The Shared Table: Vegetarian and Vegan Fasts to Cook for Your Crowd
“For many people food is a ‘language of love and cooking a meal for someone can be such a clear way of showing care.’”
Food is a universal need that can be consumed alone or with others. In her recent cookbook Clare Scrine reveals the benefits of eating and cooking for friends, family, crowds, and community. In this book the reader gets acquainted with how “food unites its local community.” The Shared Table is a cookbook with stories about the positive effects of sharing meals with people who intersect with our lives. The result is a more fulfilled life with psychological benefits such as lifting our mood, learning social skills, and building a stronger community.
The Shared Table is a vegetarian and vegan cookbook whose focus is preparing meals for large groups of people who come together to partake of delicious concoctions. These people might be housemates, members of your religious community, your family, or any combination one could imagine.
In the United States these types of meals usually occur at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but they can happen on any holiday or for no reason at all. Cooking these shared meals is an amazing way to connect with each other. For many people food is a “language of love and cooking a meal for someone can be such a clear way of showing care.”
Clare Scrine, by writing The Shared Table is, in fact, sharing her love of food with the world. This cookbook exudes love, warmth, and bonding with others.
The cookbook is divided into eight non-traditional chapters focusing on specific themes. A Mediterranean dinner party, a pasta night, and a comfort food spread reflect the author’s creativity. The hangover brunch chapter as well as the “eat it with your hands” chapter showcase some of the more unusual recipes.
Cooking and eating with friends and sharing one’s food offers many benefits. It brings people together to cook and get better acquainted with each other. No one should be exempt from the cleanup. Everyone participates in all aspects of creating a meal.
There are real psychological benefits that go along with cooking for others and sharing the eating experience. Imagine a summer’s afternoon leisurely grazing a meal with friends. It’s a potluck that the reader has put together, and each guest is responsible for bringing a dish that fits the theme of the day, which is a leisurely long lunch.
The slaw salad offers a cooling side dish to the pad Thai salad with tofu. The ingredients in these recipes are unique combinations such as a vegan potato and broccolini salad. The eggplant with tahini and pomegranates comes together easily. It is enhanced with a tomato salsa and toasted almonds which is spooned and scattered over the eggplant. The dessert of cheesecake brownies with raspberry is a vegetarian rather than a vegan compilation. Made with real butter, eggs, and cream cheese, a vegan might choose to make an exception to their vegan eating to experience a truly scrumptious bar.
The photography draws the reader into Clare Scrine’s world. The pictures of food are mouth-watering. The urge to bake the muffins and experiment with a recipe for bagels with everything topping is irresistible. The smiles and laughter as the author shares food at the table with friends has the reader planning their next Sunday brunch or picnic.
The reader of The Shared Table will discover that the difficulty of recreating these recipes covers the spectrum. The novice as well as the seasoned home cook will discover something they can execute.
Guy Fieri, a well-known television cook, wraps it up for the reader:
“Cooking is all about people. Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people get together to eat.”