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Voting Thread: Cookbook of the Month September 2014

As usual there was a lively discussion of books that might be of interest for our next Cookbook of the Month (COTM) selection, with several titles receiving multiple nominations. But the two that by far garnered the most attention, and the most capitalized nods, were:

"AVEC ERIC" by Eric Ripert. For a sense of Mr. Ripert's background here's a link to his bio: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/... And for a sense of the recipes in the book, here's what EYB (great idea Delys!) lists as available on-line: http://www.eatyourbooks.com/library/r... And finally, for those who'd like to watch the TV program that this book was written to accompany here's a link: http://www.aveceric.com/category/epis...

"NEW FOOD OF LIFE" by Najmieh Batmanglij. For a sense of Ms. Batmanglij's background, here's a link to her bio: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/... And for some of her recipes: http://www.mage.com/cooking/NFLREC.html and http://www.najmiehskitchen.com/nk_new... (note: not all of these in the second link are from the nominated book) And for a sense of Ms. Batmanglij in the kitchen, here she is giving a demo on two techniques: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYGDs...

To make your selection please click on the delightful blue heart in the post below which names your preferred book.

Voting will close at 8 PM Eastern time on 20 August 2014.

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    1. re: qianning

      Do we have to click the heart? I had a personal heart-boycott going! :-)
      Yes, I am being silly.

      1. re: smtucker

        Lol I know many others were quite annoyed with the heart. That said, I still think it makes the voting very easy.

        1. re: smtucker

          I feel your pain! Wish I could figure out a way around the, of all colors, blue heart; but alas not unless we go back to the old, old system (CAP'S), which was after all a tad cumbersome.

          1. re: smtucker

            Yes, you have to click the tiny pale blue pair of curved lines. One faces east one faces west enclosing your important vote!

            1. re: blue room

              Ah right! Not a heart at all, just slightly distorted parentheses!

          2. re: qianning

            and now it is a square. There are squares EVERYWHERE reducing their meaning to nothing!

            1. re: smtucker

              Square? I still have the deformed circle.

              1. re: Gio

                Take a look. They are EVERYWHERE. If you want more screenshots let me know.

                They are now missing from my lists. Someone is "playing" with code as we speak.

                 
                 
                 
                1. re: smtucker

                  Weird, looks as if little squares are replacing all the buttons on your CH page. Everything appears as status quo for me - hearts, photo icon in the upload field, 'x' to delete, etc. - all the places you've got squares. So many variables (OS, browser, extensions, versions, etc.) seem to affect appearance and functionality on CH, especially in the midst of all these ongoing tweaks.

                  1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                    Yeah, I don't have any of those squares or other bugs either. Really weird.

                    1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                      Wish I knew what I did so all of you could share.

                      1. re: smtucker

                        And here I thought You were the expert... LOL I'd love to see a bunch of squares. Guess I'm just too square for squares.

                        1. re: Gio

                          Me square too, I never understood whether hip or hep was the correct word..

                          I don't mind the heart, but if it morphs I won't care either. I am glad we are able to agree/recommend/appreciate a post without moving it back up to the top.

                          1. re: blue room

                            Honey it's Hip. Hep is square. Man.

                                1. re: smtucker

                                  !!! Do you know I got in a wee bit of trouble just this week for using that word to describe a local school to another mom?? Eeek. I didn't mean any harm, promise!

              1. re: qianning

                FoL has been on my lust list for a long time; I was hoping the price will go down as new editions came out but no such luck. Finally, this COTM pushed me to bite the bullet and buy the book, win or not! And today we were united :) What I bought was "used, very good" and what I got is brand new (as far as I can tell), with a satin ribbon to mark pages, 25th edition (printed in Korean of all places!)and wrapped in a cotton shopping bag with the book name printed on (so cute).

                The book is heavy that I usually do not like but the paper is silky, the photos are magnificent and the recipes seem very enticing - love at the first flip:)

                It is not just a recipe book; there are stories, and a chapter about Persian ceremonies, another on preserves and pickles, very interesting breads and kebabs, no pork but lots of poetry!

                I have a friend over for dinner next Friday and plan to make a meal out of this book - will post the results if I end up cooking from it (most likely).

                1. re: herby

                  Awesome! I suggest the rice with fava beans.

                  1. re: herby

                    herby, you make me want to get the new edition! can you post a photo of the tote bag? And I agree with Siegal, the Sabzi Polo is awesome.

                    1. re: pistachio peas

                      I dont think the new edition is nearly as beautiful, though

                      1. re: jen kalb

                        Can't imagine any edition to be more beautiful.. the photos of ceremonies, food, and art - breathtaking!

                  2. re: qianning

                    I like to see this finally win, I've had the cookbook for years and could use an excuse to use it.

                    If it doesn't win again, I vote for a cooking from thread.

                  3. Nice job qianning! I'm taking a place here to watch. On the fence: I've got New Food of Life, but I also have heavy time constraints, which concerns me still. Don't have Avec Eric, neither does my library, but I might splurge...

                    1. Voting thread time, already? I completely missed the nomination thread which is my favorite and my most expensive part of COTM. I don't own either of these books, nor do I have any interest in buying them so I will sit by the sidelines and watch this month.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: dkennedy

                        Just think - missing the thread may have saved you time and book shelf space. Silver lining.

                      2. When I look at "Food of Life" on Amazon I see an earlier (2009) edition mentioned -- why isn't that for sale anywhere?

                        26 Replies
                        1. re: blue room

                          Now that you mention it, why does amazon drop the NEW from the title? Is this the book here?

                          http://www.amazon.com/Food-Life-Ancie...

                          1. re: smtucker

                            Trying to figure this out too -- if it wins I want to participate. Have to admit that the price puts me off.
                            I know I'll spend big on unfamiliar ingredients too.

                          2. re: blue room

                            The original title was "New Food of Life." "Food of Life" is the more recent edition. There are some copies of the older edition around, many of them at surprisingly high prices.

                            http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/new-f...

                            1. re: JoanN

                              Confusing when it didn't need to be, I think. So $7.00 copies and $45 copies will have many of the same recipes, on different page numbers of course. Fewer pictures and less background material in the old one. ? what to do ?
                              (wondering to myself.)

                              1. re: blue room

                                Did you check your local library?

                                eta: I just checked mine - no go.

                                  1. re: blue room

                                    I kind of like to buy the COTMs anyway, always have.

                              2. re: JoanN

                                I've been wondering when someone was going to bring this up.

                                FWIW, all of the nominations were for "New Food of Life".

                                It seems that the book has been published & up-dated several times, starting back in 1986 as "Food of Life", then re-issued in 1992 or 93 as "New Food of Life" and then re-issued in 2009 as "New Food of Life", and most recently in a 25th anniversary edition as "Food of Life". Here's the publisher's synopsis on the book's history: http://www.mage.com/cooking/food-of-l...

                                1. re: qianning

                                  Ah, thank you so much !
                                  This section seems to list what is new:

                                  The full-color Food of Life 25th Anniversary Edition contains 50% more pages than its 2009 predecessor and special added features:
                                  *New Recipes adapted from Sixteenth-Century Persian cookbooks
                                  *Added vegetarian section for most recipes
                                  *Comprehensive dictionary of all ingredients
                                  *A glance at a few thousand years of the history of Persian Cooking
                                  *Master recipes with photos illustrating the steps.
                                  *Color photos of most recipes with tips on presentation
                                  *Updated section on Persian stores and Internet suppliers
                                  *Fahrenheit and Centigrade temperatures for all recipes
                                  *Choices for cooking recipes such as “kuku” in oven or on stovetop.
                                  *Encourages use of seasonal and local ingredients from farmers markets, Community Supported
                                  Agriculture (CSAs) sources or one’s own backyard

                                  Some of these features would be nice, but I don't feel I need all of them.
                                  So still undecided.

                                  1. re: blue room

                                    That's quite the revision. Perhaps a new book (with a different title instead of just putting the word "NEW!!" in front of the existing one) would have served better....

                                    1. re: Allegra_K

                                      The most recent does NOT have the word "new" in the title -- confusing -- and so it isn't the one we're voting on after all. At least I think that's what's going on.
                                      Maybe Eric knows..

                                      1. re: blue room

                                        This is hilarious. The discrepancy regarding these titles is one that ought to be written into the History of COTM, if anyone takes on that project.

                                        1. re: blue room

                                          Correct, my understanding is that we are voting on the 1992 edition & its 2009 re-print. But as far as I know the 2011 edition includes that material as well as some additional content, so at least in theory someone with that edition would be OK. Vaguely similar to folks who cook from e-versions of books, or US vs. UK versions.

                                          1. re: qianning

                                            Since I made the first nomination, I'll pipe in here. When I alluded to this discrepancy in my post, I did mean to nominate the 1992 edition (and 2009 re-print). I'm not sure about the 25th anniversary issue since I don't have it. Perhaps it includes some of the flagrant omissions of the earlier edition, such as Ash-e Reshteh, a winter staple and the center of the New Year meal.

                                            Part of all this weirdness (and, I think, the price) has to do with the publisher. She publishes with Mage, who don't specialize in cookbooks but rather in all things Iranian. Though I will say the photographs in NFOL are stunning. In the COTM Nomination discussion I mentioned Nesta Ramazani's book, but I actually take that back. I hadn't looked at it in years and forgot how weird it is. The book I WISH were more accessible in the US is Margaret Shaida's The Legendary Cuisine of Persia, originally published in the UK. It's basically as good as it gets in terms of Iranian cookbooks published in English. (As for titles in Persian, I think the best one is Honar-e Ashpazi). Anyway, I'm rambling. I still think New Food of Life is excellent for newcomers to Persian cuisine.

                                                1. re: jen kalb

                                                  Okay, I just want to let everyone know that I've made a few dishes (Tahchin-e Morgh & Loobia Polow) from Margaret Shaida's THE LEGENDARY CUISINE OF PERSIA in the past couple of weeks and I think that if COTM people want to do a Persian book in the future this would be a better pick than the Batmanglij. It's also cheaper, won an award in the UK (where it was published), and has an endorsement from Claudia Roden. It is wonderfully researched and simple to follow. Though I hate to use this word, the recipes are more "authentic" than those in NFOL, even though NFOL makes a major claim to authenticity but then has really strange additions to some recipes. I'm changing my mind on NFOL, though it is a gorgeous book. I also think that this book - Shaida's - would be a nice complement to The New Persian Kitchen.

                                                  1. re: pistachio peas

                                                    It appears that there are two editions.... 1994 which is a hardcover, and 2000 which is a softcover. Do you know if they are fundamentally the same book or did they make some changes for the paperback re-issue?

                                                    1. re: smtucker

                                                      I have the 2000 softcover (and it's been reprinted several times since then). There is nothing in the acknowledgements, foreword, or introduction about any changes made, so my guess is no! The jacket also says "this book won the Glenfiddich Food Book award in 1993" and doesn't say, "it's an update on" or anything like that.

                                                      1. re: pistachio peas

                                                        Another addition to ye-olde-Amazon-wish-list. _sigh_

                                                    2. re: pistachio peas

                                                      I'm quite excited to have found The Legendary Cuisine of Persia at a thrift shop today for $1.99! I love that there's so much info about the ingredients, the country etc and, long headnotes to accompany each recipe. Thanks so much for the recommendation for this book!

                                                      1. re: Breadcrumbs

                                                        Wow, what a score! Enjoy...it's a fantastic book.

                                        2. re: qianning

                                          Thanks for clarifying that, qianning. I was shooting my mouth off without doing the research. I finally found "Food for Life" through an inter-library loan. Wonder which edition will show up?

                                        3. re: JoanN

                                          Comparing my old copy of New Food of Life to the new not "New" FOL shows that it went from 250 to 330 recipes. Considering I've had mine for almost 10 years and still haven't cooked from it, I'm not buying the new not "New" anniversary edition. I'd have to use this one a lot first to warrant repurchasing.

                                        4. re: blue room

                                          RE-Libraries, I noticed when I was doing the research to put up the threads & placing holds at my library, searching under this author's name was more effective than by title.

                                          RE-Price, I also noticed that the prices on various used book sites vary a lot, depending, it seems, on the edition.

                                          1. re: qianning

                                            Thanks for the tip. About to take the little(ish) one up for bedtime ritual but I'll try that tomorrow. Maybe I'll have better luck that way.

                                        5. I gotta go with Ripert's book though it's odd cooking from a TV show when I admire him so very much and he has other books I might prefer. Can't find the Batmanglij book in my library system or via ecookbooks.com, and his other books are available. Did anyone check availability prior to narrowing to these 2 specific titles by the two persons?

                                          20 Replies
                                          1. re: NYchowcook

                                            I originally nominated (and pimped for) the Ripert because (1) I'd taken it out of the library, tried two recipes, and knew I wanted to own the book; (2) unlike the Le Bernardin cookbook, this is more than just fish and shellfish so I thought it might have wider appeal; and (3) also unlike the aforementioned LB, many of the recipes are appropriate for weekday meals. I didn't consider that it was from a TV show a negative; I was judging it solely on my experience with the book and the recipes.

                                            And, yes, many of us checked availability of the Batmanglij and noted in the nomination thread that it was expensive and not in many libraries, although I did eventually find and reserve a copy through interlibrary loan.

                                            1. re: JoanN

                                              okay, thanks Joan! Makes me feel better about Ripert (I've been waiting for the right occasion to splurge on dinner at his restaurant. We used to buy fish from the same monger in Maine, and I've long admired him. A lot. The B book is not in my entire library system, though 2 others of his are.
                                              I'm going to make a determined effort to re-join COTM in Sept, that is, if it's Ripert ;)

                                              where's that link to all of the COTM books? And what's this COTM project, anyway? (kidding, but I do need the link) TIA

                                              1. re: NYchowcook

                                                Here you go:

                                                http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

                                                I think that the COTM project was a side joke. To my knowledge, there is no such project underway.

                                                1. re: NYchowcook

                                                  Here is the link to all the COTMs: http://www.chow.com/cookbook_of_the_m...

                                                  I *love* Le Bernardin. I have that cookbook and would love to use it more often ... maybe an adjunct thread if Avec Eric wins? I say this, but as JoanN pointed out, it doesn't have tons of easily made weeknight dinners. Then again, school will be starting soon ...

                                              2. re: NYchowcook

                                                Sorry NYchow, I'd forgotten to put a link to this month's Nominations Thread in the OP above. Here's the link:
                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/985304

                                                As you can see many books were discussed, but the two that received the most nominations are the two now up for voting.

                                                Hope you do "re-join" the COTM project. And just so you know, nominations discussions/threads usually start around the beginning of the second week of the month prior, voting is usually during the third week.

                                                1. re: qianning

                                                  Just a tiny clarification, you don't need to actually "rejoin" or even join COTM --
                                                  just post within the COTM threads. Eight years worth of invaluable info so far.

                                                  1. re: blue room

                                                    thanks guys (er, gals). Old veteran here, here at formation (!) of COTM. 8 years, golly!

                                                    Whatever happened with the idea of a baking COTM? Anything like that? Thanks all. See you 'round!

                                                    1. re: NYchowcook

                                                      I feel like there was a baking COTM for a few months, maybe more, but that it just didn't seem to get as much traffic. I could be wrong about that - anyone who posted on it around to answer?

                                                      1. re: LulusMom

                                                        Someone valiantly tried to host a COTM which was actually COTEVM, or every other month. There just wasn't quite enough traffic to make it worth their while, I believe. If I recall correctly, the last book was for the holiday season in 2012.

                                                        1. re: smtucker

                                                          Thanks so much smtucker. I knew someone would remember! I enjoy baking - always nice to have a home baked sweet around for L and her friends, but it is always something fairly cozy/easy and not the kind of thing I think would have shown up in a baking COTM, so I never played along.

                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                            Aw, then it's a shame you didn't look into it, back in 2008 or so, when oakjoan instigated Dessert Cookbook of the Month(s), because as I recall the books I was familiar with had plenty of homey and simple offerings, not just fancier things. But as smtucker noted, ultimately there wasn't enough sustained interest for constant regeneration.

                                                            1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                              Oh man, that IS a shame. I just assumed it would be fancy stuff that was time consuming and possibly not something a kid would be that interested in (and I'm not a huge dessert person myself).

                                                      2. re: NYchowcook

                                                        Here ya go, NYCC...
                                                        Links To Non Cookbooks of the Month - 2nd Edition Feb. 2014
                                                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/9639...

                                                        Click on the first post then scroll to the last seven entries.

                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                          We should just ask you to do our research for us! Good job. [see how I didn't use a heart-shaped device?]

                                                          1. re: smtucker

                                                            I'm so proud of you. Remember, though, it's simply a couple of curved lines going in opposite directions. That's it... it's an abstract design.

                                                            BTW: I have the link bookmarked.

                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                            OMG!!! Thanks Gio. I'm floored. There are so many! (And I'm delayed in thanking you because I was sucked into reading about Flour cookbook.)
                                                            What a vast treasure trove of experience and knowledge 'hounds have created!

                                                            1. re: NYchowcook

                                                              Ah... NY CC.. Ya had ta be there. We cook a lot, don't we. And, not just ordinary everyday stuff, tho that's important too, but interesting/ethnic/ gourmet/elevated food to bring us out of our mundane work-a-day reality. A table, a chair, a candle, a glass of wine. Dinner is served..

                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                Seriously! When I say to other moms that I need to be home at a certain time to get dinner on the table at a certain time they really don't have any idea of what I'm talking about. .... Until they go out to dinner with us and Lulu is asking if the bahn mi comes with fish sauce, etc.

                                                              2. re: NYchowcook

                                                                Flour is an excellent book. I hardly ever make anything with flour and butter, but when I do, this is the first book I reach for. Everything I have made from this book has been worth every single calorie.

                                                    2. just curious-will you be allowing the authors of these to participate as per the new chow hound guidelines?

                                                      34 Replies
                                                      1. re: jpr54_1

                                                        Authors of COTM books have participated in the past, although the tightrope they had to walk in order to do so frustrated many of them that they tended not to hang around for very long. And in at least one instance, authors of two books were invited to join a conversation about their books, albeit on a separate thread. I'm guessing, and hoping, that the new guidelines will make it easier for those authors who choose to participate. It's usually a lot of fun when they do and hasn't, at least in the past, inhibited reviewers from saying just what they thought about a recipe.

                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                          I now have mixed feelings about authors participating. Previously I thought it was fine, but two instances have soured me. One was the instance of packing the ballot box, which is, of course, different from participating. The other was finding out that an author who participated a bit on the thread, slammed the COTMers for getting the book from the library, or using online recipes, instead of buying the book. This was done on her facebook page, not on CH, so no one here had a chance to respond to her criticism. Very short-sighted and narrow-minded, I thought.

                                                          1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                            While what you say is true, I saw for myself, when we get authors like Grace Young, Virginia Willis , Martha Hall Foose, and Andrea Nguyen to name just a few of the good ones there can be a real informative discourse.

                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                              You're right, of course. And it doesn't make sense to dismiss those positive contributions because of a couple bad actors.

                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                I've only participated in a few COTMs where the author was involved, in the first case it was Raghavan Iyer, and in the second it was Andrea Nguyen. In both cases I thought it was super helpful. Mind you, I loved both of those COTM months, had it been a book I enjoyed less then I might have been a bit reticent to post if the author was participating. Mind you, I probably would still post, I'd just be very careful of my wording.

                                                              2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                I missed that set of posts, but I do remember Bittman thinking we were too harsh. Didn't change my posting, just my opinion of him.

                                                                I refuse to be cowed by an authors presence, and revel in learning more about the intent of a book. Gio has mentioned some of the successful author contributors below. When well done, it is exciting to be cooking and discussing food with the people who were passionate enough about it to write a book. And it generates amazing loyalty from their readers as well.

                                                                1. re: smtucker

                                                                  I agree. Bittman was/is an arrogant ass IMHO. I have less regard for him since.

                                                                  1. re: smtucker

                                                                    The Chowhound Jim Leff said it best for me in a post on the "Site Talk" board --

                                                                    "People talk differently when the people they're speaking about are standing right next to them."

                                                                  2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                    Oh. :( I hadn't heard of a COTM author bashing us on her Facebook page. Who was that?

                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                        Disappointing, but I'm glad to see that you and a couple other CHs replied to counter her shortsighted attitude.

                                                                        1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                                                          Ah, Caitlin, so much more gracious and diplomatic than I was about to be towards Ms. Duguid. :) But, I shall follow your lead and temper my reply accordingly.

                                                                          Sadly, though I was very interested and thought the book sounded phenomenal, Burma was one of those months I didn't even try to cook because I just knew I wouldn't be up for it.

                                                                          Therefore, I had no idea Ms. Duguid had participated that month. What a disappointment to find out she was talking trash behind our backs, rather than having the courage to post her concerns on Chowhound. Frankly, if it was an issue she was concerned about-- the point she made about seeing the book in its entirety, etc.-- she missed a golden opportunity to engage and educate the community.

                                                                          I just now re-read the Burma master thread and it's so tame in its discussion of "online" recipes compared to many. I suppose there could have been a lot more discussion in the other threads?

                                                                          Also, it looks like the replies to that Facebook post of hers were deleted because the first reply, from Maria begins, "PLUS [emphasis mine], you're only garnering a greater audience for your books, for the cuisine, for the culture" as if there had been a previous reply to Ms. Duguid's post, perhaps in support of us Chowhounds.

                                                                          It's true, though, that there is something to be said for seeing a book in its entirety, something that many of us with groaning bookshelves know and struggle with when we make our purchasing decisions. We all understand that the best cookbooks are more than a mere collection of recipes.

                                                                          Also, (although this isn't a point Ms. Duguid makes) I do believe that it's important to support writers (and musicians and artists of any kind) by buying their work product, especially first time authors. Writing a book is a major endeavor, and getting it published is an even greater ordeal. If there's a COTM where the author is newer (and not a celebrity chef), I make a point of buying the book new. if we want to see cookbooks continue to be published, we need to support the industry. But, face it, there's no one propping up the cookbook industry more than us COTM'ers! And there's no reason why everyone has to own every book. We are most certainly entitled to choose.

                                                                          For a long time, I followed Ms. Duguid's blog. I eventually stopped because I found her somewhat unlikeable. This episode sadly cements my opinion of her. I shall continue to enjoy her books (it looks like she's working on a Persian one right now), but I think I'm just going to keep my distance from Naomi Duguid the person.

                                                                          ETA: I actually found Amanda Hesser to be pretty snippy during the ENYTC month, too, though at least she had the courage to say what she was thinking to our (virtual) faces, which I respect.

                                                                          ~TDQ

                                                                          1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                            I didn't find Ms. Duguid's comments that offensive. It wasn't that she was upset about people not buying the book - she even said she would be happy if people got if from the library. Her concern is that when people look at individual recipes online, rather than the book as a whole, the recipes lack context. I think that's a valid concern, especially for a cuisine that is not very well-known in the US. Context is really important, and it is unfortunate that most Web sites that publish recipes from books do not include all the relevant information that the book might contain to explain the recipe. Sub-recipes, ingredient descriptions and sources, further explanations about cooking techniques and equipment, information about how meals are structured and creating menus...

                                                                            I think there are some books where the recipes lend them themselves more easily to having individual recipes plucked out and published as stand-alones, but not her Burma book. I also cannot imagine trying to cook from "Pok Pok" and having success without looking at the whole book.

                                                                            The ideal solution would have been for her to hang out on our cooking threads and provide the context where it was missing. Something Grace Young and Andrea Nguyen did very well.

                                                                            1. re: MelMM

                                                                              My point wasn't that her concern wasn't valid, is that she took the cowardly approach and only discussed her concerns on her Facebook page instead posting about them on Chowhound and engaging and educating the community.

                                                                              So, I agree with you. She should have hung around and participated in the discussion, to provide context, but also to help guide us in understanding why perhaps the whole book would provide the context she's having to fill in for us.

                                                                              She could have handled it better than she did.

                                                                              ~TDQ

                                                                            2. re: The Dairy Queen

                                                                              I'm sure the Burma book is great - I trust the COTM community. But these posts got me to look into Duguid a little bit (I didn't know much about her other work) and I do find something kind of strange about being a "globe-trotting" cookbook writer. How can anyone purport mastery of so many different cuisines in such a short time? I mean, two years to research Iran, Iraq, Armenia, Georgia for her next book? That's a lot to jam in. I'm much more drawn to people like Fuschia Dunlop who go deep into one culture. (And that's also more advisable when one is an outsider. Pick one thing.) Just my grumpy two cents.

                                                                              1. re: pistachio peas

                                                                                Completely agree with you and it's what's always bothered me about all the Duguid/Alford books. Gorgeous travelogues, and definitely some good recipes. But they always struck me as a little too "Travel and Leisure" and I tend to regard some of the text, fairly or not, cum grano salis.

                                                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                                                  I have also had the same feelings about their books (even though I own several), but Burma was her first book without Alford, and it seemed different to me. Less travelogue and more straight-out cookbook.

                                                                                  1. re: MelMM

                                                                                    I too, thought Burma seemed a little different (in a good way) from the others. Less unwieldy (= more wieldy?), for one. I know not all of their books where giant coffee table books, but many were. I was glad Burma wasn't cut from the same cloth, so to speak.

                                                                                    ~TDQ

                                                                          2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                            A big Yay! to those of you who stood up for the COTMers.

                                                                        2. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                          I must admit that Ms. Duguid's comments perplexed me. I would assume that she and the publisher would have discussed what recipes could be published online?

                                                                          Is it the case that she had no control over what went up online and that now she takes issue with the fact that people are using her work without getting the full picture. If so I suppose her point is defensible, but if she participated in the selection of recipes posted, or if she surrendered control over this to the publisher, then I don't see that her comment is fair or reasonable. Forgive me my ignorance if I've missed the point.

                                                                        3. re: JoanN

                                                                          I *do* feel inhibited to type "this didn't work" or even "meh" while the author is standing over my shoulder. I would either fall all over myself trying to word posts carefully or just not post.

                                                                          If I were the author of a cookbook up for scrutiny I'd be silent or incognito to keep the discussions real. (Whether it's gushing or griping!) The authors usually have their own websites/blogs--it's the best place to be themselves.

                                                                          1. re: blue room

                                                                            In the context of the new guidelines for invited professionals in the food industry including cookbook authors they would be on a different board rather than hanging over your shoulder at the review board. They would be available to answer question about a recipe or book and be able to talk about the cookbook in question. They'd probably be reading our reports but that's to be expected.

                                                                            1. re: Gio

                                                                              Wait-- what? Do you mean the COTM authors will not be posting on the Home Cooking board?

                                                                              1. re: blue room

                                                                                If I understand it correctly, which is always up for debate... Here's the latest: Andrea Nguyen on the Home Cooking board but a separate photo story:
                                                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/985635

                                                                              2. re: Gio

                                                                                This isn't my understanding at all. I think professionals are now welcome to jump in and join the conversation, wherever and whenever, as long as they follow the rules, including disclosure guidelines.

                                                                                ~TDQ

                                                                              3. re: blue room

                                                                                After 40 years as a book editor, I feel perfectly comfortable telling an author when something doesn't work. :-) If they're smart, they'll learn from it. And if they can't stand the heat, well . . . you know.

                                                                            2. re: jpr54_1

                                                                              there is a place now on Home Cooking to place opinions on authors participating.

                                                                              1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                jpr54, could you please tell me the link where this discussion (on authors participating) is taking place? I can't seem to locate it in the multiplicity of threads on the Home Cooking Board. TIA.

                                                                                1. re: Goblin

                                                                                  plus 1 for using multiplicity in a sentence correctly!

                                                                                    1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                      I think those threads are pretty far removed from the question of authors participating on the COTM threads. They are about the newly acceptable posts by commercial entities. COTM has a history of some authors participating, that is not what is being currently addressed in the threads about the new policies.

                                                                                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                                                        ok- I understand-
                                                                                        my error

                                                                                        I am just now learning how boards operate-
                                                                                        since trying to voice my opinion on advertising-

                                                                                        I enjoy the COTM and try to paarticipate as much as possible.

                                                                                        I am a Senior Citizen and can't always buy a book-
                                                                                        I do try to buy on Amazon/Abebooks,etc. when I enjoy the cookbook.

                                                                                        AS an aside my son is a Lawyer and Head Reference Librarian. One of his responsibilities is too order non reference books. He frequently asks me about the cookbooks discussed on the board.

                                                                                        1. re: jpr54_1

                                                                                          Good for your son, jpr, for soliciting your advice when he orders cookbooks for his library collection! I am a retired reference librarian who was also responsible for ordering non-fiction books and I only WISH I had known about COTM when I was in the thick of it. I could have done such a much better job of building the cookbook collection!!

                                                                              2. Voting is now CLOSED.

                                                                                The announcement thread is up. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/986579

                                                                                1. I’ve been cooking from “Avec Eric” for a few weeks now (6 recipes so far, 2 of them more than once, and another on tap for tonight) and began thinking this morning about how best to set up the reporting threads. I don’t mean to usurp qianning’s leadership here, but I thought it might not be a bad idea to open the subject to discussion since I’ve had difficulty finding recipes I was looking for and have had to resort to the index to locate even those I’ve made several times.

                                                                                  The book is oddly organized with some chapter titles that give little to no indication of what that chapter contains: “Birth of a Dish,” “Artisanal,” “Craftsmanship,” etc. Reporting threads organized, as we usually do, by chapter title, will make it difficult not only to figure out where to post a review, but to find reviews once they’ve been posted. I’m wondering if it might not be preferable to have reporting threads organized by course and/or main ingredient such as “Fish and Shellfish,” Appetizers ,Cocktails, and Salads,” “Meat and Poultry.” That way, if we wanted to scan all reviews of fish and shellfish recipes, we could do so in one thread rather than have to scroll through a number of different threads. I’m not recommending these thread titles specifically, just tossing this out as a way of organizing the reporting threads to make them easier to navigate.

                                                                                  Any thoughts from those of you who have had a chance to look through the book?

                                                                                  18 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                    Very good point, Joan! I was leafing through the book last night trying to find appealing recipes and make sense of the book's organization. I came to a conclusion that it is organized by episodes of his TV show which I have not seen and so very well could be mistaken. I also do not like the font and so many pictures of the author... but never mind :)

                                                                                    Did you like the dishes that you've made? Could you recommend one or two?

                                                                                    1. re: herby

                                                                                      So far I’ve made the Bouillabaise, Deviled Eggs with Smoked Salmon, Fennel Pollen-Dusted Branzino, Ratatouille, Salmon Rillette, and White Wine-Citrus Spritzers. The Salmon Rillette were such a huge hit at the first dinner party, I made them again for a cocktail party a few nights later. The White Wine-Citrus Spritzers are already a staple; everyone has loved them; I’ve gone through about a bottle-and-a-half of Aperol in less than two weeks. My guests gobbled up the Deviled Eggs so quickly, I never even got to try them, so based my report on my tasting of the filling for seasoning. And the Ratatouille was the best I’ve ever had.

                                                                                      1. re: JoanN

                                                                                        Many thanks, Joan! The deviled eggs and salmon rillettes caught my eye last night but didn't hold enough attention. Looking at these recipes again, I am willing to give them a try; Bouillabaisse recipe is so long, I am afraid to go there :)Spritzer sounds amazing and have not even noticed it.

                                                                                        I never liked the stewey taste of usual ratatouille and last year discovered a roasted kind via River Cottage Veg - love it.

                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                          Hi Joan, I was wondering what made the ratatouille particularly wonderful? I took a peek at the recipe, seems the veg are diced small and then cooked very briefly ... quite different from the normal long-cooking methods.

                                                                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                            So many ratatouille recipes call for the vegetables to be stewed until they're pretty much falling apart. I liked that in this recipe the vegetables are cooked only until tender and they remain in chunks. Also, if you follow his timing for sautéing the onion, red and banana peppers, and garlic, those vegetables caramelize and add a lot of flavor to the dish. The shorter cooking time resulted in a dish with brighter colors and more vivid flavors than recipes I've tried before and I liked it tremendously.

                                                                                      2. re: JoanN

                                                                                        JoanN, I agree with you. I just reviewed the book and I'm sure that most of the time I am going to be relying on the index to choose my dinner menus rather than the chapter headings, which are not specific to the actual dishes included. Fun to browse, but not not organized by main ingredient or
                                                                                        course!

                                                                                        Anyway, not wanting to usurp leadership either, but I think utilizing some "classic" thread titles as you suggest would make reporting and reviewing easier.

                                                                                        1. re: JoanN

                                                                                          You know, I wondered the same thing while looking through the book. I get why he organized it that way, but it does make it more difficult to find things. I was just looking up a Melissa Clark recipe this morning and having a heck of a hard time, but this seems like it will be even more difficult - at least on qianning's part. I think JoanN's suggestion makes a lot of sense.

                                                                                          1. re: JoanN

                                                                                            Just picked up my library copy yesterday. Having watched the TV program a year or so ago, the book's organization makes sense, but if I hadn't seen the show, it wouldn't.

                                                                                            As for how to organize the threads, two options leap to mind. They are:

                                                                                            A) Split the threads by chapter, probably three chapters per thread, and put a list of the recipe names for the covered chapters in the Original Post for the thread.

                                                                                            As I see it the pros to this approach would be the threads will line up with the book for those who are using the print version, and which recipe goes where should be searchable even if no one has reviewed that particular recipe yet. Or put another way, it is clearer where to put a recipe when posting.

                                                                                            The downside is the organization isn't intuitive for those who don't have the book. So, where to look for a post on "duck breast" isn't obvious. And comparing across say "desserts" wouldn't be easy.

                                                                                            B) Split the threads by course, probably something pretty broad like; "Cocktails, Starters, Soups, Salads", "Entrees" (in the North American sense of the word), "Starches, Vegetables, Sauces", "Desserts".

                                                                                            As I see it the pros to this approach are that it is more intuitively similar to how many cookbooks are organized, and therefore more like the organization of most previous COTM threads. Or put another way, it should be easier to find a post on "duck breast".

                                                                                            The downside is that it isn't necessarily clear where to put a post. So, for example, where does a review of Bouillabaisse belong? Soup? Entree? Mignonette, is that a starter or a sauce?

                                                                                            Personally, either A) or B), are fine by me, & I'm also open to other options. If there is a clear consensus by the 1st, I'll go with it. Otherwise, I'll just toss a coin.

                                                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                                                              I haven't had a chance to see the book yet, but I like the sound of option 1. I just think it is easier when threads align with the book order, and if qianning is willing to type a recipe list, that should eliminate any confusion.

                                                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                                                I like A. I eat appetizers as entrees, I eat veggie sides as mains. I don't know how I would figure out B. But, as always, we will all adjust to the options that are presented.

                                                                                                1. re: qianning

                                                                                                  Your A is a good solution. It may be cumbersome, but it will be clear.

                                                                                                  1. re: JoanN

                                                                                                    It is a bit clunky, so definitely still open to other ideas.

                                                                                                  2. re: qianning

                                                                                                    I like A.
                                                                                                    smtucker's point is well taken, as is yours, about different dishes fitting into more than one category. Listing all the recipes sounds like a big job; EYB says there are 118 recipes. Maybe you could use some help? I'm not near the book right now, so don't know how many chapters it contains. I'd certainly do a couple/few chapters.

                                                                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                                                                      Fine with the A) option. As long as we are aware of what's going on, we can work with it. Thanks, qianning, for all your good work to help us 'hounds.
                                                                                                      PS: I will gladly help with typing recipe titles too.

                                                                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                                                                        "A" will work well for people with the book; those without will have hard time either/or. Count me in the "A" camp.

                                                                                                        ETA: Yes, I am happy to help typing too :)

                                                                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                                                                          Looking at the book, first 5 chapters --

                                                                                                          1 Big Flavor has 10 recipes

                                                                                                          2 Star Ingredients has 10 recipes

                                                                                                          3 Farming the Sea has 11 recipes

                                                                                                          4 Birth of a Dish has 10 recipes

                                                                                                          5 Teamwork has 9 recipes

                                                                                                          and so on... there are 12 recipe chapters altogether.
                                                                                                          This shows how it's set up. The recipes are sort of in order of cocktail-to-dessert for each chapter, so "A" seems a good choice. I'm happy to help too, just tell me what to do.

                                                                                                          1. re: qianning

                                                                                                            Thanks for the offers of help folks. If it comes down to "A" as the solution, I think I've figured out a cut and paste method that will minimize the typing. Will be putting the theory to test tonight, if it works I'm fine to get things up in the threads on the 1st; if not I may take you all up on the offers. Stay tuned!

                                                                                                            1. re: qianning

                                                                                                              Just let us/me know if you need help with the typing. I figure it would help me to get more familiar with the book! ;-)

                                                                                                        2. The nominations thread for October is up:
                                                                                                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/988610

                                                                                                          Have fun!