Welcome to the voting thread for our July 2023 Cookbook of the Month. While several titles received nominations, the two that received the most both have the virtue of abundant online recipes, and we’ll choose between them for our collective cooking pleasure.
HOW TO VOTE: Click the knife-and-fork icon on the post below naming your choice. If you change your mind, you may click the icon again if you’re still within the time limit, or reply to this post and let me know. Please vote with the intention to cook one more more recipes and post about your experience should your choice win.
VOTING WILL CLOSE on SATURDAY, JUNE 24 at 11 PM GMT/7 PM EDT/4 PM PDT.
Recipe Tin Eats is new to me. SK, on the other hand, we just did a book, which was unimpressive, and we’ve done books (and I think the blog) in the past, going back to CH days. I know some people like SK, but I’m not one of them. I’ll take the unknown Recipe Tin over the known mediocrity of SK.
It could be her cookbooks. That’s where I think obtained exposure to the recipes. I think the first cookbook was okay. But the ones after? Not so much. I kinda feel this way about most cookbook authors, whether they are chefs or not. Their first book is the best and the ones that come after try to reach the former’s glory and fail. Ottolenghi is one I feel this way about. I love Jerusalem. But the ones which came after? Diminishing a bit each time. I just bought NOPI in the hopes it is different from his others and from Jerusalem enough to be as good. Fingers crossed. [The thing with Ottolenghi is that his mediocre books are better than most people’s “good” books, so it’s hard to discern the difference in his first iterations and those numerous ones which followed.] I kinda think people are trying to make money or whatever with the follow up books. Especially, if there isn’t a lot of time in between them.
In Ottolenghi’s case, Jerusalem was the third book (Ottolenghi and Plenty came first) . But I agree it is the best. I think the factor is having Sami Tamimi as a coauthor on Ottolenghi and Jerusalem, but not the others. I don’t know if you’ve cooked from Tamimi’s book, Falastin, but it is fantastic, as as good or better than Jerusalem.
The Smitten Kitchen blog has been going for a lot of years, and for a lot of that time, like a lot of food bloggers, she was mostly just publishing recipes from other sources, either simply paraphrased or lightly tweaked. I think it was some time before she started developing ,any of her own, and a lot of that is probably tied to her book contracts. She has a big fan base who mostly credit her with the recipes they find there, even if they originate with other sources. (I’m not suggesting that Deb Perelman doesn’t acknowledge the sources of the non-original recipes she publishes, or anything.)
This is how I came across the blog originally, and I liked the “here I’ll try it and mess up and tell you what not to do or how it worked better for me” element.
I clearly remember the first ever recipe I made: Thomas Keller’s (very tall) mushroom quiche. Her write-up had a pretty funny description of prior attempts and failures, but also a ringing endorsement of why it was a great recipe to attempt. I tried it, loved it, and it became a staple in my repertoire. I may never have come across or attempted the recipe if I hadn’t read her write-up of it – but of course I know it’s Thomas Keller’s recipe and not hers! (The same is true of the merguez and herby yogurt from Julia Turshen / Small Victories and vareniki from Kachka.)
Her own book recipes, on the other hand, haven’t been compelling to me for the most part, which is a pity. But I’d love to explore the blog more for other gems (whether this month or another).