One Last Family Dinner

The other week, on my newsletter, I wrote about Milestone Dinners through the years, and asked readers to suggest menus for our last family dinner in the house before we move. I loved the answers, not only because they were legit delicious recipes, but because they were sentimental, too. It made me realize how much I treasure this community — some of you who weighed in have been reading Dinner: A Love Story since the beginning, over 13 years ago, and know my recipes (and me) so well. At least that’s one thing I know I’m not leaving behind next week when I leave the house that has bookended my daughters’ childhoods. (Twenty years!) Here were some of the suggestions:

From Jenny C: “Doesn’t it have to be one of the recipes from inside the kitchen cabinet?” (By that she means, of course, the recipes painted on the inside of an upper cabinet: Great Grandma Turano’s MeatballsRosa’s Mud CakeMarcella Hazan’s Pork in Milk, or Grandma Catrino’s Biscotti. Don’t worry, the door is coming with me.)

From Beth: “Not to state the obvious but … pork ragu.” (She was not the only one to vote for that one.)

From Cyn: “To me nothing says home, comfort and ‘I love you’ more than meatballs so may I suggest Great Grandma Turano’s Meatballs? Meatball subs, really good rolls, sprinkle of parm cheese and a chopped salad. Yum! and the house will smell irresistible.” (Meatballs in the lead!)

From Danna: “Gotta vote for the black bean burritos with pickled onions – a DALS classic, veg, and easy enough to do in the chaos of moving. If that’s not festive enough, I also loooove the monogrammed pot pies, and they could be themed — NYC as the monogram maybe?” (Both of the recipes Danna suggested are from the first month I launched DALS in 2010. Insane. Thank you for sticking with me, Danna!)

From Robin: “Make your yogurt-marinated chicken on the grill! It’s legendary.😋”

From Anne: “I’d go for something that will be hard to do in your new place, which means something grilled.” (I appreciated this nod to reality.) 

Alas, because Abby left for college yesterday, the last supper with all four of us happened over the weekend. We went with grilled Salmon Salad, the recipe for which would definitely be painted inside the cabinet door if we recreated it today; S’mores because: S’Mores; and an amazing cocktail called Old Friend (riff on the Old Pal), which felt somehow appropriate.

The cocktail was made with St-Germain and Campari but I do not have permission from the publisher to share it with you, so instead I would like make a case for you to pick up a copy of Meehan’s Bartender Manual, our go-to book for both classic and special cocktails.

Thanks for weighing in, everyone. It was an excellent night. I can’t wait to discover and share new recipes with all of you in the next chapter.

P.S. For simple vegetarian recipes, check out my New York Times bestselling book The Weekday Vegetarians. Reminder: All the fun stuff these days happens in the Dinner: A Love Story newsletter on Substack, which is consistently in the Top 10 most-read food newsletters on the entire platform. You can subscribe here.

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Best wishes for your move. I can imagine how you feel between your girls going back to school and leaving behind a house with so many menories.


Jenny, I found your first cookbook because it was mentioned I think in Shauna Niequist’s Bread & Wine. I have been cooking out of it for years & many of the recipes are now family favorites of ours. Late last year I was looking for a blog to read & remembered yours. I had never been a follower but over the past 9 months, I’ve read through the posts from the beginning and have absolutely loved it! I just finished this one and it was only when I discovered there was no “next” button that I realized I am caught up to present day. Your writing & recipes have been a treat to read and cook. Wishing you all the best in your new home.