List Price: $35
John Besh's book My Family Table -A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking is the perfect book to bring a busy family back to the table for meals. As a home cook you can find a cookbook on almost any type of food, technique, or by almost any chef. We buy books because we find a recipe that catches our eye, we want to try a new technique or style of cooking, or we are a fan of the celebrity chef gracing the cover. Then life gets busy and we look for what is fast, easy and the family will eat. I am guilty of having celebrity chefs gracing the cover of some of my cookbooks, but none of them are books I have enjoyed more than My Family Table and Besh's previous book My New Orleans.
"Please take my preaching with a grain of (sea) salt as I am a self-proclaimed, or rather a self-confessed, hypocrite who has in many ways prospered from the food/television relationship. But I openly admit that this contradiction has helped me see the errors of my ways. At one time, after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina had crippled the restaurants of New Orleans, putting suppliers and farmers and growers of all kinds out of business, I gladly took part in cooking competitions on TV because I believed my appearance could help communicate to people across this country that it was okay, even urgent, to return to New Orleans, to visit or live. ...I also realized that by doing that kind of TV, I might actually be hurting the same local food culture and family involvement I was seeking to protect."
My Family Table is not just page after page of recipes and a few pictures here and there, Besh tells a story with each chapter and eat dish. He tells stories about his wife, Jenifer; and his boys, Brendan, Jack, Luke and Andrew; they make you feel like you are part of their family. His passion for his heritage, his community and his family come through on every page and in every picture. I cannot wait to to have the actual book in my hands. The photography, by Maura McEvoy and her daughter Oona, brings you into every moment of the story. The team of people who brought this book together have created a book that not only will be used in my kitchen, but also placed on my coffee table because it is of its beautiful photographs.
After reading the chapter Sunday Supper I want to be at John Besh's house on Sundays! John describes Sunday suppers at the Besh house; it truly is a family affair. Having his boys involved helps them identify their heritage by what they eat. Bringing the family back together for meals isn't just gathering around the table and eating, it is actively participating. Participating includes making the meals, having conversations and creating memories. The recipes in My Family Table are not complicate or time consuming. They do not include a bunch of specialized ingredients that you spend money on and only use once in a small amount; they are ingredients you might already have in your pantry and you will use in other recipes. I have tested a variety of the recipes in Besh's new book including the Cauliflower Mac & Cheese, Beef Noodles, Slow-Cooked Beef Chuck Roast, Fried Eggplant Salad, and the Lemon Blackberry Cheesecake. I look forward to continuing to make recipes from My Family Table for my family and friends.
In addition to recipes, Besh includes tips on staple items to have in your pantry, simple techniques for how to cook an egg, and even how to fillet a fish. He also list resources for products he uses.
John Besh is a James Beard Award winning chef from southern Louisiana. He is the owner of six restaurants: August, Luck, Besh Steak, La Provance, and Domenica. He has appeared on shows such as The Next Iron Chef and Top Chef Masters.