This refreshing, nonpreachy memoir/family cookbook is based on the author’s Dinner: A Love Story blog and the meal diary she started keeping in 1998. All recipes, which are organized like a journal in chronological order, are for dishes she’s actually made in the various phases of her adult life (from just married through having school-age children). A former editor for Real Simple and Cookie magazines, Rosenstrach doesn’t claim to spend hours each day preparing meals for her family (she doesn’t have time for that), but she does cook for and eat with her family often, and says that “has done more to foster togetherness and impart meaning and joy into my family’s life on a daily basis than just about anything I can think of.” She’s realistic about it, though—she refers to new parenthood as “the years it felt like a bomb exploded any semblance of routine and normalcy in the kitchen”—and she approaches food with a sense of humor (a section entitled “Kale: Why the Hell Not?” is a winner). And there are plenty of quick and kid-approved recipes that don’t involve chicken nuggets or mac-and-cheese. Starter Curry: curried chicken with apples; spicy shrimp with yogurt; peanut butter noodles; and baked chicken in creamy tomato sauce are easy to prepare. There are also recipes for dinner parties, like pork shoulder ragu with pappardelle, and tips for “pulling off a dinner party with children underfoot.” And mostly there’s plenty of inspiration and entertainment, making this a worthwhile read for any home cook—and any parent. Agent: Elyse Cheney. (June)
Jenny Rosenstrach, and her husband, Andy, regularly, some might say pathologically, cook dinner for their family every night. Even when they work long days. Even when their kids' schedules pull them in eighteen different directions. They are not superhuman. They are not from another planet.
With simple strategies and common sense, Jenny figured out how to break down dinner—the food, the timing, the anxiety, from prep to cleanup—so that her family could enjoy good food, time to unwind, and simply be together.
Using the same straight-up, inspiring voice that readers of her award-winning blog, Dinner: A Love Story, have come to count on, Jenny never judges and never preaches. Every meal she dishes up is a real meal, one that has been cooked and eaten and enjoyed at least a half dozen times by someone in Jenny's house. With inspiration and game plans for any home cook at any level, Dinner: A Love Story is as much for the novice who doesn't know where to start as it is for the gourmand who doesn't know how to start over when she finds herself feeding an intractable toddler. This book is, in fact, for anyone interested in learning how to make a meal to be shared with someone they love, and about how so many good, happy things happen when we do.
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"At first glance, it’s a cookbook, based on a blog, by Jenny Rosenstrach, a magazine columnist and editor who lives outside New York City. But really, it’s a memoir, and also a how-to manual: a smart, pragmatic, warm and thoughtful guide…"
"…compelling…more than just another cookbook. We love Rosenstrach because her writing is natural, honest, and smart"
"The family dinner, that forum for manners, taste-making, storytelling, and memorable arguments, is no small subject. Jenny Rosenstrach tackles it with gusto as she shares her fascinating story of learning to feed her family....[N]ot only a wonderful read, but a book studded with excellent recipes and tips."
"Warm, funny, packed with recipes and photos, and reassuringly nonjudgmental, it will help inspire the most faint-hearted of cooks to pre-heat the oven."
"Dinner gives me hope that one day my family will also assemble around an actual table and eat an actual meal that was actually cooked by me; a meal not solely comprised of animal shaped cheese crackers dipped in hummus. Although those are good too."
"I can’t decide which I like morereading this book or cooking from it. Jenny is that rare writer who can literally make you laugh and cryand most importantly, she inspires you to stop just talking about dinner and start making it."
"Part cookbook, part survival guide, Dinner: A Love Story has all of Jenny’s favorite meal ideas, suppertime tips, and cook’s secrets (read: cocktails) that help make dinner fun again"
"Jenny Rosenstrach writes about food and family with such a marvelous spirit of warmth, friendship and-most importantly-pragmatism that you simply can’t help but fall in love with her. As long as people keep having kids, jobs, marriages and appetites, this cookbook is destined to remain a classic."
Like Rosenstrach, I cook dinner every night, but I wasn't smart enough to launch a blog about it that ranks number four on the top 100 food mom blogs on Babble, averages 107,000 monthly visits, won Rosenstrach coverage in the New York Times and Martha Stewart's Whole Living, and has even been optioned for film. With 150,000-copy first printing.
A guide to getting dinner on the table for couples, new parents and families. Rosenstrach (co-author: Time for Dinner: Strategies, Inspiration, and Recipes for Family Meals Every Night of the Week, 2010) reflects on a life of cooking, dispensing anecdotes and recipes in a formula similar to other recent memoir-cookbook hybrids, such as Kathleen Flinn's The Kitchen Counter Cooking School (2011). While both authors offer advice, encouragement and recipes for reluctant cooks, Rosenstrach's personal recollections cover a wider swath of her life, from newlywed to exhausted new parent to working mother. In 1998, the author began a diary of every dinner she had, at home or elsewhere, and she draws on this resource to show how she managed to balance work with family time. Rosenstrach presents the recipes in a mix of the traditional cookbook format and a more casual blogger-like style (with measurements like "3 to 4 good glugs of olive oil"), but they all rely on fresh, simple, easy-to-prepare food. The author pairs the recipes with advice, such as how to adapt to the picky palates of kids. Although it would be easy to envy someone with an ability to come home from a long day at work and manage to cook a dinner of scallops with lentil rice, Rosenstrach dispels any hard feelings with a charming, amiable writing style and funny asides. A humorous and encouraging book for readers who believe in the importance of family dinnertime.