Cook the Book: 'One Big Table'

20110321-143260-one-big-table.jpgFor the past ten years, Molly O'Neill has travelled from coast to coast, cooking, eating, and chatting with home cooks, top chefs, street vendors and everyone in between, collecting recipes for One Big Table. Through her travels, O'Neill assembled a portrait of American cooking both accurate and intriguing. One Big Table is a survey of how food came to be in this country—immigrant cuisine, native foods, mom and pop diners, and all.

With more than 600 recipes, One Big Table as an invaluable cooking resource, showcasing the wide and varied climate of what American cooking can be. Taking elements from native cultures and mixing them with accessible American ingredients makes for a mix of dishes that is unique, eclectic, and utterly fascinating, like an African Chicken in California by way of Macau and a Hmong papaya salad in Minnesota.

O'Neill takes the time to introduce each recipe by telling the story of the dish's originator, bringing the reader into the kitchen in which the dish was created. These intros make One Big Table an extremely personal cookbook; stories are shared alongside recipes, giving already very authentic recipes an even more homey feel.

This week we are going to be embarking on our own mini road trip, traveling around the country and testing out recipes from One Big Table. We'll begin in Texas with an Avocado and Shrimp Salad created in a classy Houston department store, drive up to South Carolina for some Creamy Grits and Chard and test out some Somali Sambusa made with Chinese egg roll wrappers.

Win 'One Big Table'

Thanks to the generous folks over at Simon & Schuster, we are giving away five (5) copies of One Big Table this week. All you have to do is tell us about a dish that most represents the diversity of American food in the comments section below.

The standard Serious Eats contest rules apply.