Title: Dinner: A Love Story
Author: Jenny Rosenstratch
Published: 2012 Pages: 336
Food Type: Family Friendly (but varied)
Rating: Total Adoration with a caveat
In Short: Half memoir, half cookbook – Jenny Rosenstratch takes a look at the evolution of her dinner table from before her two kids, during the baby years, through the time when dinner magic finally occurred. She and her husband (but mostly Jenny) also write a blog of the same title.
The Layout: I’ve owned this book for two years and found it absolutely overwhelming. When flipping through the book, it’s tough to find order to the recipes included (and there’s no index in the beginning that lists the recipes in order). I made a few interesting sounding dishes and they were OK but not mindblowing. My love for DALS came when I finally sat down with the book and read it cover to cover more as a memoir than a cookbook. Jenny takes her reader on a journey from when she and her husband courted and started their dinner tradition all the way to their current dinners with two middle age daughters.
While it still makes it difficult to pick up the book and just flip to a recipe, reading through the book in its entirety helped give the story and recipes flow and I found myself loving the look at Jenny’s family dinners. I don’t agree with all of her suggestions–for example she fed her kids separate or dumbed down meals until they were over three–often eating dinner with her husband after the kids went to bed. This is not how we roll in our house. We all eat almost the same foods and certainly all at the same time. By the time the girls go to bed (around 8), I do not want to be eating a separate meal. I want the kitchen to be entirely clean so that I can just sit down and relax.
What I did love, though, was Jenny’s very frank discussion of motherhood, as a working mom and later as a more flex-work at home mom. It is exhausting, but it can be so rewarding. And while my kiddos are too young to be involved in activities in the evenings, I do greatly value the time at the dinner table and hope to continue to make it an important part of our daily routine for as much as I can. I loved the photographs that show real life. I loved her humor, her philosophy of getting everyone (especially) the littles involved, and her suggestions for how to make it all work.
There’s too much to talk about here. Pick up a copy from the library and browse through it, but if you buy a copy, do yourself a favor and actually read through it. I think you’ll appreciate the book on a much higher level.
What I made: And here’s the caveat. I didn’t love everything that I cooked. Mostly the chicken recipes. I struggle so much cooking flavorful and tender chicken breasts that I just don’t do it very often. We did have some homeruns, though, and several that I still have bookmarked to make. There is a TON of variety in this book!
Left: Bacony Chicken and Brussels Sprouts. Chicken lacked flavor and I’m the only one who eats Brussels sprouts. Whatevs.
Right: Great Grandma Turano’s Meatballs (and sauce). Delicious and we had enough meatballs to freeze. Next time I’ll make more sauce to freeze. Recipe on DALS Website
Also, Baked Chicken in Creamy Tomato Sauce (sauce was good, chicken was meh), and Chicken and Orzo Soup (good!). Seems like there should be more but my copy is in the other room.
Bottom Line: I have so much more to cook from in this book! But I’m so glad to have taken the time to sit down and read through this like a book. I absolutely recommend it to parents of young ones, but I think this book has pretty wide appeal.
Are you familiar with Dinner: A Love Story? Do you have any family dinner time tricks?
Linking up with:
I read and cooked from Dinner: A Love Story as part of Cook it Up: A Cookbook Challenge. The idea of the challenge is to dust off your cookbooks and put them to use. Link up the first Saturday monthly on Love, Laughter, Insanity.
Every weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking. “Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs.” Hope you’ll join the fun!