Dinner at the Long Table

In Dinner at the Long Table, restaurateur Andrew Tarlow (owner of Brooklyn's Diner, Marlow & Sons and others) and Anna Dunn (Diner Journal editor-in-chief, Saltie coauthor) offer recipes and stories about what the people in the restaurant industry cook in their own homes.

They provide 17 meals' worth of recipes that are often exciting, risky or both--and cocktails to help in either case. The structure is for dinner parties, designed to serve between six and 10 people. Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisines suffuse many of the meals, which are organized seasonally. Highlights include a feast for the new year; a lunch of pickled eggs, panzanella and fried calamari sandwiches by the sea; and a harvest-inspired meal of sweet corn arancini, roasted fennel with fried quinoa, eggplant gratin and shortcake with sugar peaches.

This cookbook demands a fearless streak. Cook times? Rarely specified, although one meal requires three days of prep. Even Tarlow and Dunn admit the difficulty: their recipe for aioli is titled "I almost always fail." The writers pepper kitchen wisdom and humor throughout, making Dinner at the Long Table a delight to read. On browning meat, they offer this tip: "If the smoke alarm goes off, the pot is probably too hot."

This is not the cookbook to grab when dinner needs to be on the table in 30 minutes. Its culinary creativity and wisdom are meant to be relished with a glass of wine, inspiring sweet and savory dreams of the possibilities rendered by a meal well cooked. --Katie Weed, freelance writer and reviewer

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