Jordan and I gave this book for one another for Christmas. We each bought one and then actually exchanged them in the bookstore. Ridiculous. She joked that I had just written a post about how I never buy cookbooks, and now I was going to have to fess up.
I read it Thanksgiving weekend, and it affirmed what I have always known. Cooking is better than entertianing. A hastily set table when the food is hot is better than a perfect one that's been set in anxiety. Sharing leftovers is better than withholding an invitation because all you have is a pot of beans.
One of the most important lessons in my life came about 12 years ago when we were living in a little duplex in South Seattle. Our neighbors were a mulitgenerational Latino family who shared everything with us. On Sundays, they would knock at the door and invite us for posole, and we'd drop everything and go even if we'd already cooked something. We'd sit on their couch slurping and getting stuffed.
The grandmother and young wife worked at McDonalds and they would often bring us McDonalds apple pies from their shift. Since I had tasted their posole, I knew how amazing their cooking was. But their point wasn't to wow us--it was to share. And the thoughtfulness behind the apple pies was the same as the thoughtfulness behind the posole, tamales, and carnitas. I learned true hospitality from them. It is not about having a lot, but about sharing what you have.