Saturday, 3 December 2011

John Besh's My Family Table: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking

My Family Table
A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking
by John Besh

Hardcover, 9¼ x 11 in., 272 pages

John Besh, celebrated chef and author of My New Orleans, has a mission: to get people off of packaged foods, off of their couches and into their kitchens. He believes that dinner is a family affair and that meals should be simple, delicious, healthy and satisfying. And, most importantly, enjoyed together.

We all know John Besh as an award-winning chef and committed advocate for Louisiana, but what he is most proud of is being a dad. It's easy to get caught up in the hype of celebrity chef-dom, but at the end of the day his family is what matters most to him.

It is the idea of family and cooking for family that inspired this book. This is not precious restaurant food - it is the food that your family wants to eat. He has picky and precocious boys with busy schedules, just like many other people. And he firmly believes that the family table is the foundation to healthier and happier families. What could be better than that?

"If nothing else, I want people to realize that My Family Table isn't about a chef cooking fancy food at home, it's about a fancy chef who's learned to actually cook at home for his family." John Besh

This is a gorgeous book. It is coffee-table sized and style with many photos of John's home and family, as well as the delicious recipes. He incorporates personal anecdotes and gets his kids in on the action.

Chapters include:

Introduction: A Passionate Plea for Home Cooking
* Kitchen Focus * Sunday Supper * Dinner from a Cast Iron Pot * School Nights * Breakfast with My Boys * How to Cook a Fish * Fried Chicken (& Other Classics) * Barbecue Wisdom * Jazz Brunch * Goose for the Holidays * Drew Makes a Cake (& Other Desserts *
Kitchen Focus is a brilliant chapter that gives you master recipes for Risotto of Almost Anything, Creamy Any Vegetable Soup, Simple Meat Ragu for Any Pasta, Curried Anything... you get the idea. He also re-purposes leftovers for you so that you get the most for your dollar. 

Since this is a family cookbook, I let my family choose what we made from it. They were extremely happy with the results...
The Bird's Nest Potatoes from Breakfast with My Boys were crunchy and fun and delicious. No more boring hash browns for us! These will become a Sunday morning staple for us from now on.

The Provencal Stuffed Tomatoes, one of the sides in Sunday Suppers, were delightfully tender and savoury and.. easy! Love 'em.

And, since there is an entire chapter dedicated to Fried Chicken and Other Classics - we had to make some! This one is titled My Grandmother's Fried Chicken and was crispy, crunchy delicious with tender meat inside. We paired the fried chicken with My Favorite Potato Salad from the Barbecue Wisdom chapter. Who needs take-out?

In my world, the best cookies have oats in them. And these Oatmeal-Chocolate Chip Cookies were the perfect confection for packing into lunches and general after-dinner snacking. They are hearty and chewy and nutty - halfway to being a granola bar. Wonderful.

We had a great time cooking along with John Besh's My Family Table, and you will too!
My Family Table - John Besh