At the Kitchen Table
The Craft of Cooking at Home
By Greg Atkinson
(Sasquatch Books, Paperback, 9781570617348, 256pp.)
Publication Date: September 20, 2011
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This is a book of more than two dozen essays about eating, food, the meaning of coming together at the table, and the pleasures of home cooking. Greg Atkinson, chef and writer, brings the perspective of one who has harvested shellfish with fishermen in Puget Sound, walked the rows during harvest at Oregon vineyards, as well as sourced ingredients at the local big box retailer. According to Atkinson, the measure that’s most valuable is the amount of heart that brings people together for a meal--less important is the pedigree of the extra virgin olive oil that's used. In this book, Atkinson brings memorable meals to life, shares the special experience of making borscht, reveals tips and tidbits on cooking that he has garnered from foodie royalty that have passed through his kitchen, even about his aversion to fishing for trout and his pleasure in preparing them on camping trips to favorite mountain lakes. At the Kitchen Table is about the meaning of eating, the broad culinary web we enter with every bite we take, and the special sanctuary that is the home kitchen.
Each essay is concluded with several recipes--more than 70 total.
(Greg Atkinson is) a natural writer whose honesty in AT THE KITCHEN TABLE: The Craft of Cooking at Home...about being thrilled and intimidated to meet food-world celebs, about working to reproduce something he tasted and loved and about growing beyond the whole-food movement he joined as a youth is always engaging. Of starting a big, festive fish fry in honor of a woman he met near the end of her life, he says, 'I felt that same easy timeless kind of eternity I sensed that day.' It's a sense we should all strive to feel in our own kitchens.
The New York Times
As a chef and writer, Greg truly cares about the source of the food he works with. Having spent time visiting local vineyards and working with local fisherman gives him a seed-to-table perspective that I admire. But according to him, the measure that’s most valuable is the amount of heart that brings people together for a meal. Ain’t that the truth. His new book is sort of a valentine to home cooking. The menus are laced with stories of preparing meals with family and friends. Greg is a well known chef in the Puget Sound area (one of the first to source local ingredients) but his recipes are anything but chef-y. They’re simple and divine and just what you want for your next family meal.
(Greg Atkinson's) words, penned or spoken, are thoughtful – measured and weighed as carefully as if he were crafting a recipe... There are 70 recipes included with his two dozen or so essays, each one chock full of warm memories, inviting flavors and Greg’s appreciation for the idea that everything tastes best in its season and shared with the ones you love.
Kathy Casey, Al Dente
Every recipe has a story, and Greg Atkinson's tales of family, friends and the foods that grace their tables are the literary equivalent of a loaf of bread pulled warm from the oven, slathered with homemade jam and eaten in front of a roaring fire.
The Seattle Times
What do we have at home that no restaurant can provide? Family. And the stories that families share. Those ingredients of family and stories are the ones that Atkinson clearly values above all.
Here you'll find a series of thoughtful essays on what food means — to him (Greg Atkinson), and to all of us — followed by the sort of recipes that an average home cook can easily tackle, and serve proudly to her favorite people, knowing they'll be pleased.
At the Kitchen Table: the Craft of Cooking at Home is quite simply, a perfect book. Part collection of short stories and nostalgia, part pontification, and part cookbook, Mr. Atkinson, through each chapter, takes us on the overused culinary journey.
Food Beat NW