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My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking Hardcover – November 1, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing; 1St Edition edition (November 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1449407870
  • ISBN-13: 978-1449407872
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 10.2 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #36,839 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Besh is a chef and a native son dedicated to the culinary riches of southern Louisiana. In his restaurants, entrepreneurial pursuits, and public activities, he preserves and promotes ingredients, techniques, and heritage one mouthwatering dish at a time.
Besh grew up in southern Louisiana and has set the benchmark for fine dining in New Orleans. Each of his eight acclaimed restaurants (August, Besh Steak, Lüke, La Provence, American Sector, The Soda Shop, Domenica and Lüke San Antonio) celebrates the bounty and traditions of the region.

From the outset of his career, Besh's talent and drive have earned kudos: Food & Wine magazine named him one of the "Top 10 Best New Chefs in America," and his flagship restaurant, August, was featured in Gourmet magazine's "Guide to America's Best Restaurants" and "America's Top 50 Restaurants." Besh won the James Beard Award for Best Chef of the Southeast in 2006 and received Food Arts' Silver Spoon Award in 2009 for revitalizing the culinary legacy of New Orleans.

Besh's devotion to local ingredients and cuisine also extends to his entrepreneurial projects, including the creation of Besh Restaurant Group Catering; a line of gourmet products; the publication of his first cookbook, My New Orleans (Andrews McMeel Publishing, October 2009); and a follow-up cookbook, My Family Table (Andrews McMeel Publishing, November 2011).

Besh is a frequent guest chef on NBC's Today Show and has appeared on top programs on The Food Network and the Sundance Channel.

More About the Author

John Besh is a chef and a native son dedicated to the culinary riches of southern Louisiana. In his restaurants, entrepreneurial pursuits, and public activities, he preserves and promotes ingredients, techniques, and heritage one mouth-watering dish at a time.

Besh grew up in southern Louisiana and has set the benchmark for fine dining in New Orleans - a town whose identity is bound to its food. Each of his eight acclaimed restaurants (August, Besh Steak, Lüke, La Provence, American Sector, The Soda Shop, Domenica and Lüke San Antonio) celebrates the bounty and traditions of the region.

From the outset of his career, Besh's talent and drive have earned him continuous kudos: Food & Wine named him one of the "Top 10 Best New Chefs in America" and his flagship restaurant August has featured on the late great Gourmet magazine's "Guide to America's Best Restaurants" and "America's Top 50 Restaurants." Local publications keeping close tabs on the dining scene, like The Times-Picayune and New Orleans City Business, have applauded all his other restaurants as they have won the hearts and palates of discriminating diners. He won the James Beard Award for Best Chef of the Southeast in 2006, and was awarded Food Arts' Silver Spoon Award in 2009 for revitalizing the culinary legacy of New Orleans. John Besh is a frequent guest chef on the NBC Today Show and has appeared on top programs on The Food Network and the Sundance Channel.

Besh's devotion to local ingredients and cuisine also extends to his entrepreneurial projects, including the creation of Besh Restaurant Group Catering; the launch of a line of gourmet products; the publication of his first cookbook, My New Orleans (Andrews McMeel Publishing, October 2009) and the follow-up cookbook, My Family Table (Andrews McMeel Publishing, November 2011).

A former U.S. Marine, Besh is proud to have partnered with Baton Rouge-based emergency reconstruction specialists Arkel International, for which he creates high quality ready-to-eat meals for distribution to thousands of emergency response teams and sustained strategic operations in the U.S. and around the world; the novel initiative promotes the Gulf Coast's food culture as it elevates the Louisiana economy. In recognition of such far-reaching contributions, the Louisiana Restaurant Association named him Restaurateur of the Year in 2008.

His sense of culinary and cultural stewardship and responsibility led him to create the John Besh Foundation in 2011, and the Chefs Move! scholarship program, which awards a scholarship to a minority student in New Orleans who has shown promise in the culinary arts. Another initiative of the Foundation is a micro-loan program to local farmers.

Whether served as far afield as North Africa or the Middle East, or by his own hands in one of his New Orleans restaurants, a meal created by John Besh is a thoughtful, flavorful, meaningful delight.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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I highly recommend this wholesome cook book.
Bill Steele
Beautiful book with great recipes and also family stories included.
Shirley W. Robinson
The recipes are really good and easy to follow.
Mark

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

103 of 106 people found the following review helpful By Jesse Kornbluth TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
We gave away 50 cookbooks the other week.

Now I see we could also have given away "The Joy of Cooking."

What? Eighteen million copies of "The Joy of Cooking" have been sold since it was published in 1936. (Correction: Irma Rombauer, a widow, was the first to publish it --- to self-publish it --- in 1931.) There is no more classic cookbook in America. Even restaurants use it. What could possibly replace it?

For the America of the 2010s: "My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking," by John Besh.

Besh, for those who have not had dinner in New Orleans recently, is the movie-star-handsome Louisiana homeboy who has, at a tender age, built a six-restaurant empire. He was a Marine who kept up with foodie journals as he led troops in the first Gulf War. He is still married to his first wife. He has four kids.

After Katrina, Besh was everywhere, talking up his city. He produced a terrific cookbook: "My New Orleans." Then he started to simplify. And to listen to his wife (never a bad idea), who said, "Yeah, but what about our kids?"

So, at last, a family-friendly cookbook, short on cooking time, shorter on preservatives and junk food substitutes. A book for the way we live now? Some chapter titles: "Sunday Supper," "School Nights," "Breakfast with My Boys," "Barbeque Wisdom" and "Fried Chicken (& Other Classics)."
Here are ten reasons to fall in love with this book:

1) The first recipe is "Risotto Almost Anything."

2) The second recipe is "Creamy Any Vegetable Soup."

3) The third recipe is "Simple Meat Ragout for Any Pasta."

4) The fourth recipe is "The Perfect Frittata."

5) The fifth recipe is "Curried Anything."

Getting the idea? Simple fare.
Read more ›
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34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By hotpink on December 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
As an owner of 350 plus cookbooks, it takes a lot to to impress me in a cookbook..that being said, I am simply blown away with this book. So much care, time and passion went into these recipes, that you almost feel that you are one with the book. It's like reading a novel, only to realize it never has to end. Beautiful, awesome and inspiring. Thank you, Mr. Besh.
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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Mark on November 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
John Besh reminds us that the ultimate pleasure from a dining experience is the people with whom you share the meal. Chef Besh reminds us to make the memories of a lifetime around the family table.

The recipes are really good and easy to follow. But, take the book as it was intended: A guide to bring your family together with a wonderful meal, great conversation, and memories of a lifetime
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ki on January 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I saw a hard-copy of this on a trip to New Orleans, but more and more I have been opting to purchase the Kindle version. It is a beautiful book, but I have a bookshelf of beautiful books taking up space...and you know what you can't do with a big beautiful book? Look at it on your phone in the grocery store.

I've been an avid cook for along time, but this year I went through a drought. Even though we can cook really well, we were eating out more and more. I read this book cover to cover on a plane ride and it rekindled my passion for home cooking.

We only cook for two, so any recipes I've used have been modified and downsized.

I started making risotto regularly, thanks to this book. After all these years of cooking, I had no idea how easy it was to throw together an impromptu risotto.

The chicken fricasse was an instant hit. For an example of easy modifications, it calls for two four-pound chickens to serve eight. We're two and don't need nearly that much meat. I used one large bone-in, skin-on chicken breast and put the emphasis on abundance of vegetables called for in the recipe. I remember the last time we were inspired to cook turnips! The point being that you don't have to carefully follow the recipes to be inspired to make a variation.

If i had to make a criticism it would be that this book is extremely meat-centric. We eat all kinds of meat, but I do look for a heavier focus on vegetables in modern cookbooks. That one thought aside, I've enjoyed owning this book very much and will often flip through the Kindle version on my phone to get inspired to stop by the grocery store on the way home rather than succumbing to the temptation of yet again going out.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By K. Gill on December 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The trend now is for well-known chefs to produce cookbooks which contain their own "home cooking". I find a lot of these to be a bit unrealistic because they really require chef skills at home. John Besh's book, however, is a selection of recipes that you really would eat at home and can prepare on your own, without any special skills or knowledge. I remember reading a book by Anthony Bourdain in which he said that the food that chefs crave most is that simple home-cooked food (maybe I'm grossly paraphrasing, but that's what I took it as) that isn't sophisticated, just good. That's what this book is.

This has many Southern classics (pan-Southern US food) as well as a New Orleans/Louisiana recipes, where Besh is from and works. It has the corn pudding, two recipes for fried chicken, fried catfish, cheese grits, angel biscuits, drop biscuits, buttermilk pancakes, sloppy joes, baked beans... if you grew up in the South, whatever you grew up eating is in here and true to form. Then there are some things like "Carbonara with Sweet Peas and Ham" which isn't at all Southern or a carbonara at all, but it is what Besh cooks at home, so he can have a pass.

This is a very nice selection of recipes and quite accessible.

My only caveat or reservation is that it is a hard-back book with glossy pages toward the larger format size. A book like this should not be presented as a coffee-table book, but should be a paperback, lighter weight, a smaller page format that people will use, dog-ear, get dirty, and pass from family member to family member. Making it so 'pristine' with a dust-jacket is almost an invitation to not use it.
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