"Dining together allows us to better understand who we are, regardless of our social status," writes Art Smith, author of Back to the Table
, a cookbook that explores the meaning of the dining ritual while providing 150 recipes to "strengthen bonds between loved ones." Personal chef to Oprah Winfrey and a contributing editor to her magazine, O
, Smith grew up in the Southern cooking tradition, the underpinning of this enticing home-style collection. Smith's reiterated message--that we return to the "sanctity of the table"--is unassailable; his recipes, however, really make the point. Readers looking for good food to cook and share will find the book a much-turned-to treasure.
Chapters like "Breaking Bread," "The Family Meal," and "Food Is Love" organize recipes around the communal eating theme. "The Family Meal," for example, includes exemplary everyday formulas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, such as Zucchini and Tomato Frittata, Carrot-Ginger Soup with Minted Yogurt, and Grilled Fish Fillets with Watercress Mustard and Tarragon. Other outstanding recipes--such as Mushroom, Provolone, and Rosemary Pizza, Sunday Dinner Pot Roast, and Spring Vegetable Lasagna--reflect and encourage shared cooking and enjoyment. Formulas for sweets are woven throughout the book and include such delights as Kumquat-Ginger Pound Cake, Chocolate Pecan Pie, and an old-fashioned Peanut Brittle. Illustrated with photos that depict the food and cooking processes or show people enjoying meals together, the book reminds readers of the culinary and spiritual pleasures of the shared table. --Arthur Boehm
About the Author
grew up in the small farming town of Jasper, in the Panhandle of Florida. While attending Florida State University, he completed two prestigious internships with The Greenbrier resort and was selected for the Walt Disney Magic Kingdom College Program. At the age of twenty-four, he was hired by Governor Bob Graham, now a U.S. Senator, and his wife Adele as executive chef of the Florida Governor's Mansion.
Art next traveled extensively through Europe and Africa as a family chef aboard several transatlantic motor yachts. Upon his return to the States, he took a position as chef on the American European Express Train. This led him to Chicago, where he began a career as a teacher at Williams-Sonoma and later as a private chef for the families of various celebrities.
Since the spring of 1977, he has been the personal chef to Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham. He is a contributing editor to O
magazine and writes a monthly column for the food page of Oprah.com.