This is a generous book. To begin, it has 200 recipes, which is an abundance these days when some books trumpet that they have 80 or 100.
But beyond that, it's a book that proceeds from a profound faith that having family and friends over to dinner, and putting even just a little effort into it, is a good thing."People are lonely," Sifton writes. "They want to be part of something." And a meal with good food and good people is a great way to offer them that.
If it seems like a daunting task, keep in a mind that this is not a collection of grand feast recipes. It has chapters called "Big Pots," "Rice and Beans," "Pasta," "Taco Night," and "A Few Words About Salad." There are some hearty lasagnas, but also "Spaghetti with Butter and Swiss Cheese," for which you now know all the ingredients except black pepper.
There are riffs on restaurant foods, like Mapo Ragù that Sifton came up with after eating at Momofuku Ssãm Bar. And there are dead simple desserts of fruit cobbler variety that you can make with anything you love. So if you're feeling as if the world could use a little less separation and a little more community, maybe this book is for you.
Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.