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Released earlier this month from VeloPress, Feed Zone Table: Family-Style Meals to Nourish Life and Sport becomes the third cookbook in what is now a trilogy from Boulder-based Skratch Labs founder Dr. Allen Lim and partner in crime chef Biju Thomas. (Thomas is also co-owner of the popular Biju’s Little Curry Shop.)
First came the original Feed Zone Cookbook (2011), which brought Lim’s experience feeding professional cyclists to the mass market. Feed Zone Portables followed in 2013, in which the duo that took their philosophy of eating real food during training and racing, and taught serious athletes, weekend warriors, and even families out for hikes and mini-adventures how to make the take-it-with-you snacks and meals that Lim’s athletes had been winning with for years.
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But there was more to the story, over his 20 years working with elite professional athletes, Dr. Allen Lim saw athletes cut off from friends and family, developing what he calls a “bottleneck” in their ability to perform beyond a certain level. Those who found success, he says, were the ones who developed social connections, team spirit, and a sense of belonging that culminated at dinner time. When the hard work of the day was done, it was this meal that reinforced the social, communal bonds we all crave.
In their latest book, Table, Thomas and Lim returned to the kitchen to champion the evening meal and prove that social fuel may just be more important than chemical fuel; that food is more nutritious eaten together than it would be if we ate it alone.
“I’ve had this idea in mind since 1997 when I was a resident coach for the U.S. cycling team at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs,” Lim says. “Neither sports nor nutrition is solely about performance. The reality is that we value activity and food not just because we want to perform better, but also because both have this amazing ability to bring people together, to give us pleasure, and to feed our souls.”
The word Lim uses is commensality—the ancient ritual of sharing food, of processing, cooking and eating together—and to him, it’s everything. “What Biju and I share, and the foundation for the introduction of the book, is that we come from big immigrant families with a consistent tradition of sitting down at the table and sharing food, even if it wasn’t always a lot, we shared what food there was. And this support and unconditional love helped us become who we are today and is part of what allowed us both accomplish so much. It’s the simple family dinner that we grew up with. And we’ve tried to bring that to the teams that we’ve worked for,” he explain.
More than 100 all-new recipes flow over 336 pages, illustrated by 200-plus photographs in this full-color hardcover cookbook. Beyond the recipes and new techniques, however, it’s Lim’s stirring introduction that will inspire you to cook, and hopefully eat together, with your family.