Cook the Books! Around My French Table with Dorie Greenspan

The official start of  Cook the Books 2013 Cookbook Challenge has arrived!  What? You haven’t heard? My friend Briggs and I are hosting a year-long cookbook challenge covering a variety of cookbooks. It is going to be great! We have 12 fantastic cookbooks chosen to explore over the year and we’d love for you to join in!  (I’ll remind you how at the end of the post.)

With the abundance of cookbooks out there tempting us, it was really hard to narrow it down to just 12. Cookbooks are just so full of promise, aren’t they?  Knowing that we couldn’t cover everything we wanted to cover, we ultimately chose to include cookbooks that:

  • sounded interesting and fun to us
  • we thought would end up using often
  • would stretch our current cooking repertoires
  • represented many types of cooking and/or cuisine

This still left out at least 317 serious contender cookbooks. I mean really? I want them all. You should have seen or heard Briggs and I narrowing it down. There was library hold-shelf stalking. (Yes, this is a real thing. And Briggs and Brown are right next to each other on the hold shelf at the library we frequent.) Gchats. Fast flying emails. Trips to libraries and bookstores. Texts. Autocorrects. Finally, we narrowed to 12. Or, if truth be told, 10…as the last few are still under intense negotiations.

It seemed only right to include some classics. French food is classic. Or at least it is classic to western or global north cuisine. Yet, I didn’t want to take on anything over-the-top fancy or complicated. My apologies to Julia, but I am kinda afraid of something that invokes Mastering the technique-heavy French cooking.  My attention to detail leans more to the haphazard side and I tend to be a bit willy-nilly in the kitchen. There is a method to my madness, but it is more fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants than well-ingrained technique.

Cook the Books! January!

cook the books! grow and resist  cookbook challenge

So….first up? Around My French Table: More than 300 Recipes from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan. I really wanted Dorie’s book precisely because it is not a textbook of classic French cooking. She left academia to follow a passion in food. Throughout her years in Paris, she gathered and mastered recipes from merchants, vendors, restaurants, and friends. Around My French Table is French home-cooking and I love home-cooking of any kind.

Dorie’s books are known for being approachable and full of solid, reliable recipes. We are talking solid I-might-actually-make-this-more-than-once recipes. Readers and cooks adore her. There are online French Fridays with Dorie and Tuesdays with Dorie based on her books.

Around My French Table seemed a perfect foray into current everyday french cooking- a mix of classics, contemporary shortcuts, and the inclusion of international flavors. Beef Daube.  Cheese-topped onion soup. Lamb tagine. Chocolate (banana!) tarts. Oh friends, I am excited!

Not only does just about everything single thing look fantastic, but all the ingredients are readily available from any store! No obscure ingredients to order online or spend days searching for (Note: I would not actually do this. Me? I just need things to work out. Cooking that causes unnecessary stress? Not going to happen at this point.) 

I hope you will join in and follow along! Briggs and I will be cooking and blogging throughout the month. It will all come together when we get together to make a kick-ass meal extravaganza for our partners. It is sure to be fantastic!

To play along email us a link to your post by Friday, January 25th, midnight PST and we’ll do a round-up on Wednesday, January 31st.

How Cook the Books works:

  • Get the cookbook and pick something to make. Blog about it. Think virtual cookbook club. Book and recipe review. Friends cooking from the same cookbook. We are interested in your stories about the cooking as much as we are your cooking. There is no month-to-month commitment. Hell, there is no commitment of any kind!
  • Last Friday of the month (usually):  We will alternate between the two of us giving an introduction to the new book.
  • During the 3rd week of the month sometime (likely Friday) you will post your entry for the month.  Be sure to send us a link to: so we don’t miss your entry! If you think you are going to participate, drop us a line or leave us a comment so we can make sure we have you in our reader. Don’t have a blog and want to play along? You can leave a comment on the round-up post!
  • Last Wednesday of the month (usually): We will post a round-up of participants.
  • The dates are subject to change, but we will let you know in advance about all dates and/or date changes.
  • We will give you a list of the four books at a time so that you have time to get the book.
  • More info here.


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33 Responses to Cook the Books! Around My French Table with Dorie Greenspan

  1. Yay! I’ve been meaning to dig more into Dorie’s book: the one thing I’ve cooked from it (cheddar-chive bread) was lovely. This will be just the kick in the pants I need.

  2. Pingback: Cook the Books! Around My French Table with Dorie Greenspan « oh, briggsy…

  3. Interestingly enough, there doesn’t seem to be any copies left at any libraries near me, but I just reserved a copy at Barnes and Noble, so looks like I’ll just buy it. I think my friend Flower is going to do this with me as well (and post through my blog). We’re looking forward to it!

  4. kitchengadgetgirl says:

    I started a cookbook dinner club last year and this was the first book we chose – wonderful selection! So many folks commented on how do-able her recipes are, easy to follow and her conversational prose is very welcoming. Have fun!

  5. Aimee G says:

    I just finished cooking my way through The Breakfast Book with some pals, but think I’m in for this too!

  6. Mamelukk says:

    What a lovely idea, I’m in 🙂 I just ordered the book on amazon (amazingly, they don’t have this book in any Norwegian libraries 😉 ) Looking forward to all the good food.

  7. Pingback: 12 Days of Xmas in ’12! Day 12! « oh, briggsy…

  8. Please put me on your list; I’d love to participate if time permits this year!

  9. Pingback: Top Five. Or Note to Self- It Seems You Like Tutorials | Grow & Resist

  10. Tengrain says:

    I’m in. I already made something from her book for NYE, and it was perfect.



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  12. Ellen says:

    I have cooked a few things from this last year and really liked them. You’re inspiring me to pull it out again! I’ve tried the asparagus soup and corn soup ( and Asparagus, Bacon and Soft-Boiled Egg Salad (

  13. Pingback: Cook the Books! Fancy French Burger, Potatoes, and Green Beans | Grow & Resist

  14. On my way to the library later this afternoon to grab this and give it a whirl! I’m in 🙂

  15. Yay! Can’t wait to check out Dorie’s book, have been meaning to for some time. Thanks for coming up with a fine challenge. Looking forward to participating as often as possible!

  16. Pingback: Cook the Books! Dorie Greenspan’s French Onion Soup! Cry Me a River! « oh, briggsy…

  17. 200birdies says:

    Great! Can’t wait. This is going to be fun. Count me in.

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