Dinner: A Love Story is a cookbook/memoir that covers all the things that can happen at the family dinner table during all stages of a family’s life. That means it covers the Just-Moved-in-Together Stage, the Just-Married Stage, the New Parent Stage, the Bonafide All-Parties-Present-and-Eating Stage. It contains nearly 120 recipes (favorites from this blog as well as brand new soon-to-be favorites) and over 50 color photographs. It is a book for anyone reaching a milestone — moving in together, getting married, having a baby — as well as anyone who thinks that ending the day with a shared meal is, well…just about the best way to end a day.
“[Rosenstrach's] book is an engaging memoir first, a lifestyle primer second. She has written a work of popular nonfiction that would stand on its own as literature with or without the recipes and domestic survival tips…DALS is so much more than a cookbook. AMY FINNERTY, LA Review of Books (read entire review here)
“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.” ELIZABETH GILBERT, author of Eat, Pray, Love
“I can’t decide which I like more—reading this book or cooking from it. Jenny is that rare writer who can literally make you laugh and cry—and most importantly, she inspires you to stop just talking about dinner and start making it.” – ADAM RAPOPORT, editor-in-chief, Bon Appetit
“Cookbook as pageturner? Yes. Dinner: A Love Story is not just great recipes. It’s the story of becoming a family.” ELISABETH EGAN, Self Magazine
“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. Dinner: A Love Story is not only a wonderful read, but a book studded with excellent recipes and tips.” – AMANDA HESSER, co-founder Food52, author of The New York Times Cookbook
“Dinner: A Love Story 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 peanut butter. Although those are good too.” - SAMANTHA BEE, correspondent, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart
“Anyone who wants to shape family dinner into a time of greater enjoyment and engagement will find Dinner: A Love Story a terrific guide. Warm, funny, packed with recipes and photos, and reassuringly nonjudgmental, it will help inspire the most fainhearted of cooks to preheat the oven.” GRETCHEN RUBIN, bestselling author of The Happiness Project
““[Rosenstrach] entertains with her wonderful writing skills, persuades by sharing her successful strategies, and educates via research and relayed experience… this book shines.” JANE HERBET, Library Journal
From Dinner: A Love Story
“Every meal that you read about in Dinner: A Love Story is a real meal. And I don’t mean “real” in the way the real food movement folks mean “real” (i.e., wholesome and unprocessed, though they are that, too). I mean that these meals really happened. These are the meals and menus we have served up for family dinners, romantic dinners, dinners for bosses, dinners for friends, dinners for one, dinners for two, dinners for food snobs, dinners for seven five-year-olds, and five seven-year-olds, ski house vacation dinners, beach house vacation dinners, quick Tuesday night dinners, long, luxurious Sunday night dinners, engagement dinners, birthday dinners, outdoor dinners, dinners after the soccer game, dinners before trick-or-treating, picnic dinners, patio dinners, snow-day dinners, potluck dinners, date-night dinners, and dinners for just about any occasion that can happen in the span of saying “I do” (or “I do want to sign that lease with you”) to sending your two kids off to UNC with a full scholarship to play soccer (she says hopefully). Though there weren’t enough pages in this book to flesh out all four thousand dinners I’ve recorded in my diary, you’ll be getting a “greatest hits” in chronological order beginning in 1998 and ending in 2011. Nothing has been engineered, nothing has been reimagined and refined by a test kitchen staffed with culinary school graduates. On a few occasions, I’ve enlisted some help wrangling an unwritten family favorite into conventional format or tweaked some recipes that were in desperate need of updating. (Trust me, the gloppy baked pasta I made for dinner guests in 1998 wouldn’t fly in 2012.) But other than that, every meal you see here has been cooked and eaten at least a half dozen times by someone in my house. And in my house, we eat well.
My hope is that this collection of recipes and stories might offer a game plan, or at least a little inspiration, for any home cook at any level. It 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 suddenly finds herself feeding an intractable toddler stuck in a white-food-only phase. This book is for the person who never thought too hard about home-cooked meals until the moment he or she became a parent. It’s for mothers and fathers—working, staying home, single, divorced, any kind—who crave more quality time with their children and have a sneaking suspicion that the answer may lie in the ritual of family dinner, in the ritual of sitting down together at the end of the day to slow down and listen to each other. This book is, in fact, for anyone interested in learning how to execute a meal to be shared with someone they love and discovering how so many good, happy things can trickle down from doing so.
In other words, I’m thinking this book might just be for everyone.”
Readings and Events
Please see my Events page.
Media and Event Queries
Jenny Rosenstrach is the creator of Dinner: A Love Story, the website devoted to family dinner, and the coauthor of Time for Dinner. She was the features director at Cookie magazine for four years and special projects editor at Real Simple for six. Her essays and articles have appeared in numerous national publications and anthologies including Cookie, Real Simple, Martha Stewart Living, Whole Living, and the op-ed page of The New York Times. She has appeared on NPR’s Weekend Edition and NBC’s Today. She and her husband, Andy Ward write “The Providers” column for Bon Appétit. They live with their two daughters in Westchester County, New York.
All photographs by Jennifer Causey for DALS.