Friday Round-up

Did you know that all these dinners I write about…all those tips and tricks and weekly menu plans I dream up daily are really just a way to reel you in so I can discuss the real mission of DALS? i.e. the mission to support writers and artists doing cool things everywhere? The latest of the crop is my friend Kevin — illustrator, designer, father of two of the cutest boys you’ve ever seen — who has been working on an insanely gorgeous illustrated alphabet book called The Curious ABCs for seven years. SEVEN years. And now he’s launched a kickstarter campaign to get it published as a hardcover and an app. Granted, I am a sucker for a good line drawing, but the artwork is beautiful, and the book is designed to grow with your child. Each letter (like the A above) is comprised of things that start with the letter A — anchor, angel, apple, etc. and when you own the app, all kinds of cool things light up at your kids’ fingertips. I just pledged my support and I hope you can, too.

What else is going on? A quick-and-dirty round-up:

I work for Bon Appetit, so you can obviously take this with a grain of salt, but their take on things like the new iPhone launch reminds me why it’s the best food magazine out there. They’ve got every angle covered. Literally!

As long as you’re over there: What’s a Chegan? How sweet does victory taste? What’s Serena’s most favorite thing to eat in the world? The 2013 US Open Champ tells all.

Breakfast: The most important meal of the day. Or is it?

Laura Ingalls had the right idea.

Book insiders: Please tell me who the brilliant designer was behind the cover of Malcolm Gladwell’s new book? I’m sending him or her a bumper sticker.

Phoebe handed me The Fault in Our Stars last month, and I have to say, it’s one of the better books I’ve read this year. Young Adult or otherwise. (My friend Laurie told me if I liked that, I would love this even more.)

30 Ideas for After-School Snacks. (Many of which might pass for dinner in my house.)

Ummm…tickets please!

A delightful discovery: When you replace the chicken with tofu in this Indonesian Salad, you end up with an extremely flavorful, extremely satisfying vegan dinner.

Cocoa Banana Bread, the elixir.

I would like to kiss the geniuses at AMC and Sony Pictures for making this happen. (And then maybe kiss Bob Odenkirk himself?)

Does Mark Bittman’s “Vegan Before 6:00” diet really work? One woman’s (very well-written) take.

What’s the new Braised Short Ribs? As in, what’s your default plan for fall entertaining these days? No link here just curious!

Lastly, another reminder: The Kindle version of Dinner: A Love Story is on sale for $2.99 right now. As my friend Christine said, you’ll earn that back the first time you cook from my book instead of ordering takeout.

Have a great weekend!

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Great Friday round up today! Also, I am loving this potential ABC book and app. My 2 year old would love this app! I’m pledging my support! Thanks for bringing this to our attention! Have a great weekend.


the fault in our stars was a great read, only took me two nights after the boys were down.
i need to check into that bon appetit ap, if it’s anything like your book, i will be hooked!
ps making your pork ragu for mom tonight! scared and excited!


Thank you! I lent someone a copy of my book and am desperate for some scheduled recipes better than sautéed chicken!


Thank you for all these great links, especially the iphone one. I’m not a food photographer but I agree that it’s cool that Bon Appetit writes about things like that especially now that everyone seems to be taking pictures at the dinner table. lol.

Beth S

Another TFIOS fan here! Wanted to add that your cookbook is also $2.99 for Nooks, not just Kindles. I have one, and I think I will be snapping that up. 🙂

Susan H

Just ordered Wonder on recommendation from a middle school teacher I totally respect. And one of my 7th grade students (I teach math) recommended enthusiastically The Fault in Our Stars. Said it would change my life. 🙂


yes, buying the $2.99 Kindle version is a bargain, but then you have to buy the print version to really have all these great recipes at your fingertips! (made chicken pot pie, with martha’s pie crust–my first ever crust from scratch!) and it was a big hit with my husband and small child! so simple and so satisfying! who knew?


The Fault in Our Stars and The Age Of Miracles were my two most favorite books that I read last year (or was it this year?… recently anyway).


I just read the blurbs on Fault of our Stars as well as the Age of Miracles, and I must ask you Jenny, and you other commentators who might be parents yourselves: how can you read such a bleak portrayal of your children’s future and then actually recommend it to others as great reading? Certainly when we were children we were not reading fiction that imagined the end of the world. How awful. How dark.


@Rachel. I’ve been trying to figure out a way to reply to your comment/question above for the last two days — and I thank you for asking it — but I guess ultimately all I want to say is that the books (and movies and TV shows and pretty much all art) that contain an element of darkness are usually the ones that make me feel something, that spark discussions at the dinner table, that remind me I’m part of the human experience. This does not mean I don’t enjoy other kinds of art, nor does it mean that I expect everyone to share my taste in literature. I’m very glad you read the reviews on Amazon to determine that your taste indeed does not align with mine. All I’m hoping for here on this blog is to share my own perspective. Obviously, my perspective, by definition, is not fact. It is an opinion.

As for the “being parents” part of your comment, I want to quote an interview we did with George Saunders a few years ago where he discusses why he loves the book “Dear Mili.” Here is the quote:

“Dear Mili, by Wilhelm Grimm, illustrated by Maurice Sendak (Ages 4-8), is a sad and deep little book about love and loss and time – a book that is not afraid to go toward dark, nearly intolerable truths. I think one thing I look for in a kids’ book is an avoidance of a too-pervasive all-is-well outlook, mainly because it tends to be anti-literary. I mean, a happy ending is all well and good, but many of the books I’ve recommended here go at it in a more complicated way, and don’t flinch at ambiguity, assuming, correctly, that kids can not only tolerate complexity and ambiguity, but crave them, because in their hearts they know the world is big and scary, and crave sound counsel.”

I hope this helps answer your question about why I recommend books like “The Fault in Our Stars,” a love story between two teenage cancer patients, which was, at times, hard to read, but which illustrated more than any book I can remember how powerful love and true friendship can be; reminded me that, in the face of pain, big and small acts of courage happen every minute of every day; and, in short, moved me deeply. Again, thank you very much for bringing up a worthwhile discussion.

If you’re interested in the whole George Saunders interview, here’s the link:


Thank you Jenny, for such a thoughtful reply. It is a very good defense of your opinion, and I have taken it to heart. It is an issue I struggle with as a mother, during these uncertain times, and I feel now, having read what you wrote, that there really is something to that point of you. Thank you again.

I will check out Eleanor and Park.