Welcome to voting for June 2022 COTM. Of the varied nominations, two emerged ahead of the pack, and we’ll choose between them: EDWARD LEE MONTH, including his books Smoke and Pickles and Buttermilk Graffiti, and BOTTOM OF THE POT: PERSIAN RECIPES AND STORIES by Naz Deravian. Below the book links at the end of this post, you’ll find a link to their indexes at Eat Your Books, showing the name and main ingredients of all its recipes, to give you a sense of the book.
To vote, use the fork-and-knife icon to like the post below that corresponds with your choice. If you change your mind within the edit menu, deselect (and change your vote if you want to) by clicking the same icon. Otherwise, indicate the change in a reply to this post. Please vote with the intention of cooking from your chosen book and posting about your experience here on HO, should it win.
Voting will close on TUESDAY, MAY 24 at 11 PM GMT/7 PM EDT/4 PM PDT.
AAAGH! This is hard. I have all the books. I loved cooking from Smoke & Pickles, and there are some recipes in there that have become my go-to. Caraway pickles and one of the kimchi recipes, to be specific. I got Bottom of the Pot just a couple months ago and haven’t cooked from it yet, but I would love to cook from it as a group. What to do? I’m holding off on voting while I mull it over.
Also… giving y’all a chance to campaign for either book. Convince me!
I’d also love to do both choices. I have Bottom of the Pot and haven’t cooked from it yet, and I got the 2 Lee books from the library (I love his writing! and his personality!). Smoke and Pickles is very meat heavy, but I love the vegetable, pickle, condiment, and seafood recipes and I’d like to try some of the recipes in the meat chapters omitting all or some of the meat.
I am interested in both books. I have Smoke and Pickles and enjoyed cooking from it when it was a chowhound COTM. I can easily get Bottom of the Pot from the library and just added myself to the reserve list.
I am not going to vote. Despite my best intentions to cook something from this month’s COTM, work has gotten in the way. Also, the dishes that looked most interesting to me were better suited for winter. I am not sure how much time I will have next month either, so don’t want to sway the vote.
For once, I own all three books, so I’d be fine going either way. I missed the original Smoke & Pickles COTM though and have been dying for an excuse to make all the bowls (the pork one was SO a good!), so that’s what I went with. Have only tried one recipe from Bottom of the Pot and it came out well, though I was less enthralled with the flavors (too much saffron for my taste maybe?) than I wanted to be.
You know, Edward Lee’s food, to me, screams summertime. Grilling, meats, pickling, that kind of stuff. And I actually think of Persian and Middle Eastern food as more autumn and winter-ish. I know it’s hot in these regions, but rice heavy dishes like biranyi- by whatever name they are called… we call them machbous here in Kuwait- and all those accompaniments just seem out of season to me.
I don’t have Bottom of the Pot, but I plan to get it. I went to undergrad in LA and love me some Iranian dishes. And Kuwait gets some killer Iranian saffron, which I plan to bring back to the US with me. But even if it wins, I won’t cook from it until later this year.
I have both Lee books and plan on making my summer fusion/American Asian yummilicious. I voted for them and will cook from them whether they win or lose. So, I might not be the best person to ask about how to vote on these two very divergent books which I think are killer in their own right.
I have a big library of Iranian cookbooks in multiple languages and Bottom of the Pot is one of my favourites. One of the best things about it is that she does a lot of regional cooking (from the north—so I am biased as that’s where I am from). And she keeps things traditional but also is attuned to ways to make the recipes a little updated. You can see this in a lot of the author’s recipes for the NYT, where for example, this month she has khoresht-e Rivas (rhubarb stew) made with butter beans or cannellini instead of lamb.
The whole seasonal question doesn’t apply, imho, because Iranian food is very seasonal and the entire meal (not just the khoresht and rice for example) is fleshed out with a variety of complementary dishes (ranging from citrus toppers to raw veg to various pickles, and more) that create balance and speak to seasonality. In northern Iran we eat a lot of fried fish, rice, pickles, and watermelon in summer. Comparable to Southern U.S. and other warm climates. But I get why it’s a question when we’re coming out of a very long winter in N America.
I’m drawn to Smoke and Pickles as well. I remember Tipsy Baker’s posts when she cooked out of it years ago. It seems very delicious, but would probably be too much work for me right now.
Thanks, PP, for your post. I purchased Bottom of the Pot on your recommendation (you were so kind to reply when I asked what you thought) back on CH when it first came out. I really want to cook from it; however, my purchase coincided with a very stressful time at home and I didn’t have a chance to pursue it or much other new cooking at the time.
We seem at a better place now at home and I hope to cook from Bottom of the Pot even if it isn’t voted as COTM.
I’m not voting since I can’t be sure to be able to contribute in June, even though I hope to whichever book wins.