One Big Table by Molly O'Neill
600 recipes from the nation's best home cooks, farmers, fishermen, pit-masters, and chefs

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Ten years ago, former New York Times food columnist Molly O’Neill embarked on a transcontinental road trip to investigate reports that Americans had stopped cooking at home. As she traveled highways, dirt roads, bayous, and coastlines gathering stories and recipes, it was immediately apparent that dire predictions about the end of American cuisine were vastly overstated. From Park Avenue to trailer parks, from tidy suburbs to isolated outposts, home cooks were channeling their family histories as well as their tastes and personal ambitions into delicious meals. One decade and over 300,000 miles later, One Big Table is a celebration of these cooks, a mouthwatering portrait of the nation at the table.

Meticulously selected from more than 20,000 contributions, the cookbook’s 600 recipes are a definitive portrait of what we eat and why. In this lavish volume—illustrated throughout with historic photographs, folk art, vintage advertisements, and family snapshots—O’Neill celebrates heirloom recipes like the Doughty family’s old-fashioned black duck and dumplings that originated on a long-vanished island off Virginia’s Eastern Shore, the Pueblo tamales that Norma Naranjo makes in her horno in New Mexico, as well as modern riffs such as a Boston teenager’s recipe for asparagus soup scented with nigella seeds and truffle oil. Many recipes offer a bridge between first-generation immigrants and their progeny—the bucatini with dandelion greens and spring garlic that an Italian immigrant and his grandson forage for in the Vermont woods—while others are contemporary variations that embody each generation’s restless obsession with distinguishing itself from its predecessors. O’Neill cooks with artists, writers, doctors, truck drivers, food bloggers, scallop divers, horse trainers, potluckers, and gourmet club members.

In a world where takeout is just a phone call away, One Big Table reminds us of the importance of remaining connected to the food we put on our tables. As this brilliantly edited collection shows on every page, the glories of a home-cooked meal prove how every generation has enriched and expanded our idea of American food. Every recipe in this book is a testament to the way our memories—historical, cultural, and personal—are bound up in our favorite and best family dishes.

As O’Neill writes, "Most Americans cook from the heart as well as from a distinctly American yearning, something I could feel but couldn’t describe until thousands of miles of highway helped me identify it in myself: hometown appetite. This book is a journey through hundreds of ‘hometowns’ that fuel the American appetite, recipe by recipe, bite by bite."

About Molly O'Neill

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For a decade, Molly O'Neill was the food columnist for The New York Times Magazine and the host of the PBS series Great Food. Her work has appeared in many national magazines, and she is the author of three cookbooks, including the award-winning The New York Cookbook. She lives in New York City.
Published November 16, 2010 by Simon & Schuster. 864 pages
Genres: History, Cooking. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for One Big Table

Publishers Weekly

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O’Neill, former New York Times Magazine food writer and author (New York Cookbook), has compiled an informative and heartwarming refutation of the demise of American home cooking.

Sep 27 2010 | Read Full Review of One Big Table: 600 recipes fr...

BC Books

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Becky Herman of Machipongo, Virginia, “found a recipe for potato chip pecan cookies in Fine Cooking Magazine and was fascinated by it."

Nov 07 2010 | Read Full Review of One Big Table: 600 recipes fr...

BC Books

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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, an...

Nov 07 2010 | Read Full Review of One Big Table: 600 recipes fr...

Molly O’Neill, a magazine food writer and author of “New York Cookbook,” took 10 years to write “One Big Table,” an encyclopedia of American cuisine, dubbed “America’s community cookbook.” The book is part cookbook and part history of food told through the home cooks of America.

Dec 16 2010 | Read Full Review of One Big Table: 600 recipes fr...

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