Friday Round-Up

What’s happening in Family Dinner-Ville this week:

*Have you read Lean In yet? What do you think? I found myself skimming over all the studies reminding me of what I already know (women make less money than men; women do more housework even when they work full-time; leaving your kids to go to work is harder for moms than kids, etc.) and absolutely devouring the (somewhat measured) glimpses into her high-power life — like how she forgets to put her kid in green on St. Patrick’s Day and how her kids came down with lice while flying on the private jet of eBay’s CEO. Also: I don’t know if this is just a case of me wearing my family dinner goggles, but there are countless references to getting home in time to eat with her kids and how good it makes her feel. How centered.

*Due to popular demand – Deconstructed Dinner on DALS now has it’s own category. If you click on it (right over there in the right margin under “Categories”) you can get a list of dinners that are more conducive to separating into individual components (for kids) while not messing with the integrity of the whole (for parents).

*Every time I head to Stone Barns I think a) How lucky am I that this farm is right here in my neighborhood? then b) What can I buy at their gift shop? Locals know what I’m talking about — the mix of cookware, cookbooks (you’ll recognize at least one), tableware, kids toys, canning jars, and way more is one of the most beautifully curated gift collections anywhere. Some good news for non-locals: I had no idea until a few weeks ago that they have an online store as well. Head over there and check out my current obsessions: Lidded “working glasses,” a classic market tote, and a table runner that I bought for my mom’s birthday last year and liked so much I went back to pick one up for myself.

*I know, at this point you probably think that I’m a publicist for “Here’s the Thing,” but Alec Baldwin’s interview with NBC Nightly News host Brian Williams made me run a mile longer than I wanted to so I could hear the entire thing. (Ask Andy, this was an unprecedented event.) Favorite moment: Williams recallling his mother showing young Brian a photograph of a famous broadcast journalist, then telling Brian, “You can do better than him.”)

*Apropos of nothing, I just bought this fabric to cover a bulletin board in my home office.

*Apropos of all niece and nephew and “special” birthdays coming up this year, here’s my new favorite gift. (I love my childrens’ friends, but I ain’t spending $40 on them.)

*I’ve loved every essay I’ve read so far in The Cassoulet Saved My Marriage: True Tales of Food, Family, and How We Learn to Eatand based on the luminaries that editors Caroline Grant and Lisa Catherine Harper lined up for the anthology, I’m guessing this will continue. The last paragraph of Catherine Newman‘s essay “Talk With Your Mouth Full,” about the evolution of her family’s dinner table conversations, has been haunting me for days — even if the entire essay leading up to it had me in stitches. Here it is:

There are doubtless measurable benefits to dinner-table conversation. It’s a natural check on overeating, for example. Even if you’re talking and eating at the same time, you simply can’t generate the same food-shoveling velocity that you could if you were eating silently. Plus, I’m sure it’s good for mental health, for social health, for learning how to become a good date — although, my god, I’ll miss them when there’s someone they’re dating besides us. Bust mostly the benefits are immeasurable. What dinner table conversation gives us is time to stop and appreciate how much we have, right now, even as we imagine, deliriously, that it could go on forever.

To celebrate this quote specifically and the book’s publication generally, I’m giving away one copy of Cassoulet to a random commenter below. Good luck and have a great weekend. Update: Chris (#194) is the winner. Congrats!

PS: Credit for illustration way up top: Pixar’s hand-drawn storyboard illo from the family dinner scene in The Incredibles. (Is there a better movie in the world?)

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219 Comments

Pressley

would love this book for myself — but I’d probably give it to my mom if I won, who’d love it even more :)

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Carrie

Would love to read the book…I’m newly married with two teenage stepdaughters and one of my dreams is that my new family could approach dinner the ways yours does! I loved your book.

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patricia

Ooh, if i win the book, will you wrap it in some of that honeycomb fabric? ;-) Buying the book if I don’t win (and probably buying some of that fabric too. I keep bees…)

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Natalie

I would SO love to win this because I’ve been trying to reserve this book at my local library and it’s nowhere to be found in the entire library system in my county. Thanks for the opportunity!

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Kate

Haven’t read a book in ages, unfortunately, unless you count cookbooks. :-) Would love to change that fact with this book!! :-)

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missy

I would love to win this because we try to eat together as a family every night of this week. I’d love to hear these stories as we have our own set of stories!

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Reynaul

I looked at this book the other day on Amazon, I would LOVE to win this! Happy Friday!

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Reynaul

Forgot to add; that is a great birthday gift but I won’t be spending $40 on them either! :-)

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Whitney

Thank you for sharing Alec Baldwin’s podcast! Already added to my Stitcher App for my drive home. Made my Friday!

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Kristan C.

What a beautiful quote, and you’re right, a haunting quote. It’s enlightening to think that our dinner table conversations now are shaping the kind of communicators and friends they can be in the future.

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Angie

I’ve been trying to get a copy of this book and there is only 1 library in all of Colorado that has it!

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Lindsay

Sounds like something I need to read!

And p.s. I love The Incredibles! Can’t wait until my girls are a little older and ready to watch it!

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stacy

Glad to hear you read/liked Lean In. I’ve been debating reading it, so it’s nice to get a recommendation from someone I “know.” :-)

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Rachel

I found air terrariums this Xmas and snapped up one for my incredibly difficult to shop for mother in law. For the first time in a decade, she actually seemed to like her gift. Holiday miracle! They are amazing gifts for anyone. Thanks for the round up, Jenny!

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Aliso

Here is my not-so-random comment: thank you, DALS for making meal planning (why are some weeks SO much harder than others?) easier. I come here when I am out of ideas, stuck in a rut, trying a new diet craze and out of my mind, etc. And yes, the book sounds great, too.

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M

Would love the book.

Have not read Lean In. I can’t decide if I want to. We are in that stage of life where we just have so much on our plates (work, home, young kids, activities), that I’m concerned the book will just lecture to me rather than providing me either with a pleasure-reading-escape, or concrete information on how to keep our lives running smoothly. Interestingly – your DALS book was the perfect combination of both of those. Pleasure reading + practicalities, that’s a hard balance to strike. Interested to hear more about what you think of Lean In.

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Lindsay mancuso

I have devoured ur book. It has changed our world and table! Outlawed are all frozen nuggets and fish sticks and by god we bread and “fry” our own now! My kid ate lamb ! LAMB! Currently, our favorite recipe has been a tie between the flounder with the black bean salad and the play date cookies which I am asked to make weekly! Hope to win this book too! We r on a roll, and hope to continue!

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Marie

I would love this book. Thank you for giving me both dinner inspiration and great book recommendations for me and my daughter!

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Maggie

If Cassoulet is as great as your cookbook, I’ll be thrilled. I also have high hopes that Cassoulet offers tips on how to keep a six-year-old boy from running laps around the dinner table after he’s finished eating.

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Sarah

what a beautiful quote.

I just wrote it down to add to my collection of lovely quotes on the inside of my cupboard. seeing those words when I open a cupboard door to get out a spice or jar reminds me why I love to cook for others and what joy it brings to me.

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Kris

I searched every airport bodega for this book on my 3hr layover last night. I would love to win a copy!

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Kay Lynn

I was already putting this book on my library wish list when I saw the giveaway part! Sign me up!

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Jennifer P

I LOVE “Lean In” after 20 years in a high pressure career, 3 kids and a dedication to homemade dinners (almost) every night. It’s good to know that I’m not alone”

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Christine

Catherine Newman is a fabulous writer! Love her blog! I would love to read this book :)

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jehanara h

Hi
I recently came across your blog and really love your simple yet ingenious dinner deconstruction ideas.

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Molly

Still contemplating reading “Lean In.” You may have inspired me.
This week we have made your turkey meat loaf, chicken and leeks, and Bourbon pork tenderloin (which I have made about 6 times this year). We just moved, and DALS is the only cookbook I have taken out of the box.
Trying your Fried Rice shrimp from Bon Appetite next week!

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Anna D.

I’ve been looking forward to reading this book! Would love to win. Thanks for the giveaway!

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Anna

I haven’t read “Lean In” yet–I suppose I should enter the fray. I have read, on the other hand, “Dinner, A Love Story,” and it is fantastic!

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Julie M

Help, my family dinner was sabotaged last nite. After picking up my son from school and rewarding him w/ice cream for his ‘good job’ level on the classroom behavior chart, I bought yummy fresh ingredients for fish tacos. Literally 3 minutes before I was to serve this meal, 2 neighbor kids (my son’s absolute idol) showed up at the door to play. My choices: say no, come sit and eat, and my son is miserable at the missed opportunity to play, rendering family dinner miserable for all. Or choice two, push dinner back, the food wanes and loses that just made quality, and I feel miserable because everyone eats at diff. times. I took the fall and made choice 2 to not be the bad guy. Does this ever happen to others? I need to read that book!
Jenny, your posts are always so funny and engaging, thank you for that!

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Sara

Would love the book! Thanks also for the deconstructed dinner section. My 5 year old thanks you as well :)

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Beth

Thank you for the chance to win! Your site has changed our dinner table. I’m a working mom to a 2 year old and every meal we ate this week came from your site. Thank you!

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Jennifer

Loved this post – wanting to read “Lean In” with a group of working friends, dying to go to Stone Barns, always stashing potential bday presents, and trying to love family dinner even when the six year old is (not) eating her curated plate while we try to use up leftovers! Book sounds great too!

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Pam

Thank you for the mix of food and book ideas. I love your site and want to read the book even if I don’t win it. Cheers.

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catie

count me in, please.
we’ve been in a deconstructed dinner phase lately – bookmarking that page, thank you : )

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Libby

I want to say that your site has changed how I view dinner, and i’m a single woman with no one to cook for except for my boyfriend, occasionally. I made your deconstructed burrito bowls the day you posted about it and I have leftovers to last all week. Thanks for everything you do.
And thanks for the chance to win that book!

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Monica

Since my younger son shares a name with one of the Incredible Kids, I have to agree with you about the greatness of the movie. Hoping to find out the book is equally great!

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Cay

I made a blouse out of that honeycomb fabric, in the same yellow! And I love reading cookbooks, AND the Incredibles. We must be twins, separated at birth… ;0)

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Sangeun Han

“Lean In” in order and would love to have “The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage” too. :)

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Adrienne

Huge fan of your web site and book! Made the burrito bowls last night for dinner and they were a big hit!

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Lindsay Ann

What a beautiful, heart-breaking quote. My boys dating others…… uff da.

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Diane

Cassoulet is one our family favorites. Gathering our loved ones together at the dinner tabel is time well spent!

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Ioana Buibas

Mmm…cassoulet. Mark Bittman’s 40-minute cassoulet is my go to for entertaining, btw.

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Adie

Ioana Buibas, I will totally have to check out the Mark Bittman recipe, thanks for the tip! This book sounds great!

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Kerry-Ann

This book sounds great! Thanks for the chance to win it :) I also want to thank you for all the great book suggestions for kids and adults!

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Laura

Thanks for a chance to win the book. I love your book and blog ,especially since I have 2 picky girls with differing preferences. Deconstructing is a great idea!

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Heather

I’m constantly amazed at how I can be enthralled by a food blog post that doesn’t actually include a recipe. Thanks for the great content.

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Leah

Wow, great post all around. Thanks for a few new Internet-related distractions! And of course thanks for the chance to win the book!

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Heather

Oooh! Oooh! Pick me!

(I LOVE the picture at the beginning of this post. The family dynamic in that movie…awesome.)

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Juliana

Two books my my request list at the library! I’ve been meaning to look into the Sheryl Sandberg book, but I hadn’t been remembering while at the computer, so thanks for that–and the book of essays… ooooo… sounds so lovely. The cover is beautiful, too.

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Robin

sounds like a wonderful book to read as i log in more hours on the bleachers of my daughter’s swim team practices

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Katie

Wait, are there really moms that *don’t* occasionally forget to send there kids in green on St. Patrick’s Day? (Or pajamas on Pajama Day etc, etc.)

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Samantha Henningson

Just found your site — love it, and love the chance to win what looks like a great book! Thanks for recommendation!

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Kathy

Tried the Shredded Kale Salad with Avocado tonight. It was incredible!! Have to say I had been HATING Kale up to this point.Substituted a grapefruit (fruit & juice) for the lemon since I had none in the fridge. Even the kids loved it- Thanks!! Hope I win the book :)

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Ann L.

I just love your blog and cookbook. And I love the “finds” that you share!

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Candice

Read about this book on Catherine Newman’s site. Can’t wait to read it! (maybe even for FREE)

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Jill

Love checking in at night and getting great ideas for tomorrow. Thanks for the chance to win! Happy Weekend!

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Jen w.

I believe it is my destiny to win this, since I am a big fan of Catherine Newman’s blog AND Alec Baldwin’s podcast!

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kelly

Just made a DALS recipe for chicken and artichokes, turned out great. Thanks for the inspiration and giveaways!

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Blair

Pick me! Pick me! That looks like a great read! Oh, and you totally turned me on to “Here’s the thing” – I really enjoy listening to it!
Thanks!

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Bonnie

Just wanted you to know, my kids’ elementary school has an Art Night fundraiser and my donation to one of the raffle baskets is your book! The theme is “Kids in the Kitchen” so deciding what to donate was a no-brainer.
Thinking about dinner as our family love story, instead of as my recurring 6:00 nightmare (what do you mean you’re hungry, I fed you last night for crying out loud…) has made a HUGE difference. Oh, and I’m sure Sheryl has put together a good read too, but your book has been transformational!

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Divya

Hello. I’m a lurker; de-lurking for today to tell you that I LOVE your blog. Love it. To bits. In fact, you have inspired me so much for my own blog.
Aside from that, I love The Incredibles. The paragraph from the book was so great, and I would be thrilled to receive a copy of the book!
Thanks Jenny

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Chelsea

Can’t wait to read it! Also, thanks for sharing the Alec Baldwin podcast. I think it is going to be a new favorite in our house.

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Katie Brunkhorst

I love your blog and all the books you recommend! I am sure this book is equally wonderful!

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Chika

Thank you for this wonderful post and a chance to win what looks like a really cool book.

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Anne

Ever since my little girl started with solids we have been eating our meals together. I never spoon fed her but we have tried Rapley’s baby led weaning. Now she’s 2,5 and she has never made trouble eating anything other than not liking something for its taste, e.g. eggplant or bean sprouts.
Five months ago I gave birth to our son and we’re so looking forward to welcoming him to the dinner table as well. I love cooking, as everyone else over here, and since last summer it’s all Chinese stir fries with lots of vegetables. Although I love it, it’s been so good to have discovered your blog- my daughter loves your food as well! I can see us all sitting together at the table, for many happy years to come, hopefully. The quote expresses the wary feeling that already lies in the back of my thoughts- they grow up so fast. I’m looking forward to a new read, will go after this as well as your book.
I loved the invitation to comment but I as I’m in the Netherlands in Europe I’m perfectly happy to remain ‘hors concours’ what not with delivery rates etc.

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Jenny

I love your book and reading this blog! I want to read Lean In. Thank you for the fun round up!

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Fiona

I’d be interested in reading that book, please.
And I agree about stone barns – love visiting there

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Helene

I enjoy your site so very much and open it daily with much anticipation of new content. Thank you for the opportunity to win this book.

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Lori

Dying to go to Stone Barns, online will have to do for now! Love your cookbook, working our way through some new faves. Would love to win Cassoulet book! Thanks for everything.

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Julie D.

I had added Lean In to my reading list earlier this week and was so excited to see you discuss it here. There are so many reasons why I love this blog- it is the perfect combination of food, family, books, writing, life, and more. Your cookbook is perfection too. Thank you for sharing with us!

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REK981

I discovered ‘working glasses’ and even glass strws by way of Catherine Newman’s iced coffee. I can’t wait to read both Lean In and The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage!

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Rose

Though it’s not the book you’re giving away, I am looking forward to reading Lean In. Her TED talk was quite compelling.

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Jess

On my next trip home to NJ, I’ll be visiting Stone Barns! I’m drooling over their website! And aside from the awesome cover and quote, that book looks amazing!

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Natalie

Would love to win! The quote alone makes me excited to read it.

Made Phoebe’s shrimp and your turkey meatloaf this week. All my “boys” (hubby and 2 toddlers under 4) loved them. Hoping to try arugula white pizza tonight! Viva la cena!

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Claire

Family dinners have certainly strengthened my marriage. Thanks for the encouragement!

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Felicity

I finally bought your book yesterday and devoured it instead of actually, you know, making dinner. Thank you for your writing.

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Justine Viets

This looks wonderful…how I love to read about food and meal making!
Thanks for the chance to win this book.

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Carlita

I now know my next borrow from the local library. I got your book from our local library and it has totally changed my life (been doing family dinner since Dec 23 2012 and haven’t looked back!). Thank you so very much for all you share!

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Laurie

What a profound quote…especially with a graduating senior at our table now!

Thanks for sharing the quote, and for your terrific website!

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CathyT

The book looks and sounds gat. I would love to win and then pass it on to my sister who also loves to read books about cooking and eating!

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Amanda

Instead of doing report cards, I’m checking in on my favorite site and thinking of this week’s meals :-)

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Erin A

Would love to win a copy of this book. Also heard about it on Catherine newmans blog. I love both of you. By the way, I had dinner with a great friend tonight, and she brought your book to dinner. She knew I had read it and wanted to talk about it with me and find out my favorite parts and recipes.

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Stef

Wow, I can’t believe I didn’t recognize the artwork from The Incredibles until I read your note at the bottom. Love that scene.

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Laura

Ooo – pick me, please! I just finished DALS the book, and I’m dying for something else to gobble.

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Amy G

I knew it was the Incredibles! That’s awesome.

Would love to get the cassoulet book!

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julie

Haven’t heard of the book, but I am in need of a good laugh. Thanks for the chance.

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Angela M P

Love your website and your writing style. Plan to center a date around making the fancy pad Thai you wrote about.

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Rainbow Plate

Jenny (& Andy), thank you for your wonderful combination of practical information, simple wisdom and refreshing humor. I have sent so many people to your site! Keep doing what you’re doing!

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Constance

I was already linking to my local library when I saw the word ‘giveaway.’ Your website/blog is inspiring.

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april

when i read the title of this book, i went straight to my library page to see if they had it available. urgh, they don’t. hoping to win the giveaway. thanks for sharing the title though!

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Hannah

Catherine Newman is HYSTERICAL – and also so profound. My family still uses her method (published years back in a magazine) for “saving” money to donate – if you decide to get coffee instead of a latte, the difference goes on a slip of paper in the giving jar. If you skip the coffee all together and make one at home, you put the whole amount in. My four year old will now ask “If I get a bagel instead of a croissant will there be money for the giving jar?” – and this miracle in my family is all her doing. I have not seen this book, but if she is any indication on the quality and style of the authors, I’m betting it’s a good collection. Also, love your fabric choice!

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Tiffany

Book looks great… but I have to add that truly that is one of the coolest gifts, there is an all homemade or local or sustainable little gift shop by me and you can create one with all kinds of things and it is my current go to gift from age 8 to 65… you know no one is going to have it already!!

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Emily

Sounds like a great read! And I’m looking forward to using the deconstructed dinners section a ton in the coming years…right now my twins are only a few weeks old, so the adults still get to eat whatever they want.

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Chris

Loved the kids gift idea – I always love kid/spouse gift ideas. Feel free to sprinkle more of those in (hint: Father’s Day).

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colleen

Thanks for the chance to win a great looking book & for the introduction to Stone Barns…loving that enamelware!

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Lisa

Love that quote! I have such strong memories of family dinner, especially my sister guessing what happened during my day when I was too grumpy to chat.

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michaela

adding this book to my list asap – and it would be wonderful to win it!

ps: the burrito bowls were a very big hit.

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Jennifer

Word. Dinner conversations are some of our best. And, tonight, we talked about what we’re all currently reading. Is there anything better?

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Holly

The book sounds great! Love all your stuff. I downloaded “here’s the thing” too after reading this.

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Bea

Love your website. Thank you for the chance to win. One random question from this reader: I am a mother runner as well a family dinner junkie and I would love to read more about your running. Where do you find the time? Do you run in races or just recreationally for exercise?

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Christine

We need to revamp our dinner routine. I always think the kids should help, etc. Reality is I run around like mad making dinner, call the kids, stuff our faces quickly and hurry to the next activity.

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Krista

Reading this post while eating cold yogurt-marinated chicken (your recipe). Would love the Cassoulet book! Thanks for the opportunity.

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Nerissa

That quote in that book describes that perfect moment as a dinner party when you realize all your Mrs. Dalloway pre-party fretting was for naught and an utter waste of time–even if the pork didn’t cook perfectly, or you had a last minute flatware washing–you look across the table and realize that it doesn’t get much better than great food, wine, and great friends all together at once.

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