August Cookbooks of the Month: “Planet Barbecue!” and “Raising the Salad Bar”

Each month Chowhounds choose a book to cook from collaboratively, then report on their experiences. It's a fun, interactive way to explore cookbooks and cuisines, and everyone's welcome to participate. Check out the Cookbook of the Month archive for all the details and links to past discussions.

In August, Chowhounds were cooking from two books: Planet Barbecue! by Steven Raichlen, with grilling recipes from 60 countries, and Raising the Salad Bar by Catherine Walthers, which covered a wide variety of salads.

Chowhounds found a lot to love in the diverse recipes in Planet Barbecue! Big hits on Raichlen's world tour included Middle Eastern recipes: kofta (ground lamb kebabs featuring an interesting mixture of herbs) and yogurt-marinated chicken and lamb kebabs (pictured), with a marinade that turned out to be delicious enough to eat with a spoon. Asian dishes like Japanese yakitori and coconut-basted corn are new hound favorites.

Romanian garlic steak was flavorful and robust, and Venetian shrimp and chicken with fiery Bolivian salsa got lots of props. And Planet Barbecue! is worth a look even if you don't own a grill, says blue room, who found that many of the recipes worked well in the broiler.

While many Chowhounds felt that Raising the Salad Bar doesn't break new ground, they thought the recipes were fresh, flavorful, and perfect for warm weather. Apart from standards like Greek and curried chicken salads, hounds admired the book's more unusual recipes, like a salad with roasted apricots, arugula, and Gorgonzola—a great mix of bitter, creamy, and sweet. A light, refreshing Japanese noodle salad was another favorite, along with a "deliciously piquant" Thai quinoa salad.

This month, Chowhounds travel to the toe of Italy's boot to explore My Calabria by Rosetta Costantino, Janet Fletcher, and Shelley Lindgren. Join the discussion!

Photo credits, clockwise from top left: Mayan pork chop by L.Nightshade; chicken saté by Allegra_K; yogurt-marinated lamb kebabs by GretchenS; lentil salad with maple-balsamic vinaigrette by blue room

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