Before actors and Food Network stars Jazz, Jake, Jurnee, and Jussie Smollett conquered Hollywood, they spent their childhood crisscrossing the United States. Moving coast to coast thirteen times, they car-tripped to small towns and big cities across America.
But no matter where they lived, two things remained constant: their incredible family feasts and the long, wooden kitchen table where they shared food and lived their lives. Each time they arrived in a new home, their mother would transform planks of hard wood into a smooth, varnished butcher block table in a beloved ritual that took three days. That hand-crafted table would become the heart of the Smollett clan, where the most important and cherished events and accomplishments, no matter how large or small, were honored, and where holidays were celebrated: Christmas, Easter, Passover, Chanukah, birthdays, milestones. With a mother from New Orleans and a Jewish father from New York who met and married in California, the Smollett kids were exposed to diverse culinary heritages and grew up open to all the deliciousness the world had to offer.
In this warm and personal book, the Smolletts invite us all to take a seat at their table and enjoy the good times and good food that help families thrive. The Family Table includes more than 130 delicious, comforting recipes that pay tribute to their past and present, including:Crispy Beef Lettuce WrapsPotato Crab Au GratinBrown Butter Lamb ChopsHoney Sriracha Chicken Skewers7th Ward GumboNorth African Chicken StewCast-Iron Strawberry-Rhubarb Pie
These favorite recipes from the Smolletts are suitable for intimate dinners and fabulous feasts alike, but more than that, The Family Table is a remarkable portrait of a loving, all-American family, rich with traditions that they continue to build to this day.
In addition to her recipes, Anna’s mother shared stories from her time in Italy that her daughter had never heard before, intriguing tales that whetted Anna’s appetite to learn more. Reaching out to her friends whose mothers were also immigrants, Anna began cooking with dozens of women who were eager to share their unique memories and the foods of their homelands.
In Heirloom Kitchen, Anna brings together the stories and dishes of forty-five strong, exceptional women, all immigrants to the United States, whose heirloom recipes have helped shape the landscape of American food. Organized by region, the 100 tantalizing recipes include:Magda’s Pork Adobo from the PhillippinesShari’s Fersenjoon, a walnut and pomegranate stew, from IranTina’s dumplings from Northern ChinaAnna’s mother’s Calabrian Meatballs from Southern Italy
In addition to the dishes, these women share their recollections of coming to America, stories of hardship and happiness that illuminate the power of food—how cooking became a comfort and a respite in a new land for these women, as well as a tether to their native cultural identities.
Accented with 175 photographs, including food shots, old family photographs, and ephemera of the cooks’ first years in America—such as Soon Sun’s recipe book pristinely handwritten in Korean or Bea’s cherished silver pitcher, a final gift from her own mother before leaving Serbia—Heirloom Kitchen is a testament to empowerment and strength, perseverance and inclusivity, and a warm and inspiring reminder that the story of immigrant food is, at its core, a story of American food.