Upon the recommendation from my foodie sister, I have been a loyal blog reader of Dinner: A Love Story for a couple years. Jenny, Andy, Abby and Phoebe feel like my favorite neighbors, so without a second thought, I immediately pre-ordered Dinner: A Love Story, the cookbook/memoir.
Jenny and Andy are both magazine editors/executives and Jenny worked in the now-defunct (and sorely missed) Cookie Magazine. I have been enjoying Jenny and Andy’s simple, real and fresh recipes on the blog for a while now, and I can attest that each one we have tried has been delicious and accessible.
But my favorite part of this book is the narrative. I sat down and felt like I was having an easy conversation with my best friend over skinny lattes at my local Starbucks. Jenny’s voice is pitch-perfect — not too judgey and not too kitschy. I like her self-depricating snark mixed with her romantic notions of the family dinner table. I also loved that Jenny meets readers where they are — whether you have never made a dinner from scratch or you are a “foodie,” her life lessons and recipes apply equally.
Below are two of my favorite excerpts that capture the essence and the message of the book:
“But my point is, even though the most important part of the family dinner is the family part, I do not want you to dismiss the role of caring in the equation. The more you care, the more you’ll cook, and the more you cook, the better you’ll get, and the better you get, the more firmly the family dinner ritual will take hold. It’s probably going to be a long time before my kids recognize in a conscious way that eating a meal with someone who loves them satisfies some psychological need. But for now I’m pretty sure that they’re psyched to show up for the pork chops. And I have no problem with that.” (page 297)
Quoting with a friend with teenagers: “‘You know, when they were little, dinner was such a pain in the ass. All the kids did was complain about what I cooked. It was such a thankless job.’ She went on, ‘Now that they’re older I’ll cook anything they ask for. I’ll cook five different meals if it means they’ll all sit down with me for dinner.’….I call [this scene] up and then force myself to think : Lucky. Feel lucky. They are sitting at the table. They are seven and nine years old.” (page 298)
(copyright 2012 Jenny Rosenstrach)
Watch this trailer, and I dare you not to develop an intense girl crush on Jenny!
We struggle with a picky preschooler and an early-to-bed infant every night, but on some sacred evenings, the stars align and the preschooler, the infant, and my hard-working husband and I are sitting at the very same dinner table that I used growing up, and Cheese-y Peas-y Chicken Orzo is being enjoyed by all of the dinner participants who eat solid food, and it’s the most beautiful, lovely, happy moments of the day, the week, the month.
This book celebrates encourages and celebrates these divine occurrences. Read it!