Posts Categorized: Organizing, Strategizing, Planning

How to Plan Family Dinner

Last weekend I was in my friend Nina’s bright, airy kitchen, taking in the expansive view of the Hudson River out the back window, when she motioned me over to the kitchen table.  ”Please sit down,” she said. In front of me, there was a small pile of cookbooks, some old Gourmet magazines, and a well-loved, yellowed recipe booklet that once… Read more »

Four Strategies for Nervous Nellies

I was at a dinner party with two other couples last year when the host approached me discreetly in the living room. “Can you come here?” she whispered, motioning towards the kitchen. She led me to the oven, pulled out a roasting pan filled with eight split chicken breasts whose skin were all a nice caramel-ly brown. “They’re ready, right?”… Read more »

The Table is Set

No matter how early I got out of bed when I was a kid, I would come down to a set breakfast table. Even during the school week. Even in the winter when my alarm (“You’re listening to 95.5, WP…..L….J”) would go off in the pitch black. Even when I was the first one up on Christmas morning, I could… Read more »

Controlling the Controllable

Do you know this phrase? Controlling the Controllable. Or should I say, have you heard of this condition? Symptoms include: -Adding tasks to your to-do list even after you’ve completed them, just so you can experience the satisfaction of crossing that task off the list. -Having a sudden irrepressible urge to rearrange your sock drawer or color-code your bookshelf or… Read more »

Top 10 Quick Dinners

If I didn’t know that September was here by the first-day-of-school butterflies, the sudden, almost primal urge to re-organize my bulletin board, or the to-do list spinning through my brain like a slot machine at 3am, I’d know it by looking at my DALS email inbox. Help! You all write. I need quick dinner ideas for the back-to-school scramble. I started replying one… Read more »

Two Bowls

I wish I could say that the inspiration for this meal came from a stroll through my farmer’s market — from those gorgeous bunches of lacinato kale and bushels of Romano beans; from the juicy blackberries and rosy, plump apricots and white nectarines; from the summer spinach that seems to coo: Come hither! Slather me in olive oil and toss… Read more »

The Quinoa Solution

We usually do our food shopping once a week, on Sunday afternoons, bolting to Trader Joe’s as soon as the final whistle on the final soccer event of the weekend finally blows. It’s our secular pilgrimage. We genuflect at the altar of dried fruits and granola bars, we load up the cart, we drive home, the kids go upstairs to… Read more »

One Meal Fits All (Or: Whatever You Gotta Tell Yourself)

I think the surest way to ring the death knell on family dinner is to cook something different for every party present. It’s hard enough to get one dinner on the table let alone four, each of which may be greeted with groans or, worse, no comment at all. But considering that children (green-fearing, sauce-o-phobic, generally annoying children) are often the… Read more »

Trader Joe’s to the Rescue

To be filed under Weird But True: At least once a week I have to field the question “Why do you like Trader Joe’s so much?” To which I answer: “Have you seen the dark chocolate covered raisins? Have you seen the miniscule shopping carts for the kids? Have you seen the price tags?” I love Whole Foods — man… Read more »

Cook Once, Eat Twice

Oh man, Pete Wells! I was so sad to read that this week’s “Cooking with Dexter” column (“Busy Signal”) is going to be his last for the New York Times Magazine. I’ve always appreciated how honestly he writes about the way food and family intersect — as you’ll read in his swan song, he never pretended cooking dinner for his kids… Read more »

Can You Start Dinner?

If you are in a commuting, two-working-parent relationship, the IM correspondence with your spouse between 4:00 and 5:00 PM probably reads something like this: d: train? m: 5:41 hopefully. u? d: 6:27. hopefully. m: dinner? d: dunno. what do u think? m: not sure. pasta? d: had pasta for lunch. chili? you there? hello? m: S#%T !!!!!! sue just called… Read more »

Cure for the Common Thursday

Do you guys suffer from Thursday Syndrome like I do? Symptoms include dry refrigerator, a shriveled vegetable supply, and feelings of guilt-fueled resistance to ordering in or going out. (That’s what Friday is for, you weakling!) Lucky for all of us there is a cure, and it involves a combination of the six magical grocery items below, all of which you… Read more »

I Don’t Know Yet

At around 6:00 the other night, Abby made her way into the kitchen to ask what she usually asks at 6:00 when I’m in the kitchen. “Mom, what’s for dinner?” Even though Andy had started hacking up a butternut squash about six hours earlier, even though I was standing there over a stock pot, wielding an immersion blender, minutes away… Read more »

Command Central

The first week of school was a little out of control. That weird bubble in the kitchen ceiling finally turned into full-blown leak. After five years of having not a single mechanical issue with the Mini, the brake pads decided to give way on the way to drop-off. Iris, our usually bordering-on-bonkers Boston Terrier, was slinking around lethargically for days… Read more »

Dinner in the Morning

I mentioned my dinner-in-the-morning strategy last spring when I asked you to marinate drumsticks in buttermilk before heading off for the day. (Meanwhile, if Abby had her druthers, she would subsist on that buttermilk “fried” chicken and that buttermilk “fried” chicken alone for the rest of her life.) The strange science behind the idea is this: If you take one… Read more »

Crafts: Mom’s Dirty Secret

I hope you are thinking what I am usually thinking when I see kids playing with toys handcrafted by their mom: What a good mother…I hate her guts. But here’s the thing about crafts in my house. I like doing art projects with the kids — and because I’m working part-time now I can do more of them than I used… Read more »

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