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 Eat, and 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!