What do you think of when you think of classic American home cooking? Meatloaf? Fried Chicken? If I had to guess, I’d say that it depends a lot on what part of the country you grew up in and what the culture was like there. The country is huge and incredibly diverse, so while you’ll find classic American apple pies all over the country, you’ll find that the things that make up a home cooked meal just like mom used to make aren’t just “classic” dishes, but run the gamut from Greek Orzo Salad to Deep Fried Turkey. In One Big Table, you’ll find hundreds of these home-style recipes that, together, make up the food that is put on the American dinner table every night of the week.
This book is huge and, with 600 recipes, that is no surprise. The recipes are from all over the country and have been collected from home cooks everywhere. To give it even more flavor, the book is peppered with photos of the families that contributed the recipes, as well as with photos of American history as it relates to food. This means that instead of seeing photos of plated dishes, you’ll see photos of workers in a tuna canning factory near the turn of the 20th century, along with a history of tuna and other ingredients or products. The histories are what really makes the book interesting and they show you how all of these recipes are built from the same framework.
The book covers every part of the meal, from appetizers, snacks and salad dressings all the way through meats, veggies and desserts. There are recipes from just about every food culture out there in here in addition to things that are easily identified as American classics. The recipes all come with notes about who contributed them and what their stories were, and the recipes themselves are well organized and easy to follow along with. This isn’t a book that you’ll find easily to flip through if you’re simply looking for an Italian dish to make for dinner because the recipes simply aren’t grouped around cultural lines, but it is fun to read through and you’ll definitely find plenty of dishes that you’ll want to try – and dishes that might even become regulars on your dinner table!