First the good ones. From Reader Romi:
I recently discovered your INCREDIBLE cookbook and now your Family Dinner site. I’m a challenged cook (and working mother of 3) and the book — I swear – has changed my life in the kitchen. I whipped up turkey bolognese in the morning yesterday (yes, in the am!) and have used your recipes every night for the last 2 weeks. Thank you!!
From Reader Amanda O:
Dear Jenny, I really, really wanted to put my “Make Dinner Not War” bumper sticker (thank you!) on my car. But all I could think was, “Mom is going to yell at me.” Keep in mind, I’m 27 years old, own my car free and clear, and have two kids. But I could hear her plain as day, “Bumper stickers are trashy. They get faded and what about when you try to sell the car?” So for the longest time, the sticker was clipped to my refrigerator mocking my lack of courage. And then one night I thought, “This would look lovely on the microwave. It wouldn’t fade. And you don’t re-sell microwaves.” I took the plunge. Then my son, who is 3, said, “Grandma will like that, Mom!”
Now the not-so-good:
A little context: I did an interview with WCBS 880 that is running on a loop this morning and (news permitting) on Sunday and I’m telling you this not because I expect you to tune in for all 32 riveting seconds, but because the online podcast inspired a few combative comments about family dinner. (And maybe about me? I can’t tell.) Like this one from “valerie:”
“If you’re getting home at 8 pm and the kids need to be in bed by 8:30, there’s not much time to cook dinner and eat as a family. Let alone blog about it. Sorry!”
I assume she didn’t click on the DALS link (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself) because I think the exact opposite of what I’m trying to do is put people in a defensive position about their dinner situation. I am not here to make parents feel bad about themselves. I am here to help people deal with all the variables (including early bedtimes, time-crunched schedules, lack of inspiration, lack of appreciation) that get in the way of making dinner when kids are in the equation.* I firmly believe that if you have the desire to make family dinner happen, you can make it happen. It doesn’t have to be every night, it doesn’t have to be from scratch, it doesn’t have to involve a single emotional epiphany or in-depth deconstruction of the midterm elections. Again, all I’m hoping to do is keep family dinner on their radar so that even if it’s not something you can manage now (with the job that gets you home too late, the kids who go to bed too early, the fact that no one will eat a $&*# piece of broccoli) you can just keep it in mind for later…Or for Sunday? (Marcella Hazan’s Milk-braised pork loin anyone? Or the crazy delicious Pot Roast with Sweet Potatoes recipe that’s on page 263 of the cookbook?) Anyway, I guess what I’m trying to say is…The last thing I want to do here is Make War. Just ask Amanda O!
*Note: I am also here because I just learned that new mom Tiffani Theissen (she’s dropped the “Amber” apparently) has declared DALS her “new favorite blog” and so what am I going to do…stop now???