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Nominations for March 2014 Cookbook of the Month

We are taking nominations for the March 2014 Cookbook of the Month (COTM). Please use this thread to discuss the books you would like to cook from in March. Indicate you are nominating a book by writing the title of the book in ALL CAPITALS. * We are starting the nomination process a few days early as I have a long weekend planned next week and wanted to make sure we had ample time for nominations.*

This thread will be open until 7 pm Central Time on Wednesday, February 12th. At that time the books with the most nominations will advance to the voting thread.

To view the basics of the COTM, and to review all of the previous winners, please visit this link: http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

What will March bring? A reprieve of Hakka? Perhaps Balaboosta will be a contender? Will we overcome our fear of Thai food? Anything could happen. Let the nominations begin!

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  1. Oh gosh, I would love to do the Hakka Cookbook, but I'm guessing two Asian months right next to each other isn't going to fly.

    8 Replies
    1. re: LulusMom

      Well, I'd sign on for HAKKA. But then, everybody already knows the direction of my cooking proclivities!

        1. re: emily

          Will also throw out STIR - have enjoyed what I've made so far and would like to explore more.

          1. re: LulusMom

            Yeah, I'd be pretty happy with the Hakka Cookbook, too. But I think you are right... we might have a COTM riot on our hands.

          2. And if more Asian food in March is too much of a good thing, any interest in some sort of a bistro-y type book?

            No particular book in mind, but this old fashioned winter that we've been having has me doing a fair amount of that sort of cooking, and in NH at least, March is definitely still winter. Usually the grimmest part, in fact.

            1. For the past month we've been cooking from two books by Andrea Chesman: Recipes from the Root Cellar, and Serving Up the Harvest - about 15 recipes from Root Cellar with 2 more tonight: a chicken lo mein, and stir-fried bok choy. We're just starting on Harvest and have cooked 2 recipes so far.

              Everything has been outstanding. Her Asian ingredients are spot on with very easy, logical directions. We started out in the soup chapter of Root Cellar during that wicked frigid weather we in the North East had recently, moved on to main dish meats that incorporate typical root cellar vegetables, then to her other vegetable chapters augmenting our own roasts. I loved Root Cellar so much I bought the Harvest book. That one is broken up into seasonal recipes with just as many flavor-packed recipes as the first one.




              2 Replies
              1. re: Gio

                I've just put the Root Cellar book on hold at my library - you've been raving and it has finally sunk in (takes me a while I guess!). It sounds like a book I'll enjoy, and I'm thrilled that my library has it.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  I think you will enjoy it, LLM. Although there is a chapter on meat main meals, the book is laden with healthy, smart vegetable centric recipes. There hasn't been a disappointment yet.

              2. We just had an absolutely wonderful, traditional french pot roast out of Plenty by Diana Henry. Just an excellent, delicious dish. Would anybody have interest in cooking from Henry's books? I think a Diana Henry month would be just fabulous. And she incorporates flavors from all over the world, so there is plenty of variety for everyone. I would recommend doing Plenty/Food from Plenty and Pure Simple Cooking/Cook Simple.

                I would also be interested in Mighty Spice and Mighty Spice Express. I acquired MSE recently but so far have only been able to try one recipe. Have many marked to try. For me, when it starts getting into February and March, it's really hard to find the motivation to cook. Root veggies really starting to lose their allure. I especially like SE Asian and Mexican flavors during this time of year .... if I can't eat something fresh and green at least I can wake up my palate with cilantro, chile and lime. A shot of fish sauce doesn't hurt either.

                I could support the Chesman too. I got the Root Cellar book from the library on Gio's recommendation. I haven't cooked from it yet but I'm enjoying reading it during my commute (I got the ebook edition so it's on my phone) and it's certainly filled with many things that I would cook. Goodness knows I have mountains of potatoes, cabbage, kale and turnips to get through before spring.

                As for Hakka, I'm divided. I've been really interested in this book for a long time. And it won't really be back to back Asian for me because I'm not going to be participating in COTM much this month (no time for dumplings). But I'm concerned that Hakka would be another lower participation month like those we've had recently -- it is a more specialized book, it is rather expensive to buy, there are not a lot of online recipes out there nor is there good library availability. I would rather try to pick something that would have a wider appeal. It's always fun to have more cooks in the kitchen.

                7 Replies
                1. re: Westminstress

                  Westminstress, there are 2 on-going threads for two of the books you mentioned:
                  Plenty + others/Diana Henry

                  Mighty Spice + Mighty Spice Express

                  1. re: Gio

                    I don't think the fact that there are ongoing threads should prevent a book from being COTM. COTM is a chance to cook more intensively from a book and for lots of people to focus on the same book at the same time. Though the ongoing threads are great too, it's not really the same thing. Also, I think the fact that there are ongoing threads shows that there is a wider positive audience for a book which leads to greater participation.

                  2. re: Westminstress

                    I could get behind *all* of these ideas. One thing: might it make more sense to do a Diana Henry month once her new book comes out here (I think June)? Then we could include it. But I'd definitely be up for all these suggestions.

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      I thought about that with the new Henry coming out (which I am quite excited about by the way). But I think a COTM with the new book and all the older ones would be too diffuse anyway.

                      1. re: Westminstress

                        Sold. DIANA HENRY month or HAKKA (having started the Mighty Spice thread I feel a little weird about nominating it, but I'd have no problem voting for it if it garnered enough nominations).

                    2. re: Westminstress

                      I just bought Mighty Spice Express so I'd be down for that. I'll go ahead and nominate it.


                      1. re: Westminstress

                        I'd love to do Diana Henry month, but I'm away for most of March (escaping the dreary weather at last - yay). Her new book is also out in March and I'll definitely be getting it as soon as I get back from my holiday.

                      2. BALABOOSTA. As discussed. It's a small easy to handle book with an eclectic set of recipes. Although many are middle eastern (and as a rare treat Yemenite) there are all types of recipes as the author based the book on what SHE eats and feeds her family. I also love the set up - kids section, light section, hurry section, romantic section, etc

                        6 Replies
                        1. re: Siegal

                          I am really disappointed to hear all the bad press re Balaboosta. For those of you who have it and love it, I'd love to hear your side of the story.

                          1. re: dkennedy

                            Me too, really. I have the book, so if someone has tried something they love, I want to know about it.

                            1. re: MelMM

                              I made the shakshuka (used less salt - otherwise followed recipe), Turkish coffee brownies, the cheese bureka. All came out very good. Especially the brownies
                              Also made the hamin - did not come out good bc too much salt but seemed like it had potential. So I will make it again but use my common sense for salt.

                              1. re: Siegal

                                Re the salt issue: I think that is a Food Network issue. I often find that the recipes I pull from their site are way off re the measurements of ingredients and so I have gotten in the habit of editing any printed recipes against the actual show I watched. I believe Balaboosta was written after she participated on that network (am I wrong?) so if so, probably the recipes are sound, but the measurements will be consistently problematic. Regardless, I can see why the group would be against it. I still am looking forward to getting from the library to make up my own mind.

                                1. re: dkennedy

                                  I haven't made very much, but what I have made, too much salt was not the issue. In one case, it was not enough salt. It was just proportions off across the board.

                                  1. re: MelMM

                                    Also, from T. Susan Chang's review of the book below, it seemed like it wasn't only issues of proportion but of timing.

                          1. re: Gio

                            Eh... I don't want to go into details, but the few recipes I've made from this book have been problematic. Has anyone made anything really good from it?

                            1. re: MelMM

                              Oh oh, please please please go into details! I've been on a fence about buying it and would love to make the decision with full information.

                              1. re: LulusMom

                                OK, you have "Jerusalem", right? Compare the hummus recipe in there, which is fantastic, to this one:

                                1. re: MelMM

                                  OK, thanks Mel. Anything else? What beetlebug has written below is pretty damning.

                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                    Let's just say that the review beetlebug linked to is very much like what I've experienced. Yields way off, proportions off, cooking times off. The reviewer made more than I have from it, so I think the review says more than I can.

                                    1. re: MelMM

                                      Thanks again Mel. That review had me go straight to amazon and get the book off my wish list. Sorry Siegal and Gio. I was about to pounce on it yesterday.

                                  2. re: MelMM

                                    Mel, I've been making hummus for years without a recipe. Made one from the Jerusalem and wondered what all the fuss was about (I love the book and made lots of recipes). The one you linked seems to be just another hummus recipe, not outstanding but not fussy either and I am OK with that.

                                    What did you not like about it? And how is it indicative to the book inferiority?

                                    I have not seen Balaboosta yet but it is on its way to me.

                                    Just looked at the recipe again and noticed a huge issue - 3C dried chickpeas! Really??? I am sure if 3C of cooked are used, the recipe will be much better :)

                                    Still curious to see the book ...

                                    1. re: herby

                                      I've also been making hummus for many years without a recipe. I imitated the best I'd ever had until I nailed it. That was well over 20 years ago. I cite Jerusalem because the recipe is similar to how I make it, and that gives people a way to compare the proportions. 3 cups dried chickpeas... That's a problem, because you end up with a ton of hummus and it doesn't keep very well. But what's worse, only 1/3 cup tahini for all those chickpeas. Compare to Jerusalem which has 1 1/3 cups tahini (4 times as much) for 1 cup dried chickpeas. It may be a matter of taste, but the proportions in the Jerusalem recipe are much more like how I would make it.

                                      This recipe is just an example of how the book in general seems poorly tested. Other recipes have similar problems. The review that beetlebug links to gives more examples.

                                2. re: MelMM

                                  Could you go into details? I would like to hear pros and cons about the recipes in this book.

                                  1. re: MelMM

                                    I remember reading this review in the Boston Globe late last year. It seems that the recipes weren't fully tested and there were some pretty major mistakes. For example, in the turkey meatball recipe, instead of 3 teaspoons of salt, 3 tablespoons were called for. After reading the review, I didn't even look up the cookbook until it started popping up in the HC threads.


                                    1. re: beetlebug

                                      Yup, that really says it all, as diplomatically as possible.

                                      1. re: MelMM

                                        Also, I trust the reviewer, T. Susan Chang. She reviews cookbooks weekly (?) for the Boston Globe. She also does something for EYB. She tells it the way she sees/tastes it.

                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                          She's one the best there is, at reviewing cookbooks. I don't know how many reviewers test the recipes as much as she does, but not many, I'd guess.

                                      2. re: beetlebug

                                        I like the book but I agree about the salt. In most of the recipes it's too much.
                                        Usually I don't measure even when I cook from a recipe so I tend to salt to taste but it is a big booboo on her part. Not the only salty recipe I saw. On the other hand I did make a few great things from the book

                                  2. All this is Very discouraging! I just cancelled my order. I don't want to bother with a book others have found fault with, especially people whose opinion I trust.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: Gio

                                      Mine is on its way and I love to read and cook a few things before I either keep it or send away. Really fun to explore a cookbook that generates so many varying opinions - go BALABOOSTA, go :)

                                      1. I have no business here. I won't be nominating or voting because March is shaping up to be a full on travel month for me.

                                        That said, since I've been contemplating my birthday weekend cooking from one book, I feel like I've unearthed some COTM-worthy books along the way. So, FWIW, I thought I'd share some books that really have impressed me and piqued my interest:

                                        The New Midwestern Table
                                        The Tante Marie's Cooking School Cookbook (so awesome!)
                                        Charleston Receipts (Junior League)
                                        Rick Stein's India
                                        Treasures: My Caribbean Kitchen by Anne-Marie Whittaker
                                        New World Kitchen: Latin America and Caribbean Cuisine by Norman Van Aken
                                        The Girl and Her Pig
                                        The Girl and The Goat Cookbook
                                        The Girl and The Fig Cookbook (ok, so you see a theme here!!)
                                        Mrs Chiang's Szechuan Cookbook
                                        Mrs Ma's Chinese Cookbook
                                        Simmering Suppers: Classic and Creative One-Pot Meals from Harrowsmith Kitchens
                                        Cook's Illustrated - The Best Recipe
                                        Cradle of Flavor: Home Cooking from the Spice Islands of Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia by James OselandThe Little Paris Kitchen: Classic French Recipes with a Fresh and Simple Approach by Rachel Khoo

                                        ETA: Ooops, I forgot one:

                                        Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book by Jane Grigson

                                        16 Replies
                                        1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                          I have A Girl and her Pig and I love it. I read it cover to cover, and I did so on Kindle, so that is really saying something! The recipes are very approachable and many of them are for things I'd never have thought to put together so I would love to see it selected. It was also super inexpensive on Kindle when I bought it. Not sure if that is still the case.

                                          A GIRL AND HER PIG

                                          1. re: dkennedy

                                            I'll be out of the country most of March (and April) so won't be nominating or voting either (and I've been horribly remiss about participating the past two months, for which I did nominate and vote). Other than the outstanding Lemon Caper Salad Dressing, I haven't had a chance to cook from it. But I wanted to pop in here to say that "A Girl and Her Pig" has been sitting on my coffee table for the past 10 days while out-of-town guests were staying with me. My friend also read the book practically cover-to-cover and was jumping up so often to photocopy recipes that I asked him why the hell he didn't just go ahead and buy the book.

                                            1. re: JoanN

                                              Almost spit my beer at my screen laughing at that last part.

                                          2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                            Cradle of Flavor was a COTM. I still make tons of things from this book. I love these flavors. My only issue? I don't live with three generations of women who don't have careers who can prep all of the ingredients for each meal. :-)

                                            I did recently buy a new mini-Prep food processor that does a much better job of creating the pastes.

                                            1. re: smtucker

                                              I liked but didn't love Cradle of Flavor. I was so looking forward to it as I love eating the Malaysian/Indonesian food at a local restaurant. But I found most things very labor intensive and not as good as I could have gotten at the restaurant.

                                              1. re: smtucker

                                                Oh that's great to know smt, thank-you...a pre-bc-on-Chowhound COTM!

                                                This book is a recent addition to my shelf so I'll have to check out those threads for inspiration.

                                                Here's a link in case anyone else is interested:


                                                1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                  Make the Chicken Sate, you won't regret it!

                                                  1. re: qianning

                                                    With the Sweet Indonesian dipping sauce and quick pickled carrots and cucumbers. One of my favorite meals.

                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                      Thanks for the rec! I have this book but have never used it.

                                              2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                Have always wished we would do a Jane Grigson month/book.

                                                1. re: qianning

                                                  I made her Christmas cake for the first time last year. It was hands-down the best one I've ever done and will be my go-to recipe from now on.

                                                  1. re: greedygirl

                                                    Embarrassed to say I don't think I've ever heard of her. Had to google.

                                                2. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                  BC, I'd really like to hear your thoughts about (A Girl and Her Kitchen aka The girl and goat cookbook). Is it worth the shelf space?

                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                    I'm excited about this book dk. I've had the pleasure of dining at G&G on a number of occasions and have eaten some of the best dishes I've ever tasted there.

                                                    The book is chock-full of drool-inducing recipes with unique flavour profiles or sometimes just an interesting twist on an old standard - Artichoke and Strawberry Panzanella and Smoked Trout, Fingerling and Bacon Salad for example.

                                                    The book is indexed in EYB for anyone interested in taking a look at the recipes:


                                                    There's also a blog called Lisa is Cooking where the blogger cooks a number of recipes from the book. Recipes reprinted (with permission) in the blog and of course, there's photos:


                                                    I really enjoy reading Stephanie Izard's back stories and tips. Her quirky style comes through and ultimately conveys an approachable style that encourages you to want to cook from the book.

                                                    Finally, it's very likely this may be "the" book I choose for my birthday weekend so I'll be sure to post my experiences w the recipes.

                                                    1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                      Thanks BC, it is on its way to me now - and at a great price if anyone else is thinking of doing the same. I will look forward to your future reports.

                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                        The fennel and bok choy salad sounds delicious.

                                                  2. I think it is too soon after Asian Dumplings for Hakka. I currently have both out on loan from the library and Hakka looks like an interesting read but my family won't get behind two months of such similar foods in a row. I need to break things up a little. So I hope Hakka resurfaces a few months from now.

                                                    Is A.O.C. too new to consider? It is fabulous and I know there are plenty of us on here who are Suzanne Goin fans.

                                                    1. I'm not nominating as yet, but I would say whatever we do should have the broadest appeal possible so as to encourage a high participation month.

                                                      1. RECIPES FROM THE ROOT CELLAR
                                                        SERVING UP THE HARVEST

                                                        Both by Andrea Chesman


                                                        3 Replies
                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                          I could get behind those. I only have the first one, but it would be pretty appropriate for March in most parts of the country.

                                                          1. re: Gio

                                                            I'm *hoping* that things warm up here (we've had an unusually cold winter for North Carolina), but I still like the sound of the Root Cellar book and could easily get behind it. I like the idea so much that, as I said above, I've already put a hold on the book at my library.

                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                              Not sure what March will bring, but I'm currently getting lots of root vegetables in my CSA. I see, via, EYB, that Recipes from the Root Cellar has plenty of recipes for greens and such, as well. My library has this, so with Gio's endorsement, I'll second

                                                              RECIPES FROM THE ROOT CELLAR
                                                              SERVING UP THE HARVEST

                                                              P.S. I see Andrea Chesman has authored a huge number of vegetable-oriented cookbooks!

                                                            2. OK, I thought I should throw out some suggestions. I'm staying away from the Asian shelves of my collection, because we are on Asian dumplings right now, although I have to say I am doing this with great difficulty.

                                                              Andrew Carmellini - he has Urban Italian, and then he has American Flavor. I've made a few of his recipes, all excellent.

                                                              Frank Stitt - There's Frank Stitt's Southern Table, and then there is Bottega Favorita, which has an Italian twist.

                                                              Two Greedy Italians - this got a push once before, but we never got to it. Might be better for summer.

                                                              March brings us St. Patrick's day, so maybe we should get in the spirit with a Darina Allen selection?

                                                              We haven't done a John Besh book. I'm not much interested in his new one, but My New Orleans, I could get behind.

                                                              Even better than John Besh, would be Donald Link's book Real Cajun. A real winner.

                                                              Maybe it's to soon for Mexican after Gran Cocina, but at some point, I really think we should do one or more of Zarela Martinez's books: The Food and Life of Oaxaca, Zarela's Veracruz, or Food from the Heart (her first). All superb books, I think she is my favorite author for this cuisine (yes, over Rick Bayless, and possibly even over Diana Kennedy).

                                                              I could also get into a Jane Grigson month. Or one of the Australian authors, like Neil Perry, or Donna Hay. OK, I would really, really like to do a Kylie Kwong month, but that's Chinese, so I guess it would be a long shot for right now.

                                                              15 Replies
                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                Impressive MeIMM, everyone of your suggestions are for books I don't own and authors I either don't know of or have never cooked out of. I didn't think it was possible based on the size of my cookbook collection. Of course, now I have to go and look all of them up and, inevitably, one or more will fall into my cart!

                                                                I don't know of Jane Grigson, Neil Perry, Andrew Carmellini, or Donald Link at all! The rest I have heard of and Zarela I have actually researched but thus far have resisted because I am pretty satisfied with my Latin American Cookbook shelf. Harumph! I will have to educate myself.

                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                  Well, if you are going to put things in your cart, I would say that Urban Italian, by Andrew Carmellini, should be high on the list. It's a chef book, but his wife is his "ghostwriter" so she has unparalleled access to the chef. And if you have an interest in cajun food at all, the Donald Link book should be on there. Zarela's books are fantastic, and my Mexican collection takes up 4 shelves. The Oaxaca book is indispensable. And if I only could have one French book, it would Olney's Simple French Food (which is misleading in name, as it is not really simple at all, but splendid).

                                                                2. re: MelMM

                                                                  Wasn't Southern Table already a COTM? Really early on?

                                                                  I have Two Greedy Italians. I think cold weather and Italian food go really well together and this is yet another idea I could definitely get behind. I feel like we have a wealth of choice right now.

                                                                  I know not everyone feels this way, but I could eat Asian food almost every night of the week.

                                                                  1. re: LulusMom

                                                                    You are right about Frank Stitt's Southern Table. I tried to check against the archive list, but I missed it.

                                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                                      The good thing about that is that you could still feel like you are doing a public good by making something from it and posting about it on those old threads.

                                                                      1. re: MelMM

                                                                        Before you invest in a recipe, take a quick look at the archives. My hazy memory is that there were issues with some of the recipes. But, my hazy memory is also telling me that the pimento cheese was quite popular.

                                                                        1. re: beetlebug

                                                                          I've made the pimento cheese from that book, and it was quite popular with my tasters.

                                                                          1. re: MelMM

                                                                            People in these parts love their pimento cheese, don't they? My husband and daughter can't understand it at all.

                                                                              1. re: MelMM

                                                                                Husband is Canadian and doesn't get it At All.

                                                                    2. re: MelMM

                                                                      From your list I like Jane Grigson, Neil Perry, Andrew Carmellini, and the Two Greedy Italians. I have Neil Perry's :The Food I Love: Beautiful, Simple Food to Cook at Home", and the Carluccio & Contaldo book.

                                                                      The other two I've heard of and read about for a couple of years and may have even cooked a bit from Jane Grigson. She was a contemporary Elizabeth David and has a Huge culinary history. She was called England's answer to Julia Child and the jolly earth mother of British cuisine.

                                                                      Frank Stitt's Southern Table was a COTM way back when.

                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                        And Jane has a daughter, Sophie, who has also written cookbooks. Some genes.

                                                                        1. re: sr44

                                                                          I wasn't aware of her daughter Sophie. If you've seen her books I'd be interested in your thoughts.

                                                                          1. re: meatn3

                                                                            I haven't cooked from her books, but I found I had 4 of them lurking on my shelves. She never "caught on" as other contemporaries did, but she offers interesting recipes (e.g., leeks and orange). Now that I've got them out, I will investigate further.

                                                                        1. I could go for a month of JANE GRIGSON or RICHARD OLNEY (would the T/L Good Cook series be included?).

                                                                          11 Replies
                                                                          1. re: meatn3

                                                                            Hmmm these are intriguing. Richard Olney's Simple French Food has been on my amazon wish list forever. I'm sure I'd love grigson too. Which Grigson would you recommend?

                                                                            1. re: Westminstress

                                                                              I have four Grigson books: Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book, Charcuterie and French Pork Cookery, The Mushroom Feast and Jane Grigson's Book of European Cookery.

                                                                              Grigson spent much time in France and many of her recipes reflect this. She died in 1990. Any recipe is a time capsule of availability, taste, fashion - well imo anyway - and her recipes may seem dated or too rich by today's standards.

                                                                              Of them Jane Grigson's Vegetable Book seems to have the widest array of recipes that have current appeal. Each chapter focuses on a single vegetable with a bit of history, buying and cooking tips. Vegetables are used in all manner so there are many meat dishes included.

                                                                              Charcuterie & French Pork Cookery is a treasure. It was Grigson's first book and a four year labor of love. This book really laid the ground work for later works such as Nose to Tail. Not a book for a quick meal but a great resource for all Charcuterie. Note: while pork centric there are recipes which use other meats such as duck, rabbit.

                                                                              The Mushroom Feast focuses largely on European varieties, many of which are available in the U.S. The only Asian mushrooms I saw mentioned were shitake and matsutake. But for a book from '75 not so unusual. Wide range of recipes with many leaning towards French focus. The book does have more marinaded and mushroom salad recipes than usual though.

                                                                              J. G.'s Book of European Recipes I like because of it's time capsule appeal. The photo's of markets and food artisans capture what was even then becoming lost. Chapters are by country, showcasing the best known dishes. Recipe-wise we have access to much deeper studies of a countries cuisine these days. But if you enjoy a little time travel it's a nice read.

                                                                              1. re: meatn3

                                                                                JANE GRIGSON'S VEGETABLE BOOK.

                                                                                As meatn3 pointed out, this is not a vegetarian book, and has lots of recipes for meaty main dishes. Really an astounding array of preparations, mostly (but not entirely) European, but from all over Europe. So in addition to English, French and such, there are Polish, German, and Russian recipes. According to the cover, contains "more than 500 recipes and dish ideas". That sounds about right, as it is about 600 compact pages.

                                                                              1. re: meatn3

                                                                                I think including the Time-Life series would be a bit much. I'm thinking something along the lines of

                                                                                RICHARD OLNEY: SIMPLE FRENCH FOOD & THE FRENCH MENU COOKBOOK.

                                                                                He has others, but these two would keep it manageable.

                                                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                                                  RICHARD OLNEY: SIMPLE FRENCH &/or THE FRENCH MENU

                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                    I agree the T/L series would be unwieldy for a COTM. I have often thought it might be deserving of a thread...There is so much in the series and I've had good results from the dishes I've made.

                                                                                    Anyone interested in this?

                                                                                    1. re: meatn3

                                                                                      This one isn't really reports, but people discussing the books, with some comments about favorite volumes an recipes: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/740693

                                                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                                        Thanks Caitlin! I grew up with the Foods of the World collection and loved reading it and day dreaming of travel and dining in exotic places.

                                                                                        That thread had spurred my initial thoughts about a similar discussion on the Good Cook series.

                                                                                        1. re: meatn3

                                                                                          Oh, duh, that thread's about the other series. Whoops, not so helpful. I do think if you're interested, you should start a thread. Sometimes there's an "if you build it, they will come" effect with these things, I think.

                                                                                2. I hate it when I don't feel inspired by any of the choices being thrown out there. I can see we are all finding it difficult to find a book to get behind (so far, anyway). Even going through my own shelves and my wish list I am having trouble coming up with a suggestion. Does it have something to do with the weather?

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                      Actually I'd be happy with many of the suggestions on offer this month. I'm just not nominating yet because I haven't decided which two or three I most want to support.

                                                                                    2. CARMINES COOKBOOK: ITALIAN AMERICAN DISHES INSPIRED BY THOSE WHO LIVE THE NJ LIFE

                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                      1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                                        Do you mean "Carmine's Family-Style Cookbook: More Than 100 Classic Italian Dishes to Make at Home" by Michael Ronis?

                                                                                      2. I'm not nominating this month because I won't be able to participate, but I think many of you would love Mange Tout by Bruno Loubet. It's one of those exciting cookbooks where every recipe s just that little bit different. He's a French chef oh has spent time in Australia and now lives in London, where he has two restaurants.

                                                                                        I'm making a whole menu from his book tonight, so will report back.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                          1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                            I love this book!
                                                                                            It's total comfort food, not particularly healthy, but so fun to turn to when I get a hankering for something homey.
                                                                                            This and A Girl and her Pig are making me sit up and take notice.

                                                                                            (I never actually contribute, despite my best intentions, so don't feel I should get too involved in this process)

                                                                                          2. ISABEL'S CANTINA: Bold Latin Flavors from the New California Kitchen

                                                                                            Someone on this board recommended this a while back ( I apologize, I don't remember who it was) and I just got it out of the library. It looks interesting ... lighter and healthier recipes with a fusion of California Latin and Asian flavors.

                                                                                            i need to lose a few pounds, so I am looking for a cookbook with recipes that are flavorful but not so calorie-laden. This seems to have some good options.

                                                                                            15 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: stockholm28

                                                                                              It was me. I have and love Isabel's Cantina. I don't think it's accessible for COTM because it's a West Coast restaurant and I don't think it is widely known. Make the Mexican chocolate bread pudding!

                                                                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                Thanks for the recommendation. It may not be well known but my east coast library has 11 copies of it in circulation and it is on Amazon so I thought I'd put it out there.

                                                                                                1. re: stockholm28

                                                                                                  Well if people are game it's fantastic!

                                                                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                    Are there any other dishes that you've made from this that you can recommend? The bread pudding won't work for me for a number of reasons. I have the book (probably bought based on your recommendation), but haven't made anything from it.

                                                                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                      Everything I have made from this book is so good, it is just the bread pudding is over the top, can't stop thinking about it good.

                                                                                                      Off the top of my head, there is a fish en papillote that is wonderful. The black beans and the sopes were were also very nice.

                                                                                                      1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                        Sold! You had me so convinced dk that I almost bought it. Luckily I decided to chk EYB for reviews first...turns out I already own it!!! Oh happy day!!

                                                                                                          1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                                                                            That really sounds like something that would happen to me!

                                                                                                          2. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                            The bread pudding looks good, but I have celiac disease, so... not on my list. Especially as it calls for croissants, and so that would require me making a gluten-free croissant.

                                                                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                              OK, book is in front of me now. The snapper recipe is on page 83 but all of her fish recipes in the book are wonderful. I think I made the snapper with some other white, mild fish and liked it even better. The chipolte marinated rib eye is delicious, p. 106. Since you are celiac, you might want to check out the flour less chocolate ginger cake on p. 174. Report back after you have made a few recipes, I'd love to hear what you think.

                                                                                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                OK, I may try the snapper. I noticed the flourless cake, but I don't have much of a sweet tooth, so rarely make dessert. But then, valentines day is coming, and Mr. MM does have a sweet tooth, so...

                                                                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                  I made three recipes for my dinner last night. I decided the best place to report would be the Cookbook a Week Challenge thread. You can find my post here:

                                                                                                                  I could be pretty happy cooking from this next month, so I'll second the nomination:
                                                                                                                  ISABEL'S CANTINA

                                                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                    ISABEL'S CANTINA

                                                                                                                    I still think it might by too inaccessible (copy wise) to be a COTM but I will third the nomination because it's a great book. Like you, MeIMM, the book sat on my shelf for some time before I gave it a try. The recipes didn't pop off the page for me. A friend borrowed it to create our Supper Club menu and as I've said before, all the recipes were wonderful. I've been a fan ever since. I will try to find where I posted about the recipes we made and provide a link.

                                                                                                                    1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                      This is high praise. Just checked and it isn't available at my library.

                                                                                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                                                        I checked too and my library doesn't have it.

                                                                                                  2. JANE GRIGSON'S VEGETABLE BOOK

                                                                                                      1. ON FOOD AND COOKING, THE SCIENCE AND LORE OF THE KITCHEN

                                                                                                        Author: HAROLD McGEE
                                                                                                        Publisher: Scribner, 2004

                                                                                                        5 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                          Interesting idea, but there are no recipes in the book. How would you suggest we approach it?

                                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                            Open the book to the table of contents, and look for a chapter that may be of interest. For example, Chapter 6, A Survey Of Common Vegetables starting on page 300. Maybe a person who never cooked with a rutabaga might find that it is a very nutritious vegetable that could be peeled and diced, and used as an ingredient for a vegetable stock. One can let one's imagination run wild with this book.

                                                                                                            Not too many people have heard of Mexican oregano on page 404 (Lippia graveolens), a member of the verbena family. It's more aromatic than the Mediterranean oregano. I use it as an ingredient in chili instead of the more common Italian herb.

                                                                                                            There are cooking tips and explanations in boxes with grey backgrounds that are of great help. Some of the boxes contain explanations of how to cook a given food.

                                                                                                            True that it is not full of recipes, but it's worth having an encyclopedic tome for reference.

                                                                                                            Let's THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX for once. Sorry about the cliche, but it fits.

                                                                                                            1. re: ChiliDude

                                                                                                              The trouble I have with your suggestion is that this project, if you will, is Cookbook of the Month not Reference Book of the Month. Also, most of the home cooks who cook along each month are not beginning cooks. We're mostly looking for exciting new cuisines, new techniques, new ingredients we've never eaten or experienced, and giving our loved ones healthful, delicious, and satisfying meals each day.

                                                                                                              After cooking through many vegetable centric cookbooks since the 2006 inception of COTM including vegetarian focused, we pretty much know about and have cooked rutabagas, celeriac, jicama, and all manner of other foodstuffs. For example, rutabagas are just one of the seasonal vegetables we've been eating this Winter.

                                                                                                              In my own pantry such herbs as Mexican oregano is a staple I would not be without. Also, Italian (which I grow), Greek, and Turkish oreganos. I know enough not to use Mexican oregano if I were cooking an Italian or Greek dish. Were it not for cookbooks and the competent home cooks of the COTM board I'd never attempt Japanese, Indian, Burmese, etc. cooking.

                                                                                                              "On Food and Cooking" is a fine reference book to have in one's culinary library but in my opinion it isn't a suitable choice for a cookbook.

                                                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                Mi dispiace! I didn't mean to be so pedantic.

                                                                                                                Vivi, ama, ridi e specialmente mangia bene!

                                                                                                                1. re: Gio

                                                                                                                  Thanks, Gio, for elaborating on this.

                                                                                                                  While Harold McGee's book isn't a cookbook (thus likely COTM theme), I want also to point out, as someone with a great many books related to food, that it has other important limitations too, as a reference book, which many people appear unconscious of, since it has become such a popular source. I find McGee very useful, with such wide scope in a single volume. But it's what's known as a tertiary or later reference, a book that summarizes bits from other standard reference books. If you have a lot of food reference books already, you tend to notice where McGee got his information, and also what he omitted, neglected, or occasionally, even seemed to misunderstand. By now, I'm sure much of this is known to him, and no doubt additional revisions of the book will appear over time. But constructive criticism of McGee's reference, in the context of the larger world of food-reference writing, might be a useful practical thread, if indeed it doesn't already exist.

                                                                                                                  I sometimes see syndicated, topical columns by McGee; an impression that emerges is that he's essentially a writer rather than a food scientist. I could cite concrete examples, but they belong in the hypothetical critique thread. But I did want to mention some of this, just in case anyone is unaware of it.

                                                                                                                  If people are interested in using reference books for COTM, I'd suggest first an authoritative, recipe-centric reference: Larousse Gastronomique, Ada Boni, Duch, Molokhovets, Mrs Beeton. Each has thousands of recipes -- rather like drinking from a fire hose.

                                                                                                          2. OK, thinking it over, I am ready to nominate

                                                                                                            CHESMAN, RECIPES FROM THE ROOT CELLAR and SERVING UP THE HARVEST
                                                                                                            OLNEY, SIMPLE FRENCH FOOD

                                                                                                            1. Well it is probably a little too late for this month's selection, with only 1 day to go til the Voting Thread goes up, but I wanted to bring all of your attention to A HOMEMADE LIFE by Molly Katzen, blogger of Orangette. Her book is currently on Kindle for $1.99 and also available used for a few cents hardbound. I bought the book because of the price, but I have to say, it is a delightful read and I think all of you should check it out while the price is so low. I am about 1/3 of the way through it, and I don't know if it is my mood or her writing, but I pretty much want to make every recipe she suggests. The book itself is written like a blog, with a long story, followed by a themed recipe. Have any of you cooked from either her blog or the book yet? I'd be interested to know if the recipes are 1/2 as good as her writing.

                                                                                                              In any case, I think for the price it is a not to miss book, if only as an armchair read. It would make for a wonderful discussion as well. So check it out and consider it for next month. I put it up as a nomination for this month because I thought there was a slim chance that it might garner enough interest.

                                                                                                              10 Replies
                                                                                                              1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                Very confused. There is a book called "A HOMEMADE LIFE" by Molly Wizenberg, but I can't find a book by this name written by Mollie Katzen.

                                                                                                                Can I assume that you have the author name wrong since they are so similar?

                                                                                                                1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                  I bought the Kindle version of Homemade Life on your recommendation, DK. BTW, it is by another Molly - Wizenberg :) Started reading it this morning on the bus and it is a delightful read. I am familiar with her blog and cooked a couple of things for sure but do not remember what it was. Have to go back to the blog to refresh my memory.

                                                                                                                    1. re: emily

                                                                                                                      For what it's worth I read through the thread mentioned above and it sounds like some people had problems with her pancake recipe and a few others but it was due to a misprint in the book. If any of you do buy her book, please make sure to check out the website for the corrections. I for one am glad to hear about the mistakes so I won't run into a similar problem.

                                                                                                                      1. re: emily

                                                                                                                        I read the book several years ago and probably tried 5 or 6 of her recipes. I made them all within a couple of months of reading the book. You are right that the stories make you want to cook the food. The recipes I made were good (although in a comfort food kind of way) and most were quite easy. I know I made the Dutch baby pancake, the chocolate wedding cake, the tomato soup with fennel, the yogurt cake, and a couple of others.

                                                                                                                        Since I have the book, I'll go ahead and second "A HOMEMADE LIFE". I don't think I've looked at for several years.

                                                                                                                        1. re: stockholm28

                                                                                                                          I just read her new book is due out in 3 months, I think that is the reason her first one is on special at Kindle.

                                                                                                                      2. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                        Love the Orangette blog, and would enjoy cooking from the book A HOMEMADE LIFE

                                                                                                                        1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                          TY for reminding me how much I enjoy reading her blog. I found a recipe for Leftover Oatmeal Muffins there and enjoyed making/eating some this morning.

                                                                                                                        2. All this cold weather--as well as some anticipated cooking time in March--has me craving Italian food. So I'll add another nomination for STIR.

                                                                                                                            1. Just a reminder that nominations close this evening at 7 Central Time.

                                                                                                                              1. For those who are hankering for Italian, I want to throw out:

                                                                                                                                MIKE ISABELLA'S CRAZY GOOD ITALIAN.

                                                                                                                                I've only made one dish from it, the Red Wine-Stained Angel Hair with Octopus Ragu, but it was incredibly good. There is a lot in this book that appeals to me.

                                                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                  That sounds delicious. Octopus ragu - yum!

                                                                                                                                  1. re: dkennedy

                                                                                                                                    It was unbelievably good. Over pasta cooked in wine.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: MelMM

                                                                                                                                      Going to have to try an track down this recipe!

                                                                                                                                  1. I'm in for THE HAKKA COOKBOOK: CHINESE SOUL FOOD FROM AROUND THE WORLD.
                                                                                                                                    It seems to me, that in the change of seasons, this might provide a decent range of dishes that both northern hemispherians and us southerners can all enjoy.