Posts Categorized: Rituals

Book Club Night

I know this is going to sound funny, but the whole idea of book clubs confused me until relatively recently. Six years ago, when my friend Bonnie invited me to join hers, I was wary, and had lots of questions. What was up with women and book clubs? Wasn’t it easier to just read on your own? Wasn’t it a… Read more »

The Chicken Cutlet Sandwich

I know we’re all in end-of-summer mode, but for a minute I need to take you back to an early June day, specifically Father’s Day, which up here in the Northeast was a stunner of a Sunday. Clear skies, low 70s, light breeze. Andy was out running errands when the girls and I took stock of the gift loot —… Read more »

On Running

Andy finally did what he’s been threatening to do since Phoebe joined the cross-country team last year. While we were on vacation, he bought her the book you’re looking at above: What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami. (Who is, incidentally, the author one of my all-time favorite novels.) What I Talk About is a quick… Read more »

Anatomy of a Lazybones Summer Dinner

Who: The Usual Suspects, Andy, Jenny, Phoebe, Abby What: Family Dinner When: A Saturday night in early summer Where: DALS headquarters, Suburban New York Temp: High 80s, high humidity Obstacles/Activities/Extracurriculars: N/A, see: SUMMER 10:00 AM Walk to Farmer’s Market, procure Tuscan kale, baby cabbage, and a pound of Mahi Mahi from the fish guy. (And a dozen cider doughnuts, half of… Read more »

A New Look

No no no, don’t go anywhere! It’s still Dinner: A Love Story. Still the same blog that brought you Pork Ragu and Pretzel Chicken, the one that taught you phrases like “Deconstructed Dinners“ and “Page-Turners;” still the same blog some of you have been checking in with for five years. YES! FIVE YEARS! As of this week, we have officially reached… Read more »

Soup Dumpling Souvenirs

Those of you who have been with DALS for a while might know my theory, based on years of research (read: making dinner) in my personal lab (read: kitchen table), that the key to expanding kids’ palates is to bring them along with you on the weekly food shop. As the theory goes, when they select the pack of pomegranate… Read more »

The Confidence Question

I always hear people say “If you can read, you can cook” or “As long as you are organized, you can get dinner together.” I believe both of these maxims to a certain point, but the older I get and the more I hear from parents struggling to get dinner on the table every night, the more I feel like… Read more »

The “Do You Know?” Scale

I am embarrassingly late to the party on this one, but I finally got around to reading Bruce Feiler’s The Secrets of Happy Families. Let me amend that, I finally got around to reading the chapter in Secrets called “The Right Way to Have Family Dinner” that so many of you have told me about. There was a lot of good… Read more »

The Lunchbox Note, on Steroids

Ever since my friend Liz Egan told me about this lunchbox ritual a few months ago, I’ve been dying to have her write about it for you. Please welcome longtime magazine editor (currently on the books beat at Glamour), newly minted novelist (look for her first book, A Window Opens, spring 2016) and one of the more lovable ”insane moms” I know. Thanks Liz!… Read more »

Chaos Theory

So back-to-school. The week that rivals New Years for clean-slating more than any other. You’re making plans, you’re making resolutions, you’re waking up at 3:00 in the morning saying “I am not going to allow math homework be my undoing this year. I’m not I’m not.” Perhaps you’re also resolving that it’s finally time to get on track with family… Read more »

Sir Yes Sir!

You know when you go to someone’s house for dinner and you walk out of the house three hours later thinking, We might have some room for improvement, parenting-wise? That’s what happened last summer when we went to visit our friends, Will and Alaina, and their excellent kids, Eli and Bee. Will is a freshly-retired 20 year veteran of the… Read more »

When the Cat’s Away, The Mice Will…Watch Movies The Cat Would Never Watch

Both of my kids did a week of sleep-away camp this summer, different camps, during different weeks, which was wonderful for many reasons: They made new friends, they ate new foods, they learned new skills (including sitting on one end of a raft while a counselor jumped on the other, launching her fifteen feet out into the lake). But the… Read more »

One Thing We Did Right

Last year, we sent our then 11-year-old to sleepaway camp for two weeks, where she did all the things kids do at sleepaway camp — she paddle-surfed in the lake, slept in an open-air cabin, competed in color wars, roasted marshmallows in bonfires after dinner, complained about that dinner (and lunch and breakfast), and wrote her parents letters during her… Read more »

From Scratch

GG Car

For my grandmother’s 80th birthday, her best and oldest friend in the world, Midge — fellow bridge clubber, golf partner, drinking buddy, all-around Golden Girl — hosted a dinner party, on the Wedgwood china, in her big brick house on Forest Avenue. Jenny and I were in attendance, as were my father, two widows — Mary and Shep, both in… Read more »

Clear the Afternoon, Kids! We’re Making Mole

In my next book — which you’ll be hearing about shortly — there’s a whole section on recipes I call “Keep the Spark Alive” dinners. These meals are the opposite of what we make on, say, a Tuesday night, when efficiency and convenience are the most important ingredients. In some ways, they are the opposite of the DALS mission in… Read more »

Giving Thanks on Thanksgiving

We put a lot of stock in the idea that families — whatever form “family” might take — create meaning, and identity, through ritual. When the kids are little, that might mean reading to them in bed every night for twenty minutes, or going for long bike rides on Saturday afternoons and talking about life its ownself. It can be… Read more »

Thanksgiving Eve 2013

By the time Thanksgiving week rolls around, the game plan, for the most part will be fully mapped out. The menu will have been tweaked and retweaked to reflect just the right amount of tradition (Grandma Jody’s herb-roasted turkey, mashed potatoes) and adventure (maple buttermilk custard pie!); the duties will have been divvied up among aunts and uncles. Anything that… Read more »

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