Sunday, November 29, 2020

43 Tables: An Internet Community Cooks During Quarantine.

What happens when a pandemic forces food lovers to stay home for a while? Cooking commences. And when it happens to my internet community, books happen. Come take a look inside this unusual cookbook created with recipes from 43 contributors.

When the pandemic response called for self-isolation and the closing of schools here in Arkansas, I did like many others did - retreated into my home and attempted to find some new normalcy. I had a pretty busy schedule planned for the spring. Sadly, those public appearances, speeches, travel and stories didn't happen. We weren't sure what was safe and I was concerned about accidentally spreading the virus to the folks I cover - many of whom are high-risk or of the older, more seasoned population.

Being off the road gave me the opportunity to spend more time with my daughter, partner, and mom. It also meant I had time to catch up with other people on social media. What I saw coming across my newsfeed was a change. When I started showing photos I'd taken in restaurants in 2007, it was an oddity, but over time everyone was shooting their plates. The change was sudden, but widespread: everyone was cooking. Folks were making bread, sourdough starters, and canning their own foods. Dishes that hadn't appeared for decades began popping up as folks went back to their old family cookbooks. It was glorious.

Best of all, I saw people on my feed who didn't really connect before, sharing their recipes and tips and advice. Some even became good internet friends.

That's the idea behind 43 Tables: An Internet Community Cooks During Quarantine. We were all having a rough time of things, whether it was through job loss or handling the new reality of educating our kids at home, and we needed a bright spot. I was one of the many who found my income sharply curtailed, so I very much understand. I didn't have funds to help everyone out, but I could provide a smile.

Within 43 Tables, there are 80 recipes. They come from the 43 contributors who reached me through Facebook. Honestly, I just sent out a call on Facebook, and folks responded. The recipes are widely varied and range from simple casseroles to marvelous cassoulet; sweet rolls and salads and soups and sweets. All the photographs come from the people who submitted the recipes; the photos come from cell phones, and are taken where they were produced, in the kitchens of individuals who turned out sustenance to their own when times were tough. 

The book is a moment in an uncertain time, a culinary record of what happened in those scary months. It's singular in its composition and subject matter - I have yet to find any other compilation created like this during the pandemic. COVID-19 may have kept us in our homes, but it did not quell the desire to break bread with one another. These dishes may have been served on 43 different tables, but even separated, we all dined together.

You can acquire your own copy of 43 Tables in a variety of ways. If you'd like to order them straight through Tonti Press, you can click through to the store. You'll find my other eight books there as well. Here's a direct link to the 43 Tables page.

If you'd rather purchase with PayPal, here you go.

If you're looking for the book locally, I highly suggest purchasing yours from Wordsworth Books.

And you can order the book through other retailers, including:

No comments:

Post a Comment

Be kind.