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Voting Thread: Cookbook of the Month August 2014

Hello all

The nomination thread was active with comments but there were relatively fewer nominations that usual, likely because those of us in the northern hemisphere are out and about enjoying the longer and warmer days.

The book and author that garnered the most nominations are as follows:

Diana Henry Month
One Good Dish: The Pleasures of a Simple Meal

Diana Henry Month
While it seems that a few of her books were specifically referenced most nominations were for a month exploring all the works of Diana Henry. After having a look on EYB it seems that this author has been quite prolific. Voting for Diana Henry Month will mean that participants can pull from any of her works.

Here is a little bio I found on Ms. Henry:

"Diana has been The Sunday Telegraph’s food writer – her column is in the paper’s magazine, Stella – for the last 10 years, and also contributes to House & Garden, Country Living, Saga and Red magazines. Sometimes you can hear her on Radio 4 (usually on ‘Woman’s Hour’) and she was a co-presenter on ‘Market Kitchen’ on UKtv.
Her first book, Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons, was shortlisted for a Glenfiddich Award for best cookbook. Her sixth book, Food From Plenty was shortlisted for both the André Simon Award and the Guild of Food Writers Award for Cookbook of the Year. Her seventh book, Salt Sugar Smoke was shortlisted for the Fortnum & Mason Award and The Guild of Food Writers Award for Cookbook of the Year.
Fortnum & Mason named her Food Writer of the Year in 2013 and the Guild of Food Writers have named her Cookery Journalist of the Year twice.
Before writing about food, which she started after she had her first child, she was a television producer for the BBC and, later, independent companies, making programmes for Channel 4. She worked on many of Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s cookery series, but mostly made human interest and arts documentaries.
When she's not cooking she's reading – she loves literature almost as much as food – and looking after her children and partner. She lives in London, but was born and brought up in Northern Ireland."

One Good Dish
The other nominee for this month is One Good Dish: The Pleasures of a Simple Meal by David Tanis. Mr Tanis' work is described as

"In this, his first non-menu cookbook, the New York Times food columnist offers 100 utterly delicious recipes that epitomize comfort food, Tanis-style. Individually or in combination, they make perfect little meals that are elemental and accessible, yet totally surprising—and there’s something to learn on every page. Among the chapter titles there’s “Bread Makes a Meal,” which includes such alluring recipes as a ham and Gruyère bread pudding, spaghetti and bread crumbs, breaded eggplant cutlets, and David’s version of egg-in-a-hole. A chapter called “My Kind of Snack” includes quail eggs with flavored salt; speckled sushi rice with toasted nori; polenta pizza with crumbled sage; raw beet tartare; and mackerel rillettes. The recipes in “Vegetables to Envy” range from a South Indian dish of cabbage with black mustard seeds to French grandmother–style vegetables..."

We have a broad choice before us this month with either the possibility of cooking from an author or cooking from a single book. To make your selection please click on the recommend button on the relevant posting below. Voting will remain open till Wednesday the 23rd at 4pm pst.

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      1. ONE GOOD DISH (we could incorporate Tanis' other books as well)

        2 Replies
        1. re: Tom P

          Tom, you have to hit the recommend button under the book you are voting for or your vote won't count.

        2. Looks like Diana Henry has taken the lead. I am both excited and dismayed by this. I don't own any Diana Henry books (yet) and my library card is on suspended status because I let my daughter check out way too many books last time we were there and we didn't get them back on time. Fines add up quickly so until I get back in their to clear my name, no placing holds for me. So although this will require my buying yet another cookbook, I just finished reading a DH article, and found it very well written. (I will need some help deciding which book to start with).

          On the other hand, I was really looking forward to exploring One Good Dish. It is the kind of book to sit down with over coffee or a glass of wine and tab a page to try. And the recipes are perfect for summer entertaining. Things like quail eggs with flavored salt, fried bread or radishes a la creme. Simple dishes offering a perfect balance of flavor. Will one of you please invite me over for a cocktail and one of these smart, uncomplicated dishes? Or just a cocktail?

          On that note, we are going over to a friends house tonight to visit around their fire pit (how civilized)! I am supposed to bring a salad and a starter. I am bringing a radish and arugula salad from A Girl and Her Pig (a favorite recipe), and a cherry tomato mozzarella spin on the caprese salad, this one served in cocktail glasses or maybe something featuring sugar snap peas? Some inspiration please!

          20 Replies
          1. re: dkennedy

            I looked into Cindy's Big Small Plates for something on a stick for you instead of salad-like starter and it opened on eggs with tapenade (p.33) which looks great. So does a bowl of chile-garlic peanuts. Lamb chops are to die for but not last minute while chicken "satay" on p. 90 needs only a couple of hours to marinade.

            Is this helpful or confusing? Hope, the former :)

            1. re: herby

              Thanks for the suggestions herby. My friends aren't much into meat so I am going to play it safe and stick to the veggies. But those lamb chops sound wonderful. Will have to check it out next week when I am back home.

            2. re: dkennedy

              I'd recommend Diana Henry's new book, A Change of Appetite, as a starting point. It's arranged by season and is full of fresh, simple dishes perfect for summer. I've only made a few thus far, and they've all been great. I've cooked the most from Pure Simple Cooking (which is also the one with the most reports on the cooking-from thread), and I'd also recommend that one for its solid array of excellent dishes. As a bonus, it's a slim paperback which is easy to get into, and doesn't cost a lot or (crucially) take up much shelf space. The other DH book I have is Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons, which is similarly sized and also full of appealing recipes; those I've made have been very successful.

              1. re: dkennedy

                Can you link to the DH article you read? I don't have any of her books and would love to get a feel.

                On the other hand, now you've got me interested in One Good Dish; I love your description! I'm not voting this month, as I don't have any of these books, but I'm investigating...

                1. re: L.Nightshade

                  I think it was on her website. It was about her divorce and how it was linked to her cookbook obsession. I'll try to find the exact page later. For now:


                  1. re: L.Nightshade

                    LN, I didn't respond to your post re One Good Dish. I bought this book on a lark. I had an order from TGC that wasn't fulfilled and ended up with a credit. The only book that looked remotely interesting at that time was OGD so I bought it. I have to say, I am a big fan of the books put out by the disciples of Alice Waters. Not always for the recipes, but for their tone and sheer readability. I wonder if it is her nurturing nature or a knack for spotting talent? In any case, this book reads a lot like David Leibovitz' and Tamar Adler's, to me anyway. The recipes, for the most part, are simple. Recipes that allow the freshness of the ingredients to shine. Not always what I am looking for when I go to cook, but very much so when I am looking for inspiration.

                    1. re: dkennedy

                      Thanks dk! You've really made One Good Dish sound appealing, I've requested it from the library for a look. Even books that don't win garner the COTM title are populating my shelves because of these discussions! And I agree about Alice Waters. I suspect it's both her nature and her ability to spot talent that has resulted in so many wonderful chefs and writers coming forth.

                  2. re: dkennedy

                    Two days ago I made Radically Simple's Sugar snaps with diced bacon and radishes... but eliminated the bacon and it was great. I added chopped cucumber. It's on page 273 if you have time to take a look. I haven't reported on it yet. Sorry.

                    1. re: Gio

                      I don't have time to look right now. Thanks for all the suggestions, I have decided to serve the snap peas raw, along with cherry tomatoes from my garden with a fresh dip made out of goat cheese, olive oil and fresh garlic. I think that will make a nice little snack out poolside.

                    2. re: dkennedy

                      Here is a list of her online recipes from Eat Your Books. There are quite a few...

                      1. re: dkennedy

                        My library copy of One Good Dish came in and since I had a couple of friends over for dinner last night decided to make a bunch of salads from the book. I chose: Cucumber Spears with Dill, Moroccan Carrots, Radishes a la Crème and Potato Salad with peppers and Olives. One friend loved them all, another chose Moroccan Carrots as her favourite and I liked all but potato salad. I think the potato salad is not recipe fault but I subbed half sweet potato and it just didn't go well with anchovies and other flavourings. What was I thinking?!! The cucumber salad is similar to a Danish recipe I have but the radishes and the carrots were great and will be repeated.

                        Anyone else is interested in cooking from this book?

                          1. re: Goblin

                            Shall we start a "cooking from.. " thread?

                            1. re: herby

                              I would join it--just bought my own copy of the book. The recipes look very good, and I like how he encourages creativity in mix- and-matching them into a menu.

                              1. re: Goblin

                                OK, I'll set up a thread tomorrow. Have company tonight - busy cooking, cleaning and such.

                                Where and when are you planning to start with the book?

                                1. re: herby

                                  Hi Herby

                                  I've got a dinner party in Tuesday and with drinks I'm going to try the "Few Ways with Salted Nuts" on p. 44-5 (skipping the Chinese Boiled Peanuts for now.) The Olive Relish on p. 107 looks good. As a side for the main course I'm going to serve the Slow-Roasted Tomatoes on p. 166. The espresso-hazlenut bark on p. 208 will be my dessert. Haven't decided on a main course, but probably a simple fish dish. The long-cooked kale on p. 159 will definitely be made--I have yards and yards of lacinato kale in my garden ('maters too.)
                                  What I notice about this book is that it is more the side dishes/hors d'oeuvres/sweets that are so inspirational.

                                  1. re: Goblin

                                    Completely agree about sides and starters! I would love to hear about the dishes you've chosen to make. I'll get the thread up tomorrow and will report on the dishes that I made.

                                    Just finished cleaning up after my guests left. I made gravlax of wild sockeye salmon for a starter and served it on walnut-rye bread - they gobbled it up :) Have dinner on Wednesday, maybe will make something from the book for it

                      2. I have taken out from the library both David Tanis books-
                        I have found many recipes in both to try

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: jpr54_1

                          This is a month with a plentitude of riches! Very hard to choose between Tanis and Henry-Month as our COTM for August. I am voting for Tanis because his book has supremely passed the "flick test," a phrase of Diana Henry's which signifies the way one flicks through a cookbook at the bookstore--or on EYB--and sees how many recipes virtually ask to be made. If few or none, the book hasn't passed the flick test and goes back on the bookstore or library shelves. One Good Dish: The Pleasures of a Simple Meal sailed through with flying colors. And speaking of which, the photographs are extremely inviting, too.

                          DKennedy has summed up the appeal of One Good Dish in her post above.


                        2. Question fellow shoppers, I have been trying to find the link to a thread started by one of you COTMers, but I can't remember who it was or what it was called. It focused mainly on acquiring a cookbook focused on easily put together weeknight fare. I think it was for a mother with young kids. Does this sound familiar to any of you? If so, can you post the link here....maybe by Dairy Queen or LLM or L.Nightshade? I am specifically trying to find out what people had to say about Fresh Food Fast...so if you have any input that as well, please share your thoughts. Thanks for your help!

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: dkennedy

                            DK, are you thinking of TDQ's Cooking from “Family” Focused Cookbooks thread? If so, it's here: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/903234

                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                              Yes, this is the thread. Thank you Caitlin and thank you L.Nightshade for your help. Will report back if I learn anything re Fresh Fast Food.

                            2. re: dkennedy

                              I'd be interested to hear what people have to say about this book too. Will check the thread to see if it made it onto it somehow without me taking notice. Thanks Caitlin for the link.

                              1. re: dkennedy

                                It wasn't me, but made me think of this TDQ thread about quick and easy recipes from COTM books. Or maybe the thread you're thinking of wasn't about COTM books though, more about acquiring new cookbooks?

                                1. re: dkennedy

                                  Did you find what you needed re: "Fresh Food Fast", dk? Do you mean the Berley book? Or Martha Stewart Living's "Everyday Food: Great Food Fast"? Both books have been recommended often here on Home Cooking, though not in my threads, I think.


                                  1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                    Ha! And I looked it up and found a Legasse book on amazon, which is the one I thought she meant. The book seems to have disappeared this morning.

                                2. This is going to be a hard month for those of us who don't already own a Diana Henry book. I have no idea what I would order from the library or from amazon. She has so many books to choose from!

                                  7 Replies
                                  1. re: smtucker

                                    I suggested, when dkennedy asked upthread, that her new book, A Change of Appetite, and Pure Simple Cooking, are good places to start. In the nomination thread, greedygirl thought those two, plus Plenty (or Food from Plenty, as it's known in the UK) would be best bets for COTM, and I'd agree, based on the recipes and their probably being the most library available. I don't have Plenty, but have looked through it, and like ACOA, it's arranged seasonally, so easy to pick out summer-appropriate recipes.

                                    1. re: smtucker

                                      Caitlin's advise is excellent as always, additionally, Diana Henry has many recipes on line that are easy to find.

                                      1. re: smtucker

                                        She also has a column in a national newspaper, the Daily Telegraph, and a blog, so there are lots of recipes online.

                                        1. re: greedygirl

                                          I emailed Diana Henry a question about one of her recipes and she wrote me back! So awesome

                                          1. re: Siegal

                                            I'm really surprised at how accessible some of the cookbook authors who we old in high esteem are very willing to share information on line. I've seen it here and on Face Book. It's awfully generous of them, considering their busy lives, I think.

                                            1. re: Siegal

                                              She's tweeted back to me and I can't tell you how thrilled I've been. She seems smart, funny, kind and is great at writing recipes.

                                          2. Hello all

                                            I've never participated in a COTM where we did more than one book. Given that it looks like Ms. Henry is in the lead I am wondering if any of our old hands have ideas as to how to organize the threads. I will be away from the 1st through the 10th and might have limited access to the site. So I don't want to set it up incorrectly and then leave you all in the lurch.

                                            since there are so many books I thought I might take the top 5 most commonly owned (as per EYB) and then make a thread for each book. The other option might be to go through a smaller list of books and try and pair chapters together from each book, which may be difficult for me because I have none of the books.


                                            15 Replies
                                            1. re: delys77

                                              We have had multiple cookbooks by one author in the past and IIRC all you need to do is set a Chapter heading and it's up to the responders to state the recipe title/page #/book title on which s/he is reporting.

                                              For instance, a sample: Sauces/Relishes (if such exist in a book or two), Appetizers, Salads, and so on through a typical menu.

                                              Also, may I just encourage reporters to scan the thread to see if the recipe one has made has been reported on previously. Doing this keeps all the reports of a recipe in one place so folks can read and plan logically and know they have read all reports in one place.

                                              1. re: delys77

                                                While I agree with Gio that that structure has worked well in past cases, for a potential Diana Henry month, I think it would make more sense to go with a book/thread scheme. The trouble with doing chapter/thread divisions is that her books are arranged in a bunch of different ways (e.g., some by season, some by ingredient, some by dish type) and that would leave us individually sorting categories in ad hoc ways that could easily lead to overlapping or scattered reports on various threads.

                                                I'll go out on a limb and suggest that a Diana Henry month could be practically limited to four threads, one each for Pure Simple Cooking, A Change of Appetite, and Plenty, and a catchall for the remaining books. It just doesn't seem as if that many people own or are as interested in, or libraries carry, her other books, so they'd likely garner fewer reports.

                                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                  That makes much more sense than what I was trying to sort out Caitlin. I wanted Delys to get a sense of what went before.

                                                  1. re: Gio

                                                    Both very helpful, thank you very much. I am leaning towards the one thread per book approach since it will keep things simple and clean.

                                                    1. re: delys77

                                                      If we end up doing DH month, might we want to include online recipes? There are many, some from her books, others from her newspaper, etc. columns. EYB has links to 205: http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/r...

                                                      1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                        Could do. I wonder if it would create issues if online recipes were also in any of her books, we might end up with reviews in several places, no?

                                                        1. re: delys77

                                                          Possibly so, but it's also probable online recipes ID mention which book they're from, if they're from a book. It seemed to me that because we're voting on an author month, vs. particular books, including online sources might be apropos (and would also increase accessibility for those who don't have easy access to her books).

                                                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                            Wise assessment. Definitely worth giving it a go I think.

                                                  2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                    Why not set up threads for each of her books? If by the end of the months some thread are empty or almost, mods could combine those in one catchall. I say this because the only one of her books that I have access to is Roast Figs Sugar Snow. It is not very popular but looking through it last night, I found a few interesting recipes that I won't mind making and if someone else will be cooking from the book it would be great to have a thread to refer to and not search through catchall.

                                                    Having said that, I just found Tanis book for $8.50 and going to get it just because DK said it is worth a good look :) So, voting for Tanis.

                                                    1. re: herby

                                                      Just to clarify, it's not possible for us combine or merge posts from more than one thread; our software doesn't have that functionality.

                                                    2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                      That's how I'd do it too. :-)

                                                      Eta - what Caitlin suggested.

                                                    3. re: delys77

                                                      I have no suggestions, but just wanted to let you know that I sympathize with this dilemma. Very hard to create threads this way.

                                                      1. re: smtucker

                                                        Oh holy cow, I'm having nightmares about that Japanese month. That was a dog's breakfast to set up (and to look at!).

                                                        Seem to remember that Melissa Clark month we just went with a book per thread ... or did we do one for In the Kitchen with Good Appetite and then 4 (one per season) for Cook This Now? Either way, agree that the best way with DH would be by book.

                                                        1. re: LulusMom

                                                          Ha! Melissa Clark month was actually four threads for each book, too much!

                                                          Then in an adjoining month, we did two unrelated Spanish books. Those threads were divided by types of dish, with both books in each thread.

                                                          Both of these methods were a bit messy. One book per thread seems easiest for the coordinator, and ultimately easier for us to know right away where to post. Of course, then you can end up with long threads with all different types of foods included!

                                                      1. The Nominations Thread for September 2014 is up:


                                                        With the new site format, not sure how obvious this will be, so I am posting the link on several other COTM threads. If you think there is some spot I've missed, or a better way to get word out, please let me know.

                                                        1. Voting thread for the SEPTEMBER 2014 COTM is now up :http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/985935