Cover image for Barbarians at the plate : taming and feeding of the American family
Barbarians at the plate : taming and feeding of the American family
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Perigee, 2005.
Physical Description:
viii, 232 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.


Material Type
Call Number
Item Available
Book 641.555 CAL 1 1

On Order



A wry and practical guide to the family meal. Veteran food writer and columnist Marialisa Calta offers advice, strategies, and recipes from families across the country, addressing the peculiar challenges and delights of enjoying dinner as a family. Part cookbook, part survival manual, part humor book, part voyeuristic peek into our neighbors' kitchens, Barbarians at the Plateis a field guide to an all-too-endangered species these days: the family meal. Barbarians at the Platecovers: - Last-minute meals - Slow-cookers and other effort-saving appliances - Barbecuing - Making the most of leftovers - Accommodating picky eaters - Creating mealtime traditions - Getting everyone to participate in cooking and clean-up - Insights into the ways families survive and thrive around the dinner table

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Stories of family dinners gone awry?from children crawling under the table and pretending to be kitties to finicky eaters who reject everything on the menu?pepper this down-to-earth handbook for weeknight family dinners. ?When I started this project, I kept hearing about men who regularly cook weeknight dinners on a regular basis, and fully expected to find them. I didn?t,? writes Calta, who focuses on her target audience: women, some single, some married, who have a family to feed, at least one job and too little time. Easy recipes include Stroganoff-ish Leftover Roast Beef, complete with canned mushrooms and ketchup, Almost-Instant Mashed Potatoes, and 13 slow-cooker recipes, ranging from bland (Turkey Legs) to flavorful (Mexican Pork and Hominy Stew) with tips for freezing, pre-cooking and leftovers. Snobbery-free and realistic, Calta gives tips for civilizing take-out?add homemade salsa to take-out burritos, for example?and speeding up simple dishes like macaroni and cheese while still cooking from scratch. Calta places recipes into two sections: meals for planners, those who slow-cook, freeze and plan ahead; and strategies for last-minute cooks, those who stir-fry, grill and saute. Tales of family dinners and tips for dinner conversation, healthy substitutes and recipe variations are scattered throughout the book. This disjointed organization can be confusing but, overall, this is a beginner-accessible cookbook that will encourage even the most time-crunched mother. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Library Journal Review

Calta's book might be subtitled The Importance of the Dinner Table, for she strongly believes in family meals eaten together. Yet she recognizes the realities of today's hectic lifestyles and here offers workable solutions for busy moms and dads. "Strategies for Planners" provides recipes to be made in the slow cooker or cooked ahead and frozen, along with "Once-a-Week Recipes," big dishes that guarantee plenty of leftovers; "Strategies for Last-Minute Cooks" includes stir-fries, saut?s, and other quickly made meals. The author, who writes a syndicated newspaper column called "Food," interviewed families across the country for this book; vignettes of dinnertime at these various households appear throughout. There are also appendixes on nutrition, shopping, and food safety, and each chapter concludes with a list of recommended cookbooks on the same subject. Although Barbarians isn't as entertaining as Ann Hodgman's One Bite Won't Kill You, any busy parent will find dozens of ideas and easy recipes here. Recommended. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.