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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.

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“[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’s] book and blog are something very rare in the genre of family dinner: they inspire neither homicidal nor suicidal impulses.” – NICHOLAS DAY, Food52 (Read entire review here.)

““[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

Sydney Sherman

About Jenny

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.

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15 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Gretchen SB // Apr 18, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Every time I read your description of the ritual of family dinner and craving more time with kids/family, I get a little teary-eyed. Glad to know I’m not alone in thinking time at the dinner table is special. Can’t wait to get my hands on the book!

  • 2 annie // Apr 26, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    cannot wait for this book! June will not come fast enough, great big fan of your blog and Time for Dinner, keep up the fantastic work!!

  • 3 Julia Drake // May 3, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    I love your message and couldn’t agree with it more! Family dinners have always been a treasured part of my life and I thank you for your soon-to-be-released book because I know it will help me continue the tradition! Best of luck!

  • 4 Anibal // May 17, 2012 at 1:03 pm

    Our boys have been going to bed so early now that we’ve had a meal or two alone, but never have had such a lovely seitntg as yours . Now go finish that wine!

  • 5 Blair // Jun 5, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Kale, Sausage & White Bean Stew! It’s the best cold weather, eating something from the garden recipe I’ve made several times.

  • 6 Jess The Mess // Jun 7, 2012 at 4:03 pm

    MY BOOK CAME TODAY, I’m soooo excited to read your cookbook, this is my first time commenting and I like your blog, but I cannot wait to sit in bed with post it notes and pick out all the recipes I want to try first!

  • 7 Dani // Jun 22, 2012 at 7:25 am

    I finished reading your cookbook cover to cover, last night. I absolutely love your voice and and your recipes. My husband and I cook in very much the same way, drawing inspiration from a lone vegetable in the produce drawer and working from there. I am gradually inching the kids meal towards our grown-up meal but being a secret non-meat eater (can you believe that at ages 10, 8 and 7 my kids still don’t know I am a pescatarian? I hate that term.) who loves spice, makes that slightly more challenging. But on that topic of “meal merging” I have to say that I think your Venn diagram is wrong. I’m no math whiz and could be confused, but take another look. And as far as favorite recipes, thus far (I plan on cooking them all), I made the quinoa with sauteed onions, spinach and a fried egg the other night and loved it’s brilliant simplicity and appropriateness for a 9:30pm dinner (after a late swim team event). My usual go to in that situation is eggs poached in a paprika-laced tomato sauce, sprinkled with feta and parsley and served with flatbread or pita. The quinoa was a great alternative. As a devotee of your website I’ve made many of your other recipes (spicy shrimp with yogurt, another fave) and you’ve never steered me wrong.
    The book was well-worth the anticipation. Thank you. And as several other readers have requested, come down to the DC/MD/VA area. You seem to have a strong following here–just don’t head down in August!
    PS: You’ve inspired me to get back to blogging. It’s been awhile but I have an inkling that DALS will be mentioned in my next post. I have not entered the photography or design realm yet, but our musings are very much in line. So check me out on and as you will notice, I am a fellow Conde Nast alum.

  • 8 marsha gibbons // Jul 1, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    I am so in love with your book. I”m on page 232 reading it like a novel. So far I’ve made your dad’s chicken cutlets and porcupine meatballs. Ohm also been chopping up my salad ingredients and used your vinaigrette. It all been so very good. Being a complete craft nerd, I want a drawer full of the potholder pictured at the front of the book. I guess I’m going to have to buy a little loom thingy and get to work. Thank you!

  • 9 twoblueshoes // Aug 18, 2012 at 4:53 am

    Holy winter dinner guests, Batman, that pork shoulder ragu on p. 179 is The Business!

  • 10 Beth // Oct 3, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Where is your upcoming event in Los Angeles?

  • 11 Becca // Oct 8, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    I received the book for my birthday after I discovered I was #322 on the wait list at the library (322!! can you believe it!!) I’ve, so far, read through the first two stages and have a whole week meal plan full of DALS meals. We made the porcupine meatballs tonight and adored them. The house smelled incredible. Thanks :)

  • 12 Bernardeta // Jan 28, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    I love your book.Made almost all the recepies and all of them turned up excellent.Just yesterday I made the first time pizza from scratch and was delicious.I” m full time working mom with husband who works almost 80 hours a week.We live in Vancouver Canada .
    I also visit you blog regularly and love it.
    Thank you.

  • 13 Traci // Apr 9, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    I stumbled upon your website somehow, and just spent the last 20 minutes looking and reading! I can’t wait to check out the cookbook as well. I also believe that dinner should always be a love story. :) Congrats on the book–what a unique backstory!

  • 14 Rose // May 3, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    I enjoyed your blog, “Dinner, A Love Story.” I, too, struggle with a husband who never has an idea for dinner that is compatible with mine. I also can relate to the frustration of hours spent on holiday dinners only to have men want to fill up their plates and find a seat in front of the TV. Dinner should be more, an event for the family, with both preparation and eating to offer more quality family time. Your dinner journal is a great idea, and I’m looking forward to your book.

  • 15 Jill // May 21, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    I recently stumbled upon on your blog and I was smitten. I ordered your book and I have now moved from smittten to enamored. The content of your book is thoughtful and entertaining. The recipes are keepers.

    However on equal footing with the content is the design. Thank you for having a lovely cover and no book jacket. It makes my heart happy. No bothersome rips to fret over. If there is a splash or a spill it wipes off.

    Also the cover matches the content. Something that seems like it would be easily achieved but many cookbooks miss the mark .

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