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Back To The Table
cookbook reviewsback to the table
Back to the Table: The Reunion of Food and Family
by Art Smith
List Price: $29.95
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Reviewed by Eren Guryel

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Art Smith has put together a sample collection of foods that he has encountered on his journey called - life. He grew up in the panhandle of rural Florida and served as a chef to now Senator Bob Graham and aboard several transatlantic family-owned motor yachts. Since 1997, Mr. Smith has been a personal chef for Oprah Winfrey and Stedman Graham.

Back to the Table contains over 150 recipes of what I would consider comfort foods. There is no pretentious plating requirements or high skill level needed to make any of these classic dishes. The whole premise of the book is that no matter how stressful your life is, the simpler you want your food. According to Smith the fast paced families of today seem to be growing further apart and the bond that keeps most families together is the simple act of sitting down and eating together.

He writes, “The table has always served as a symbol of congregation, the place where we celebrate our loved ones through the generations-old tradition of sharing a meal.”

The pictures of the food look good, I tested one recipe - Fennel Watercress and Orange salad, a simple achievable recipe no matter how talented or experienced you may be. But if you get this book for the recipes, it would seem that you are missing the point - the book is riddled with memories of family traditions and love for ones relatives. Not to mention the section filled with blessings one would say before eating one of these great meals. I am not a very spiritual person so this is not really my sort of thing.

I respected the fact that the author did not harp on the fact that he cooks for one of the richest women in the world and I really did enjoy the section entitled, “Breaking Bread.” Universally, bread is a symbol for sharing. Every meal should have it.

To Summarize - A book for the spiritually inclined cook...
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