Book Club: What to Discuss, What to Eat

One of the age-old literary conflicts: What food to serve at book club? Naturally, since the book you will be reading and discussing is Dinner: A Love Story, it stands to reason that you should make a DALS recipe, am I right? And I don’t know about your book clubs, but mine generally meets after dinner which means that the host is responsible for providing a simple spread: some kind of treat, maybe a little cheese, and, of course, wine. Though I haven’t tried this one out on my group, I’m guessing that the above ginger-peach galette, when served with a nice dry German Riesling, will hit the mark.

Now, more important, what to discuss! Before I answer this, I just want to thank the almost one thousand people who entered the Mega Giveaway last month. (All the winners have been alerted, so if you haven’t heard from me, thank you for playing and look out for another biggie coming up in the fall.) Not only was I honored by how many of you read Dinner: A Love Story and took time to enter the contest, but I loved your personal responses to my ridiculously broad question, “What was your favorite part of the book?” Below are the themes that came up again and again:

  • You loved “The Acknowledgments.” Apparently, there were many many tears when I thanked Andy and the girls. As any writer will tell you: Tears=major victory!
  • You loved how I gave you “permission” to not attempt family dinner until your youngest is at least 3 years old. Though a reviewer on amazon vehemently disagreed with this sentiment. (All I’d like to say in response to her review — you’ll find it — is: And you wonder why people are overwhelmed by the idea of family dinner?)
  • You loved “Two Under Two,” and the section on New Parenthood which made you feel, as many of you wrote, “not so alone” and “not so crazy.”
  • You loved that potholder! Oh man, so do I. I wish I could remember which of the girls made it for us, but instead I’ll just give  them both credit.

My favorite of your favorites was, obviously:

  • “We bought the book as an ebook and hard copy since my husband and I have both been enjoying it so much.”

In all seriousness, thank you for the feedback. I’ve taken the liberty of compiling some additional common themes into a discussion guide for your book group. And also, if your group is more than five people and has any interest in me calling in during the discussion, I’d love to say hi. (Email jenny AT dinneralovestory DOT com with the subject “Book Club.”) In fact, if you decide to make the galette, I might not have any other choice but to invite myself over.

Click here to download the Dinner: A Love Story Reading Guide (+ Menu)

Click here to buy Dinner: A Love Story.

The pre-bake. Yum.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

What is 11 + 11 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
IMPORTANT! To be able to proceed, you need to solve the following simple math (so we know that you are a human) :-)



How funny! I really did pick your book for my book club last week! I worried that the others might think a “cookbook” a strage choice, but since I’ve never before read a cookbook cover to cover with such joy and enthusiasm, I thought they might feel the same. And they did!

By the way, I made a peach pie (my one superpower), and with leftover crust, put a bottom crust to the peach and blueberry cobbler you recently posted (with some blackberries, too). Both were yummy!


The morning coffee has apparently not kicked in yet, and I’m having trouble finding the recipe for the ginger-peach galette. Can you help a mutha out??


Anne – If you click on the link at the bottom it will download the PDF for the recipe (and the discussion guide). Enjoy!

Jenny Rappaport

I wanted to add that Cora, my just-turned-one-year old, adores your book. She’s very into raiding our adult bookshelves for interesting things to “read”, and flipping the pages of DINNER: A LOVE STORY keeps her occupied for a good ten minutes.

So you’ve not only improved her manual dexterity–real book pages are much harder to turn than board book pages–but I think you’ve made a lifelong fan. She adores your yogurt marinated chicken, too. =)


Honestly your ‘3 year old dinner rule’ changed my life. I could feel the guilt melt off my shoulders. I then took the liberty of adapting your rule in my head for boys – I’m thinking 4 is better. Look, I know girls can be just as high energy but the reality is toddler boys do. not. sit. ever. Period.

You should see how many post its I have sticking out of your book right now – some for the recipes to make, some just for reaffirmation that I am doing a decent job. Thank you, for that!


Jenny – I’ve been meaning to write about how much I enjoyed your book, and how much I truly think it’s book club worthy!

I guess I’m not the first to say that yours is the first cookbook I’ve ever read cover to cover. And even if I never made any of the recipes (too late!), it would have been worth every penny.

Our children are about the same age and stage and I found myself howling (and weeping) at so many of the common experiences of modern marriage and parenthood that you describe so beautifully and earnestly. And I am with you 100% on “no family dinner before age 3 required.” Oy! Life is long. Put ’em to bed and have a drink with your man.

Thank you for sharing your tremendous gifts with the rest of us in such a heartfelt way. I’ve got my “new baby” gift at the ready for years to come. I hope it’s a NYT bestseller!

P.S. My new sister-in-law is “jillybean.” We both discovered we were fans of your blog before she married my brother, and I’m pretty sure the news of her DALS devotion made me sure she was “the one” for him!


Jenny! I have to say I am so relieved that I bought a copy for myself, which is saying something because I do not buy books, especially cookbooks, and here’s why: my son has food allergies and is diabetic. So there are few cookbooks that would really be worthwhile for us as a family. That said, I read yours cover to cover and then ordered it. I reviewed it on my blog:

I’m also writing to inform you of our other drink, the one we were drinking before the Dark and Stormy page in your book. The Big Ginger. Fill your usual Dark and Stormy glass with ice, then fill halfway with 2 Gingers. Squeeze a wedge of lime and one of lemon, drop those in and fill to the top with your gingerale of choice. Very summery.


I got mine in the mail today…. I read it from cover to cover. The last paragraph is what got me, almost as much as the potholder. I sat holding your beautiful book for another hour just thinking…. they are only scallops.


Hm, well, we have family dinner with our son, who’s not yet three, and he gets served what we eat (usually with a side of fruit). It works for us, but on the other hand, I am home most days, and lunch is frequently catered to his taste. I wonder if that helps with battles at dinner, if it’s a control thing as much as a taste thing.

If the 3-year-old rule makes life easier, then I don’t see anything wrong with it. I like your book a great deal, and I especially like the non judgmental attitude. Moms judge themselves harshly enough already without some other mom piling on.

I didn’t enter the contest, but my favorite part of the book was your appreciation of how your father always, always, made it home for dinner, even before he was in charge of making it. My husband makes the same effort (sometimes leaving work before 5 to beat traffic), and I and our son also appreciate it very much.


Ah, the stetchy loom potholder. Treasure those things! Not only are the very best potholders EVER, but everytime you use one you will remember when they were little enough to be enthralled making them for you and then how excited they were to give you each new color combo. I think I still have two or three functional ones and my girls are now 31 & 27. I can’t wait to buy the kits for grandchildren in the future to keep the cycle going.