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Back to the Table: The Reunion of Food and Family Hardcover – Dolby, October 17, 2001
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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
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.
Top Customer Reviews
The menus in this book are certainly unique. I have tried a few on week-ends and they are delicious. The only negative aspect I found is the preparation time. For those of us who truly are trying to jungle and balance family and work outside the home, there simply is not the time at the end of the day (or the energy) to attempt putting together many of these recipes. Most of the recipes are best saved for the week-end or special family gatherings - they are certainly not your typical everyday, evening fare.
BACK TO THE TABLE is not about the latest health craze or the newest way to cram a meal in between soccer practice and violin lessons. This book is about taking the time to sit down at the table and eat with your family.
The recipes are delicious and simple (if a little time-consuming) and the focus on southern tastes seems to reflect the author's background. Some definite winners in BACK TO THE TABLE are the Grandma's chocolate cake and the incredible chicken tamales.
Art Smith has created a cookbook that is both beautiful and useful, with an important message and tasty recipes. 5 stars all the way.
Although some recipes in this book appear to be more time consuming than others (as in most cookbooks), I have tried several recipes that were very reasonable (time wise). For example, last night I made the Grilled Fish Fillets with Watercress Mustard and Tarragon (i found the mustard at a Flagship Randalls) and the Romaine with Lemon Parmesan Vinaigrette. They were delicious and not difficult to prepare. Yes, there are many recipes that seem a little time consuming to make, but I am just wondering why this book is getting so much slack for that. I collect many cookbooks, and typically, unless it is advertised as a "Quick and Easy" cookbook, there is usually a mix of quick to not-so-quick recipes in most cookbooks.
I think the message of Back to the Table is important. Whether you can do it seven days a week or just two, mealtime is a great opportunity to spend quality time with your family. I may not always have time to make a sit down dinner for my family every night of the week, but I am going to make a realistic goal for myself and work on it!
Let's face some facts, here: The recipes in this book are, or are largely influenced by, classic Southern cuisine. First, this isn't 30-Minute Meals. This is not to say all of the recipes take a long time, because many of them are great for a weeknight. But some are meant for Sunday dinners (the most wonderful of family traditions) and special occassions when one has time to devote to lingering in the kitchen. Back to the Table is about slowing down and enjoying your time at the table with your family. It's about tradition. What it is not about is running around like a chicken with its head cut off and trying to get dinner on the table in 30 minutes flat.
Don't get me wrong... Quick cooking is important these days. But if all of our cooking is done in a hurry, even on weekends, we are missing the true rewards of cooking. I recommend that we all slow down, at least once a week, and take time to really be a part of the kitchen.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is actually my second purchase of this book. I used the first one so much that it began falling apart - due to nothing other than a lot of cooking love!Published 13 months ago by monique bennett
I purchased this book over 11-12 years ago when I was passing through Napa Valley, Ca. I was running early to my destination and decided to stop and grab a bite to eat. Read morePublished 23 months ago by malibupeg
Glad I found this! I wanted it when it first came out and just never got around to getting it.Published on February 17, 2014 by Janice Cuba
Loved it. I already read the whole book. I love to read cook book and it was a joy with workable recipes/Published on September 18, 2013 by Rhonda Roebuck
One of my all time favorite books....to read as well as for the recipes. We have favorite recipes that we have made over and over and over again. The photography is excellent.Published on September 14, 2013 by Sydney Gines
It came in just a few days and I'm very happy with it. There are other cook books Art Smith has written and I intend to purchase them.Published on May 29, 2013 by Karen Grengs
This cookbook is a favorite in our home for many years. We have given several as gifts. We use the blueberry crisp recipe with all fruit and love it! Read morePublished on October 10, 2012 by CS