"The Endless Table: Recipes from Departed Loved Ones" includes recipes and personal memories from top chefs in the United States, including Ina Garten, Christopher Kimball and Jose Andres. Many are sweet remembrances, like Amanda Hesser sharing her great-grandmother Edith White's pound cake recipe.
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In 2010, Jose Andres taught 16-year-old brain cancer patient David Pearson how to make this paella to incorporate more vegetables into his diet. "That was the beginning of a friendship that gave me more than I gave to David," Andres said. When Pearson passed away in 2012, the first meal they made together became the dish that Andres made for Pearson's loved ones at the celebration of his life.
Jasper White shared his paternal grandmother Aida Padagrosi's recipe for baccala (salt cod) salad. It is one of his favorite dishes and part of an antipasti tradition Padagrosi brought with her from Rome when she emigrated. His grandmother was also the woman who inspired White to cook and become a chef.
The summer that Kathy Gunst was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, she found herself receiving pep talks from her friend and neighbor, Dan, who was dying from esophageal cancer. When Dan's wife brought Gunst a basket of peaches from the tree in their front yard, the chef decided to turn it into a pie full of "healing magic" for Dan. Although he had little appetite because of chemotherapy, Dan had three giant slices. Gunst, who recovered after a year of chemotherapy, still misses her friend.