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

4.7 out of 5 stars 133 customer reviews

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Frequently Bought Together

  • My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking
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  • Besh Big Easy: 101 Home Cooked New Orleans Recipes
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Editorial Reviews


"Many of his recipes, written in his warmn natural voice, are easy. Yet some are more special-occasion..." (Corby Kummer, New York Times)

"a solid, practical collection of simple recipes, well-larded with personal history and strategy tips. It's well-written and timely for anyone pressed for time..." (Terra Brockman, Zester Daily)

Praise for John Besh & My New Orleans:

“Best in show for coffee table cookbooks…”
—Julia Moskin, New York Times

“John Besh is one of America’s best chefs, and this engaging book captures the best of both worlds—compelling stories of growing up in Louisiana, together with a wealth of savory and authentic recipes.” —Drew Nieporent, restaurateur/owner Tribeca Grill, Nobu, Corton

“My New Orleans is a gumbo—thick with colorful stories drunk in love with a great American city...with culinary traditions as burnished as a dark roux.”
—Greg Morago, Houston Chronicle

“This beautifully curated book by John Besh…is one of the most loving and informative tributes to the city’s food culture that’s ever been put into print.” —Ben Mims, Saveur

“…the book itself reads like a celebration.” —Daily Dish, Los Angeles Times

“There’s a lot of heart in this book, the way
there is in Louisiana music…the spicy, rocking blues of Dr. John and Fats Domino. You’ll find it in the stories of Besh’s friends, mentors, and suppliers. But mostly you’ll find it in the recipes. You’ll wish you were in Besh’s family.” —Jesse Kornbluth, headbutler.com (Praise for John Besh & My New Orleans)

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.
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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: 9.3 x 1.4 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #151,259 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jesse Kornbluth 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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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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By Kyle 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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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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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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