For the few years I have been reading Janssen's blog, Everyday Reading, I don't think she has ever steered me wrong. I can almost guarantee that if Janssen thinks a book is worth her time, it is also worth mine. So, when I saw her review of Dinner: A Love Story: It All Begins At the Family Table by Jenny Rosenstrach, I knew that this was a book that I, too, wanted to read.
And, luckily with technology on my side, I quickly downloaded a copy onto my Kindle. Rosenstrach's book is part memoir, part cookbook. For fourteen years she has kept a journal where she lists every dinner she has eaten and made. Her meals have changed and developed over the years as she and her husband went from being newly married and just learning how to cook and entertain, to parents of young toddlers who made any semblance of meal time impossible. Now, as her girls are slightly older, they are enjoying eating together each night, trying out new recipes and enjoying good food and good conversation.
Although there are a few suggestions on how to make dinner time conversation with children go more smoothly, this is not really a how-to book. Rosenstrach is encouraging in her writing for anyone who wants to make more of an effort with their focus on meals being eaten together as a family, but not critical when or if that doesn't happen for some families.
Growing up, one of my mother's go-to phrases was "a family that eats together stays together." I admit I groaned a bit when she said this, especially by high school when I wanted to be out socializing and not bound to a dinner commitment. However, my own family struggles to have meals together, something I am not proud of. It seems that some of my mother's beliefs have rubbed off on me, and I want to make more of a commitment to having an organized dinner together each night.
Dinner: A Love Story is full of recipes I would like to try. While there are some that are never going to work for me- clams, for instance, there are also plenty that I am planning to attempting. Rosenstrach's recipes are a bit more gourmet than the things I usually serve for supper on a weeknight- think tacos or Frito pie - but her pizza recipes, grilling ideas, and fish recipes are some I am certainly willing to give a go.
I have also enjoyed Rosenstrach's website, http://www.dinneralovestory.com/. Not only is Rosenstrach a good cook and entertaining author, reading her book made me feel as though we could be friends. This is one book that I can see many of my friends enjoying for both the recipes and the rest of Rosenstrach's writing. While I am happy to have been able to read this book with just a simple download, Dinner: A Love Story is one title I would not mind owning in book format so I could page back and forth through it and read and re-read various recipes.