Giada at Home is definitely a keeper.
I told Matt to select the next book I cook from, since he's been a good sport with this whole endeavor. He picked the mammoth The Best International Recipe from the America's Test Kitchen/Cook's Illustrated people.
I feel a glimmer of hope in that the one and only time we cooked from this book--and by we, I mean Matt--he made a German feast of spaetzle, weiner schnitzel, and red cabbage, and it was awesome. Matt studied in Berlin for a year in college, and he said this spaetzle was the closest thing he's had to authentic spaetzle since leaving Germany. I had no idea, from eating in restaurants here, that spaetzle could have so much flavor. YUM. It's ruined restaurant-spaetzle for me forever. Hopefully the other sections live up to this promise.
Another reason that I feel uneasy about this book is that there don't seem to be many simple, whip-it-up for lunch type of recipes. Most recipes are quite involved. Apart from the scones in the British Isles section, none of it is breakfast-appropriate. This puts a whoooole lot of pressure on dinner.
Tell me to quit my whining and move on. Okay. To the task at hand...
In this book, the globe is divided into 14 chapters. My strategy will be to cook at least one recipe from each chapter, and then loop back around to runner-up recipes that caught my eye along the way.
We're flying back to NY to visit fam for a week, so there will be a brief hiatus until we return. I'll start my month with The Best International Recipes when I come back. I planned to get a head start this weekend by cooking Indian food. I went to the store and bought all the ingredients, except for garam masala. Couldn't find it anywhere. Grrrr. I'll have to look for it in Brooklyn and start when we get back.
Update: My friend just brought it to my attention that the South Pacific (ie, her homeland of New Zealand) is also not represented. I would say that English-speaking countries (Canada, NZ, Australia) didn't make the cut, except that The British Isles make up an entire chapter. Beats me.