Writing The Community Table


Here’s a secret I want to share with you:  I don’t follow recipes.   

Can you imagine how tricky that made it to write a cookbook!

Yup.  The part where I had to write down recipes was really laborious.  It just doesn’t come naturally to me to ‘bother’ with measurements.  A taste here and there and a knowing of what herbs go with what is enough for me unless I’m trying something completely knew. 

My mum was a cook.  Growing up, at the dinner table we analyzed what we ate.  It was a game we’d play.  We always ate good food so our analysis was never a negative criticism – it was more of a curiosity about flavour.  Back then I wondered how my mother was able to cook.  The idea that I might grow up and be able to cook for other people seemed outside the realm of possibility.  And how on earth did grown ups find their way around in cars?  These two things: cooking and driving, seemed like great impossible grown up puzzles.

But I learnt to cook.  Apparently I’d absorbed much through osmosis.  My mother refused to teach me, step by step, how to cook, and she certainly was not interested in her children being in charge of a meal in case we produced something unsavory.   I believe it was the flavor game and the regular discussion of ingredients that gave me a good cooking foundation and just being in the kitchen whilst she cooked. 

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The way I ate as a child was part good and part bad.  We never ate fast food.  Our meals were all cooked from scratch.  However my sweet tooth and my love of bread and other wheaty treats did not serve me well into my teens and adulthood.  I’ve written about this in other places (check out my story of food and the intro to The Community Table).   In my late twenties and thirties I had to discover new foods, new recipes, and new staples for every day meals because gluten and sugar were playing havoc with my health.   

I discovered that eating differently made me feel so much better.  It was enough to inspire me to see if it made a difference for my clients too.  Guess what?  It did.   Over and over I saw changes in other people’s health when they ate better. 

Changing lives for the better (my own included) delights me.   Armed with this delight I started writing The Community Table cook-book.  As soon as I hit a wall with writing down and creating recipes (due to my dislike of figuring out exact measurements) I realized I needed a new strategy.  That’s when I thought about guest contributors.  And when I figured that piece out, the book became so much better!  It feels like a potluck of the most delicious foods, inspired by the wisdom of many.  It’s a book that draws in the brilliance of others to support my own good recipes.  It’s a book that feels like family because I love the people who’ve contributed.

I believe food is meant for sharing, hence the title, The Community Table.  Food is meant to nourish the whole family and I will be forever grateful for the support of my community in providing recipes that make my book better.  I’d never had a matcha smoothie with turmeric before Upinder gave me her fabulous recipe. And I will always remember eating Alma’s chicken on a Sunday night with plenty of prosecco and the best company of the Escofet family.  

I hope you enjoy the 14 days of tasty, clean, gluten free eating in The Community Table.  The recipes are delicious and I highly recommend you glance at the measurements but make everything to taste – to your palate. (With one exception – Sugar – our palates get very friendly with sugar so we usually need to do a sugar detox and reset our taste buds).