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Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals from Our Restaurants to Your Home Hardcover – April 2, 2013

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Family Table: Favorite Staff Meals from Our Restaurants to Your Home + Come In, We're Closed: An Invitation to Staff Meals at the World's Best Restaurants + Off the Menu: Staff Meals from America's Top Restaurants
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Editorial Reviews

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Part haute cuisine, part comfort food, dinners that chefs whip up for their kitchen- and waitstaffs before the evening’s guests pile in serve as an object lesson in thoughtful meal planning. These repasts must employ ingredients readily at hand, must be appealing and attractive, can’t take too much time to prepare, and daren’t cost too much. Union Square Café chef Romano and food writer Stabiner have gathered recipes from Danny Meyer’s lauded New York City restaurants, including top-ranked Eleven Madison Park. These staff dinners, eaten in haste, live up to the high expectations of food professionals. Diverse ethnic dishes represent culinary traditions from Korean short ribs through American southern biscuits and gravy, here in a lighter-than-usual version. On the other hand, macaroni and cheese brims with cream and chicken stock. Since staff members must rise from the dinner table and get to work, only a few desserts appear here: simple cookies or fruit-based sweets. --Mark Knoblauch

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Rux Martin/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 3.3.2013 edition (April 2, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547615620
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547615622
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 1.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #319,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Edwin A. Young on April 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Not just a cookbook, this is a thoroughly enjoyable visit to and with the family at some of the best known restaurants in New York, including Union Square Cafe, Gramercy Tavern and The Modern. We are introduced to various members of the family via anectdotal biographical sketches throughout the book, which are informative and amusing and offer a "behind the scenes" visit to Danny Meyer's restaurants, collectively known as Union Square Hospitality Group. The family is comprised of the staff and the family table refers to the shared meals they prepare twice each day. The dishes encompass a variety of cuisines, reflecting the diverse background of those preparing them. The book has numerous photographs throughout, both of the family members and of the foods they have prepared. Each dish is introduced and is followed by the recipe. The recipes range from soup to desserts, with a few non-alcoholic drinks. It is to be noted that the recipes are well written, easy to follow and use readily available ingredients. Some will be familiar to the reader as variations on foods from their own family experience. The average home cook should have no trouble preparing most of the dishes. I am anticipating trying many, if not most of the recipes. I can't wait to try Mama Romano's Lasagna! It is different from mine and the variations my Italian in-laws make. In the dessert chapter, two caught my eye: Beignets, which I used to make (mine was a New Orleans recipe) - it is nice to see them included, and Streusel-Swirl Coffee Cake, a variation on an old recipe so poorly copied by box mixes. Oh - did I mention the Lemon Bars? You just have to buy the book! I have enjoyed dining in several of the restaurants; it is nice to "meet" the family who have been my hosts.Read more ›
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14 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Autamme_dot_com on April 17, 2013
Format: Hardcover
It is one of the industry's best kept secrets - staff in many restaurants can eat as well as, or even better than, the guests. Staff meals might be informal affairs, sometimes rushed and sometimes chaotic, but they are a chance for the "family" that works together to eat together. New meals might be finely-tuned on these occasions. Skimping on the ingredients is not necessarily an option. The audience can be challenging and more critical than a restaurant full of food critics too.

So here this book, a curated work, lets you look at many such recipes that have become favourite staff meals at a top dining establishment, all of which are particularly suited towards the home cook and the domestic kitchen.

This is so much more than just a load of recipes. Straight from the get go the reader is given a peak behind the curtain and gets to see just a little of what goes on in a top kitchen. Some rather great, candid photography really sets the scene and you can sense the humour and personality leaking out of this book as you read through it. A warning: this is a big book! And it is full of recipes.

The recipes themselves are split into logical chapters of food types and purposes, after that you just need to skim through the recipes and find something that jumps out at you. Or would it be better to say skim through it and note what, if anything, doesn't appeal... There is, of course, an index at the back for more in-depth consultation and cross-reference although this review copy did not have a ready index to give an opinion on. Hopefully it is as comprehensive and as detailed as the rest of this book is, otherwise that would be a disappointment. Oddly though, for a book of this nature, the recipes don't feature an estimation of preparation and cookery times.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Liz McCarty on June 9, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This cook book was a gift from a friend and arrived just in time to spend four hours with me in a surgery waiting room. Coincidentally, you can read it from cover-to-cover in that time.

I've made tweny recipes in three weeks and plan to try many more over the next few months. Don't be intimidated by the fact that this book comes from a highly regarded New York restaurant group. The recipes are fairly straight forward and the make-ahead components take the stress out of entertaining.

I did encounter a few problems in the dessert section. I've made my share of panna cotta over the years and wondered if the gelatin would actually dissolve in cold cream. It doesn't so use the gelatin package directions before continuing. The end product had a great flavor so I "poured" the excess over granola the next morning.

The Quick Coconut Cake is delicious and I craved more after it was gone. The instructions called for a 9 inch round pan. Mine was two inches high and my cake was fine. A friend made it in an inch and a half high pan and it ran over the top. Sometimes the little things mean a lot.

Some favorites were the Dominican Beef, Spaghetti Carbonara (easiest I've ever made) and the Roasted Broccoli with Pecorino Romano & Lemon. I could have had that as an entrée. The Savory Vegetarian Bread Pudding was a winner and the leftovers are great served the next morning topped with a poached egg.

Don't worry if you have eight people for dinner and the recipe says it serves six. Every recipe I've made so far has served at least one-third more than the recipe states.

Family Table would make a great gift for anyone who enjoys reading a cook book from cover to cover. The journalism professor gets an A for her notes about each recipe and the tales from behind the scenes.
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