there's always hope. My selection:

      Have a wonderful birthday!

      eta: I also have the author's new one but I haven't even cracked the spine.

      6 Replies
      1. re: HillJ

        Thanks for the Birthday wishes HillJ!! Thanks for this suggestion. I have all 3 of DT's books and don't believe I've cooked from any so this is a very good suggestion indeed! Thanks!

        1. re: Breadcrumbs

          No kidding you own them too! Well that must be some kind of positive vibe we both need to fix that !

        2. re: HillJ

          I was just looking at my copy of A Platter of Figs yesterday (spine only, poor thing didn't even get picked up), wondering if I'd ever cook from it.

          1. re: debbiel

            We really should have a DT COTM and get this out of our system. At the end of the month there'd either be a lot of happy cooks or, a glut of DT books heading to the thrift shops! It seems many of us are in this position debbie!

            1. re: Breadcrumbs

              Okay. I just pulled it off the shelf (It gasped with surprise and then squealed with happiness.). I've looked through the winter menus. I don't have everything on hand needed for anything other than a carrot dish, and the ice that is coating my town means I'll not go out for other ingredients today. So no cooking from it now. But I'll put it on the coffee table instead of back on the bookshelf for now, and maybe we'll reconnect later in the week.

            2. re: debbiel

              Too funny. Another reason to use it!

          2. Oh so many choices! Have an idea of what country, proteins, style you would like to investigate for a whole weekend?

            For example, I would think buying a bunch of pig parts and working from Momofuku could be a great weekend. Other ideas:
            creating a five course meal from a Keller book.
            choosing a cheap cut of meat, braising then make hand pies with the leftovers
            Pick one ingredient, and prepare it as many ways as you can imagine.

            What a fun idea!

            1 Reply
            1. re: smtucker

              Thanks smt!!! You've given me lots of food for thought. I hadn't considered letting an ingredient guide my choice but that is a very tempting proposition. Love it!

            2. I was given a cookbook, When Bakers Cook, and it has a little of everything. Breakfast to supper and I am anxious to cook from it.

              11 Replies
              1. re: Ruthie789

                That sounds like a fun book Ruthie and I love that the author's passion drove her to self-publish. If you do dive in, please let us know about the book.

                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                  Self-publish? I thought Marcy Goldman was a well-known author, especially in Canada.

                  1. re: buttertart

                    Here's where I learned about the book bt:


                    Though I love baking, by no means am I on top of who the experts are / who's who. MG may very well be well-known here it's likely just me that hasn't heard of her.

                        1. re: buttertart

                          I just finished making the Greek Yogurt Cheesecake from the last chapter of the book. It is setting in the fridge right now, it was so easy, fast and it looks good. Can't wait to give it a try tomorrow.

                          1. re: buttertart

                            It's a very good book but she uses canned soups and soup mix in things, which I just don't do, and some of the recipes have every ingredient and its brother in them. I also wish it were better proofread.

                            1. re: buttertart

                              I did note the soup and mixes but not all recipes have them. I am thinking that these recipes come from a chef-baker who has had to cook meals in a commercial, restaurant kitchen and she is sharing her recipes which are family home-style type of meals. Many restaurants do use these items.

                              1. re: Ruthie789

                                it's true -- and the results may be super, who knows.

                        2. re: Breadcrumbs

                          BC her book Treasury of Jewish Baking is an excellent book. I originally borrowed it from the library and kept taking it out so I finally bought it.

                          1. re: Ruthie789

                            Thanks Ruthie, I'll definitely take a look at it.

                  2. For me, it depends on whether DH is around or not. When he travels, I use that opportunity to make all sorts of stuff he won't eat! One weekend I went nuts with 660 Curries and made my own paneer for saag paneer, gingery chana masala and a couple of other things I knew he would hate.

                    Currently, I would probably choose Thai Food - I have had it for a while but it's rather intimidating and I just haven't worked up my nerve to work my way into it. DH is going out of town in February, though, so maybe I'll get my chance!

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: biondanonima

                      We won't mind to be the tester of your culinary ability....:)

                      1. re: biondanonima

                        Hah biondanomima, I do the same thing. If mr bc had his way (and he often does!) we'd have Italian every day...and no, he's not Italian! I'd always gravitate towards spicy cuisine so Szechuan, Thai, Mexican, Indian are always top of my list on those rare occasions he is away. That said, since it is "my" Birthday, maybe I should indulge and treat both of us to a spicy weekend of food!

                      2. Smoke & Pickles. Except I would need a couple of weekends - one to start the pickles and relishes, and one a couple of weeks later to use them. I keep flipping through it but never seem to have everything I need for any of the dishes. Many are bookmarked, however...

                        5 Replies
                        1. re: Wahooty

                          I spent one full day with smoke and pickles. Great stuff in there! I made several dishes and sauces.
                          But, you are correct...it would need the month of weekends to really nail it. That book needs some advance planning!

                          1. re: Wahooty

                            That's a book I fell in love with when I first flipped through it Wahooty. It would be a great choice!

                            1. re: Wahooty

                              RE: Smoke & Pickles
                              This cookbook was COTM September 2013. I didn't do much with it then only making a couple of recipes, but I have high hopes of future endeavors.



                              1. re: Gio

                                Somehow I forgot all about that Gio. I think I've been away so much I just haven't been as focussed as I normally am. Thanks for the reminder and those links!

                                1. re: Gio

                                  I knew it had been a COTM, and the positive feedback from that was a big factor in my grabbing it off of the shelf when I found it in a used bookstore. While I didn't spend my whole weekend with it, I did finally buy a few of the ingredients that have been keeping me from trying a couple of recipes (for one thing, I do not happen to keep sorghum around on the regular), and today I made my ABT/jalapeno popper variation out of his bourbon-pickled jalapenos.

                                  Sliced into halves (instead of slices) and de-seeded...even with only a few hours of pickling, they were fantastic stuffed with a little cream cheese, wrapped with bacon, and smoked on my grill. This is a pickle I will be making every time I find a big bag of jalapenos on the produce clearance rack in my grocery store. The possibilities are endless.

                                  I think the real reason I would like to spend a weekend (or, realistically, a month of weekends) with it is the writing. I have plenty of cookbooks I like to sit and flip through, but very few I can curl up and READ.

                                  Oh, I also bought a digital copy of "Mrs. Chiang's Szechwan Cookbook" this weekend. I see myself curling up with that one as well. Thanks for the inspiration, Bc, and happy birthday!

                              2. Great idea, BC! A weekend with just one cookbook will allow you to really get to know it.

                                I would love to spend a weekend cooking from:

                                Everyone Eats Well in Belgium Cookbook by Ruth Van Waerebek
                                From my Chateau Kitchen by Anne Willan

                                Make sure to let us know what book you settled on, which dishes you cooked, and what you thought about them.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: herby

                                  Thanks herby! If you could see my pile of books under consideration you'd laugh your head off. I thought I'd make a small pile by a my fave comfy chair and then settle in w a cup or two of tea but so far I haven't been able to stop pulling books!! It has definitely served to show me how many books I have that are neglected. I'll definitely report back when I've made my final selection.

                                2. I don't own a ton, but hands down I would pick Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing by Brian Polcyn and Michael Ruhlmann.

                                  I received the book at a demonstration dinner hosted by Polcyn. But, I rarely have the time to work on most of the recipes in it, so it would be perfect for a weekend project book.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: juliejulez

                                    I have Charcuterie by these two - it's fabulous as well. If I had a good place to dry cure or smoke sausages, I would cook from it a LOT more, but I do make a fair amount of fresh sausage from it. A great way to spend a weekend!

                                    1. re: juliejulez

                                      You're right julie, that would make for an ideal weekend project book. If you ever do get a chance to try some recipes, I'd love to hear about them. This book is on my Amazon Wishlist.

                                    2. How To Cook Without A Book by Pam Anderson.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: ChiliDude

                                        ChilliDude this would be a great book...love the idea of learning new skills on a project weekend as well. I've heard folks speak highly of that book though it isn't on my own bookshelf.

                                      2. This is such a great idea. If the idea is to really just immerse yourself in cooking, knowing that the food will be incredible, I'd go with two books I think you've already cooked from (so I guess that takes them off the table as choices): Jerusalem and Sunday Suppers at Lucques.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                          Thanks LlM! Funny my first inclination was to treat myself to a weekend with Ottolenghi since I know the food would be awesome and the challenge would be what NOT to cook with so many recipes that appeal. SS@L would also be a great choice as would Zuni but I've committed to trying something new so we'll see where that takes me.

                                        2. Love this idea! One book I have really been enjoying recently is Ina Garten's Foolproof. Its pretty simplistic but I have spent many weekends making up some of her dishes.

                                          Another book I really enjoy is Jacques and Julia-Cooking at Home. I enjoyed watching their show and the natural camaraderie comes thru in the book too.

                                          I have been interested in exploring Veganomicon. I gave it to my niece for christmas and she as said that every recipe she has made has been a winner.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: foodieX2

                                            Thanks foodie! I have and love all Ina's books and couldn't agree more, she'd make a great choice for a weekend immersion project. J&J sounds great as well...surprisingly, another book I don't have. That said you've inspired me to add a JC book or two to my pile as I have a few I haven't cooked or baked from yet.

                                          2. Baking - my sister gave me Cakes Galore by Valarie Barrett for my birthday a couple of years ago. Great photos and decoration ideas for a wide variety of cakes, and many tasty looking recipes. I want to try making a checkerboard layer cake and hope someday to successfully make a jelly roll / ice cream roll cake - one that doesn't crack / fall apart as I roll or unroll it. I also want to learn to make frosting flowers/designs, and would make some cupcakes to practice on.

                                            Uninterrupted time in the kitchen sounds blissful. Enjoy!

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: MidwesternerTT

                                              Mmmm, I wish I could hang out with you while you baked from that book MwTT!!! Sounds amazing!

                                            2. I just bought Pok Pok when it came out.
                                              I would love a full weekend with it.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: sedimental

                                                That's on my WIshlist too sed...let us know if you do try anything.

                                              2. BC...I read your post and thought it sounded like a swell idea, so I decided to play along. I walked into the room with all my cookbooks intending to choose just one and cook from it. I started pulling books off the shelf and flipping through them looking to see if anything struck my fancy. I'm down to cooking for 1 now and I thought maybe I could do some large batch cooking over the weekend to get myself set up for the week so I wouldn't have to worry about dinner.

                                                Funny thing happened on the way to a choice...I couldn't make one!! Nothing piqued my interest, but I did end up pulling a Carol Walter baking book and Zarela Martinez's Veracruz cookbook and decided I'd make at least 1 recipe from each cookbook that I had never before made.

                                                So while I'm not going to cook from only 1 book this weekend, your idea did inspire me to revisit a couple of well used cookbooks and try something new :-)

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: DiningDiva

                                                  Thanks DD, your post has inspired me to put at least one Carol Walter book in my pile. There's a part of me that's really leaning towards a baking weekend since I haven't done that in forever it seems.

                                                2. There are a couple the I would like to spend some quality time with:

                                                  The Art of Living according to Joe Beef

                                                  Sweet by Levi Roots

                                                  2 Replies
                                                  1. re: Withnail42

                                                    I've had Joe Beef on my Wishlist forever Withnall but no one has purchased it for me yet!! (I'll have to get mr bc to read this thread!!) It definitely would be a fun book to spend a weekend with!

                                                    After checking out your link to Sweet I'm so incredibly tempted to purchase it...the recipes sound sensational!

                                                    1. re: Withnail42

                                                      I have taken the Joe Beef book out of the library. I enjoyed it very much. I like the two chefs' point of view about food, and dining.

                                                    2. I cook more on the weekend than during the week (leftovers rule!) and often do something very much like this. I've gotten to the point where I'm trying to do it less, since the big problem when you spend the whole weekend cooking you is that you end up with an awful lot of food.

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: ratgirlagogo

                                                        We never seem to have a problem w too much food thank goodness! mr bc loves leftovers and because I travel so much (and he doesn't cook) it's nice that he can have home cooked meals while I'm gone.

                                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                          Mr Rat and I both love leftovers, but Mr Rat loves to cook as much as I do. We're not cooking less, but we are trying to cook smaller amounts at a time.

                                                      2. Happy Birthday! I like to bring one food magazine with me when we spend a week or two at a beach cottage on our summer vacation. Usually the latest Cooks Illustrated or Cook's Country.

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: Berheenia

                                                          Thanks for the good wished Berheenia! I'd love to spend a weekend with my food magazines!! Maybe I need two birthdays this year!! Funny you bring this up though because I had a couple of my Jamie Oliver magazines out yesterday and I was thinking that they'd be great to take on vacation because there's usually so much variety in them.

                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                            Okay, a little OT, but you need to learn to celebrate your birthday weeks (one before and one after) and even your birthday month isn't totally out of line.

                                                          2. re: Berheenia

                                                            I've been taking Best Summer Weekends by Jane Rodmell that BC recommended to me a couple of years ago to the lake cottage for two summers now and enjoy it tremendously. A couple recipes became year-round favourites! Otherwise I do not cook from the book - and isn't that peculiar? :)

                                                            1. re: herby

                                                              herby I'm so glad you continue to enjoy that book, very kind of you to remember my recommendation.

                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                My daughter called a week or so ago to say that her son wants her to make the tofu that I make and to please send the recipe. And it is from BSW ! The book just keeps on giving :)

                                                          3. Gosh, that is tough. It would depend so much on my mood when such a lovely weekend came. Likely one of the following:

                                                            New Food of Life
                                                            One of the Moro books
                                                            The Gaza Kitchen
                                                            Or possibly a baking cookbook. I haven't touched my Peter Reinhart books or, for that matter, bread dough, for ages.

                                                            What a wonderful way to celebrate your birthday! Enjoy!!!

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: debbiel

                                                              Thanks so much debbie! All your selections sound wonderful. It's really not easy to choose at all. I'll definitely need to decide ahead though so I can be sure I have all the ingredients on hand for that weekend. I have to say it's fun thinking about it and once I've selected my book it will be equally fun choosing the recipes!!

                                                            2. After having it languishing on the shelf for a while, my husband has recently taken to the Momofuku cookbook like a duck to water. He's about to make his own ramen noodles, and he's just bought some 'meat glue' for another of the recipes. For me, it might well be an Ottolenghi or one of my Italian books. Very provincial, I know...

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: roxlet

                                                                very delicious - and that should be part of the whole deal. Ottolenghi, Italian, Dunlop - you really couldn't go wrong with a full weekend of those.

                                                              2. Happy early birthday. I would love a weekend at home with a underused cookbook from my shelves. Which one to choose? I'll have to give it some thought and get back to you. Which one did you decide on?

                                                                1. Happy Birthday Breadcrumbs!

                                                                  1. Just popping back to report that I can't decide!!! I narrowed down my choice to a huge pile. I got through some of that pile on the weekend. I've schlepped 3 cookbooks to work w me yesterday and today. I'm narrowing in but I'm not there yet!! Themes and/or books in the running at the moment are:

                                                                    Baking (several books in the running)
                                                                    Szechuan (ditto)
                                                                    The Girl and The Fig books (both)
                                                                    The New Midwestern Table
                                                                    The Marshall Field's Cookbook: Classic Recipes and Fresh Takes from the Field's Culinary Council
                                                                    The Chicago Tribune Good Eating Cookbook
                                                                    Nordstrom Friends and Family Cookbook: Heartwarming Recipes for Your Table by Michael Northern
                                                                    Charleston Receipts by The Junior League of Charleston
                                                                    Simply Simpatico: The Home of Authentic Southwestern Cuisine by Junior League of Albuquerque
                                                                    Treasures: My Caribbean Kitchen by Anne-Marie Whittaker
                                                                    New World Kitchen: Latin America and Caribbean Cuisine by Norman Van Aken

                                                                    ...and that's just the ones I remember.....

                                                                    any suggestions?!!!

                                                                    7 Replies
                                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                      You might consider having a generous glass of wine while you create a large target with each book handprinted around the circles. As you finish that glass of wine, take a dart, close your eyes, and throw. The book that is hit becomes your weekend.

                                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                                        smtucker I LOVE that idea and you know what...I just might do that (or something damn close to it...that involves me having a glass of wine of course!!) The chance of me making a decision using your method seems far greater than me doing so with mine the way things are going!!! Love it! Thanks.

                                                                      2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                        I have Nordstrom and Friends too. Have you cooked out of it yet? I have not.

                                                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                                                          No dk, but I love Nordstoms and I've enjoyed a number of dishes there over the years. I actually have another Nordstrom book but I believe it's an Entertaining theme.

                                                                        2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                          The New Midwestern Table is lovely.

                                                                          Sigh, so is Charleston Receipts.

                                                                          Go with Amy. There's a lot of good stuff in that book, and I may emulate you with it next weekend.

                                                                          But Receipts.....so good... :)

                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                            BT, since you will be cooking the whole weekend do any of the books have dishes that cover meals from breafkfast to dinner? Maybe be a Sunday brunch to invite freinds to enjoy your cooking?

                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                              There's something about a Junior League cookbook ....

                                                                            2. Pok Pok - I feel I need to dedicate a weekend just to get started and do a couple of recipes.

                                                                              Planet Barbecue - had it for years and still haven't cooked anything from it.

                                                                              9 Replies
                                                                              1. re: ARenko

                                                                                Me too. I have made the wings (natch) but not much else. They were good but the ones I had at Pok Pok were better. Made me wonder if the recipes in the book are not the same as in the restaurants. I know some chefs will change them. I have eaten at Pok Pok Portland many times, so I am curious to try some others.

                                                                                I think I made a salad but it wasn't memorable.

                                                                                1. re: sedimental

                                                                                  Oh man, this is killer. To take the time these recipes make and then not have them turn out the way they taste at Pok Pok - that sucks.

                                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                    I know. I am hoping it was just me. Maybe I screwed something up. I intend to try more of them.

                                                                                  2. re: sedimental

                                                                                    Pok Pok is one I need to start cooking from soon. Maybe next week I will sit down, pick a few dishes, and do whatever it takes to get the ingredients.

                                                                                    I haven't eaten at Pok Pok, but I think I'm a pretty good judge of whether a recipe is worth the effort or not. And I have done a fair amount of Thai cooking at home (used to do a ton of it, but backed off for some reason, probably because the ingredients were easier to find when I lived in TX). Maybe we need to start a cooking-from thread for this book, to get us motivated.

                                                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                                                      I ate at Pok Pok and loved it. Loved it. But honestly, right now I just don't have the time or patience for what it sounds like the recipes take. That said, I'd be interested to hear if your experience is the same as sedimental's.

                                                                                    2. re: sedimental

                                                                                      Well, he says he changed the recipe because our home burners can't get hot enough (or something like that). I think that's bs though. He just wasn't going to give it out exactly. Since I haven't eaten there, I don't have to worry about they compare.

                                                                                    3. re: ARenko

                                                                                      You have to make something from Planet Barbecue. Lot's of solid recipes in there, many weeknight-friendly. Here's the link from when it was COTM:

                                                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                                                        I know, I know. I followed that thread. I just keep going back to The Barbecue Bible though. And lately I haven't had my grill, but I'll have it back soon and PB will be the first place I turn.

                                                                                        1. re: MelMM

                                                                                          Finally made something from PB - made the Orange Chicken with Pancetta (I think that's what it's called). That's the one you marinate the orange slices in orange juice and rum, then boil down the marinade to use as a basting sauce and finishing sauce for the chicken/ pancetta/ orange slice kebabs. It was simple and tasty. Not as boldly flavored as I like, but I enjoyed it and would make it again.

                                                                                          Next week I'm definitely doing something from Pok Pok (and reporting in the thread you started).

                                                                                      2. I'd be inclined to pick Jerusalem but I'd rather do it on a summer weekend rather than depths of chilltime.

                                                                                        I've done very little with Phan's Vietnamese Home Cooking so maybe that one.

                                                                                          1. Big thanks to all for your inspiring posts!

                                                                                            So the book I selected is Girl in the Kitchen: How a Top Chef Cooks, Thinks, Shops, Eats & Drinks by Stephanie Izard, a wonderful chef who happens to own one of my favourite restaurants in Chicago.

                                                                                            As fate would have it, I had to take a last minute business trip and depart on my Birthday weekend so my adventure in the kitchen has been postponed to next month.

                                                                                            I'll definitely post about the recipes I make and I've already decided I'll have to supplement my choice with a dessert recipe from another cookbook since SI's book doesn't cover desserts.

                                                                                            Stay tuned...

                                                                                            6 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                              Shame about the trip on your birthday, but happy birthday wishes to you! I'm excited to hear how it goes, and want to thank you again for such a fun idea - nice gift to oneself!

                                                                                              1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                I bought Girl in the Kitchen after you posted about it last time, so I am really looking forward to your post. Enjoy your trip and have a happy birthday!

                                                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                  BC, I finally got around to sitting down with A GIRL IN THE KITCHEN and I really have to thank you for inspiring me to add this one to my collection. I hope, by now, you have treated yourself to that weekend to yourself. If not, maybe this will remind you to do so.

                                                                                                  She sounds like a fun person and I am really looking forward to trying out some of her recipes - soon! I am tempted to do it this week but I haven't made one report on this month's COTM so at least for now, this has to go on the back burner.

                                                                                                  The lamb stuffed calamari is calling my name, as are the chickpea fritters!

                                                                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                    Chickpea fritters? Could you paraphrase? I just cooked a pot of chickpeas with a plan to roast some for a before dinner snack for company this Friday and have no plans for the rest of the pot other than freeze. Fritters sound interesting :)

                                                                                              2. Around My French Table.

                                                                                                1. The Korean Kitchen: Classic Recipes from the Land of the Morning Calm
                                                                                                  by Copeland Marks

                                                                                                  I've had this book for years, and have been reading it this week. Last night I said to the spousal unit that I would love to have three or four days in a row to explore this book, and then I found this thread today.

                                                                                                  The kimchi recipes are short fermentation (from a day to a few days), and look fairly straightforward.