At My Table
A Celebration of Home Cooking
By Nigella Lawson
What Nigella is also celebrating in this cookbook is the freedom of the home cooking. Home kitchen is where this exploratory kitchen goddess finds utmost pleasure in her daily living; and where she nourishes her unparalleled success as an author, a writer and a world-renowned Food TV chef, though she stated clearly that she does not consider herself as a career chef. “Home meals are important and delicious elements to a more beautiful life shared with families and friends,” she added.
Nigella believes cooking does not need to have a theme but does require some knowledge on cooking, essential kitchen tools and basic ingredients. “You do, however, need good recipes.” She adds. A theme-less meal may sound like a cliché coming from the kitchen champ who has achieved global fame as a TV cooking show goddess; sets food trends with her recipes, and cooks in a designer’s kitchen in front of the world gracefully. But it does not take much at all to buy into her ideas. Simply flip through At My Table and soon enough, a couple, if not more, of the recipes will catch your eyes, and the contemplation to cook them will follow. Having written 11 cookbooks that sold millions of copies, she is the authority to what recipes can do to the preparation of simple, sensible meals.
The recipes are very approachable and easy to follow as most of them are laid out methodically in conversational fashions. Nigella has the ability to deliver not just the recipes, but the stories and food notes in a warm and trustworthy tone. Tt is like learning how to cook from your grandma, your auntie or your mom. The fun and warm feeling of the family preparing and cooking together is a celebration in itself.
As big a celebrity as Nigella, nothing in the book is pretentious. No big terminology, no hard-to-get ingredients, nothing too finicky or superior, but familiar names and labels, relevant advices and valuable cooking tips. Her focus on the ingredients, the preparations and the procedures are as remarkable as the stories she tells. The ‘Make ahead and storage notes’ section is easy to follow. the luring pictures are a bonus.
Day to day dishes that can easily turn into a welcoming party food, e.g. deviled eggs, garlic and parmesan mashed potatoes and pork with prunes, olives and capers, are year-round gourmets for any festive tables, yet enjoyable for families and friends to share. The Lime and Cilantro Chicken recipe (page 138) is a fine example of using simple everyday ingredients and turn them into delectable meals. The abundance of dessert recipes will satisfy anyone with a mouthful of sweet teeth. Lemon Tendercake anyone?