The Pollan Family Table: The Best Recipes and Kitchen Wisdom for Delicious, Healthy Family Meals

By | January 6, 2016

A BookPage Best Cookbook of 2015

Winner of the Gourmand International Cookbook Award 2015, Best in the World, Best First Cookbook.

A gorgeous, fully illustrated collection of recipes, cooking techniques, and pantry wisdom for delicious, healthy, and harmonious family meals from the incredible Pollan family—with a foreword from Michael Pollan.

In The Pollan Family Table, Corky, Lori, Dana, and Tracy Pollan invite you into their warm, inspiring kitchens, sharing more than 100 of their family’s best recipes. For generations, the Pollans have used fresh, local ingredients to cook healthy, irresistible meals. Michael Pollan, whose bestselling books have changed our culture and the way we think about food, writes in his foreword about how the family meals he ate growing up shaped his worldview. This stunning and practical cookbook gives readers the tools they need to implement the Pollan food philosophy in their everyday lives and to make great, nourishing, delectable meals that bring families back to the table.

Standouts like Grand Marnier Citrus Roasted Chicken, Crispy Parmesan Zucchini Chips, and Key Lime Pie with Walnut Oatmeal Crust are easy to make yet sophisticated enough to dazzle family and friends. With hundreds of exquisite color photographs, The Pollan Family Table includes the Pollan’s top cooking tips and techniques, time-tested shortcuts, advice for those just starting out and market and pantry lists that make shopping for and preparing dinner stress-free. This instant kitchen classic will help readers create incredible meals and cultivate traditions that improve health, well-being, and family happiness.

Guest Review of The Pollan Family Table by Michael J. Fox

Michael J. Fox

Photo Credit: John Kernick

Michael J. Fox

Photo Credit: Mark Seliger

In the interest of full disclosure, you should know that the authors of The Pollan Family Table are my wife, Tracy Pollan; her sisters Lori and Dana; and my mother-in-law, Corky. My brother-in-law, Michael Pollan, the Carl Sagan of food, wrote the foreword. Spoiler alert: my review is a rave.

How could it not be? Notwithstanding the fact that I’d like to keep my place at that eponymous table—one that I’ve had the privilege to hold for some twenty-five years—I can honestly and enthusiastically report that this collection of recipes, reflections, and gorgeous color photographs is a thoughtfully conceived, beautifully realized, invaluable asset to any family making dinner plans. Moreover, it’s a paean to those moments, however brief or infrequent they may be, when we gather the people we love and share a meal.

So much can get in the way of preparing and convening for a regular family dinner. But this book offers solutions to those problems with simple recipes that cater to any taste or occasion, running the gamut from soup (Creamless Broccoli Soup with Whole Roasted Garlic and Frizzled Leeks) to nuts (Key Lime Pie with Walnut Oatmeal Crust).

And there is something in this book you will love, no matter your appetite or dietary restrictions. Even non-vegetarians will rejoice at what I believe to be the most perfect veggie burger on the planet, the Supreme Crispy Quinoa Vegetable Burger. Seafood lovers are well served here, too, with favorite recipes like Smoky Sautéed Shrimp. And just looking at the Citrus-Roasted Chicken with Grand Marnier triggers a Proustian flashback, bringing to mind not only the aroma and juicy, subtle flavor but also a cascade of memories, conversations, plans hatched, jokes and stories told and retold at family get-togethers. The familiar food and setting provide a continuum. Proust describes it as “Time regained.” Marty McFly might exclaim, “You built a time machine . . . out of a beef tenderloin?”

Every family’s story develops around its own table. You share the moments, both seminal and trivial, that over time become your life. For us, it’s a banquette in the breakfast nook of our New York apartment. In the chaotic process of raising four children, we have put in so much time around our own table—not only with meals but also with homework and art projects and games of Clue—that Tracy and I have had to reupholster the bench seats at least half a dozen times.

But the definitive PFT is the trestle table in the dining room of Corky and Stephen’s Connecticut home. As the family multiplied, there became less and less space for new spouses and their offspring and weekend guests, boyfriends, girlfriends, etc. Corky says that she and Stephen “were determined the family tradition would continue, with everyone able to sit together, rather than relegating the youngest to ‘the kids’ table.’ So ours became the ever-lengthening table.” When the table grew too large for the room, Corky and Stephen extended the house, knocking out a wall in the dining room to provide extra space for another half-dozen happy cousins.

So, yes, this is a book of delicious recipes, complete with pantry and market lists and tips on essential utensils and homespun advice; but what makes it compelling on the human level is its insistence that the family meal is not a thing of the past. The Pollan Family Table reassures that best intentions can be put into action and the results can enrich your family’s life in ways that are both harmonious and healthy. Corky, Lori, Tracy, and Dana share what they know so you can share with those you love. As I said, full disclosure: you knew it was going to be a rave because, after all . . . this is what my life tastes like.

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2 Comments

Larry Mark MyJewishBooksDotCom on 01/06/2016 at 08:45.

Celebrating and reinforcing family meals, zesting up simple recipes A very happy cookbook with a family focus. The chances that we will marry into the Pollan family or be invited over for dinner are small; so this is the next best thing.I recommend the Pollan signature salad that includes mesclun, walnuts, pear, and a mustard, raspberry vinegar, olive oil, balsamic vinegar dressing (it is made by each of the sisters, their mother and brother; and it is requested by their friends and family for potlucks); the golden baby artichokes with lemon zest;…

Marjorie V on 01/06/2016 at 09:11.

Back in the kitchen! The authors of this outstanding cookbook are looking to reach folks like me — people who wish to put home-cooked meals on the table, but lack confidence in the kitchen. Thanks to them, I have already prepared two delicious family dinners with home-baked desserts to unanimous accolades.The Perfect Roast Chicken Dinner in One Hour was exactly that. It was the most succulent chicken I have ever made; there wasn’t a morsel left on the bones at the end of our family’s meal. For dessert,…

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