One Big Table: A Portrait of American Cooking (release date: November 16) is certainly one big book! Written/compiled by Molly O’Neill, it contains 600 recipes from America’s “best home cooks, farmers, fisherman, pit-masters, and chefs.” Filled with such delights as “A Social History of American Stoves,” this foodies dream-come-true combines informative articles, new and archival photographs, and a tour of American “Hometown Appetites,” with recipes from all over the country, many of which come from far-off ports of call.
Persian Noodle Soup, Cantonese-style Marinated Grilled Chicken, Greek salads, lasagne, Armenian Rice with Vermicelli, and Kasha Varnishkes are only a few of the recipes that prove that American tables groan under the weight of delicious ethnic dishes. American regional specialties such as Red Beans and Rice from Abend, Louisiana, Root Vegetable Salad (Portland, Maine), and Mason County Transparent Pie (Maysville, Kentucky) prove that no one state holds the title, “Best Food in America” (although many claim it as their own).
One Big Table is more than a cookbook—it offers a history of cooks and cooking, discusses products Americans depend upon, and even the companies that feed us (like Pepperidge Farm). It’s a beautiful, impressive gift for cooks and non-cooking foodies alike. There are recipes for every taste, every meal, every course, and snacks galore. Histories of such wonders as Rice Krispies Treats and Doughnuts offer, forgive me, food for thought and are entertaining reading when one is not cooking. Make no mistake, though, even the recipes are entertaining to read; below is a sure hit.