“Food, family, and community have always been at the center of our lives,” write the authors of The Community Table. The three authors — all dedicated cooks, mothers, working women, and longtime JCC members — reflect the interests of their diverse and environmentally and health-conscious community in this collection of wholesome and varied recipes with an emphasis on local, seasonal, and organic ingredients. These are recipes for home cooks, and they brim with the pleasure the authors have when cooking for their family and friends.
Among the tempting possibilities are Iraqi Lamb Burgers with Mint Pesto, Red Lentil
Soup with Lime, Honey Cake with Grilled Peaches, and, of course, Great Roast Chicken. Two bread recipes are especially appealing — a basic challah shaped like a crown and stuffed with onions and poppy seeds for Purim and a challah circling a bowl of honey for Rosh Hashanah. Throughout the book there are occasional pages reporting on the programs of JCCs around the country, often in the service of the greater community, underlining one of the missions of the organization.
An introductory chapter describes the authors’ guidelines for shopping and for stocking their pantries. A sidebar illustrates a host of helpful kitchen equipment, small utensils useful for specific tasks. Appendixes list the recipes by dairy, meat, and pareve, as well as kosher for Passover; suggest menus for Shabbat and festivals; and include metric conversion tables. A handsome large-format book with excellent color photographs, The Community Table offers inviting, straightforward recipes that will gather any family around the table. Appendixes, index, full-color photographs.
Maron L. Waxman, retired editorial director, special projects, at the American Museum of Natural History, was also an editorial director at HarperCollins and Book-of-the-Month Club.