Editor's Note: We have a treat today! Sara, a lovely Style Lush writer, is reviewing one of her favorite cookbooks for us -- and if you read to the end, there's a chance for you can win your very own copy!
I can’t believe I am going to admit this on a foodie site but for a long time I never cared much for cooking. I know! It seemed silly to worry about cooking when it was just me and when I was first married, my husband and I would spend many leisurely hours at restaurants paying someone else to make us delicious meals. I figured I probably wasn’t very good at cooking since I didn’t know how to look in the fridge and pantry and just “whip something up.”
Then the first baby came along and did you know that at some point babies want to eat food aside from milk? That was news to me. Strangely, this little baby couldn’t cook for himself so it was up to me to do it for him. I still managed to do as little cooking as possible in his first couple years and my husband and I subsisted on a steady diet of whatever could be thrown together in ten minutes. We ate a lot of pasta.
Then something slowly started to change. We had a second baby last fall and suddenly it dawned on me that we had a family to feed. These people required sustenance and nourishment and someone to grocery shop for them. To say it took a decade to get me on board with cooking wouldn’t be an exaggeration … at all. So I started to seek out cooking blogs, recipe blogs, and family blogs -- anywhere I could find ways to make cooking for my family easy and fun for all of us. I needed guidance and someone to tell me what to do or how to do it. I began experimenting in the kitchen, well, as much experimenting as I could do with a three year old and newborn hanging on my person at all times. Through some trial and error I discovered that I didn’t totally suck at cooking. In fact, I was actually pretty decent at it. It quickly became incredibly important to me that I make cooking dinner a priority and, here is the summit of the proverbial mountain, eat it together.
Around last October I came across the epitome of cooking blogs. The queen of simple recipe blogs. The high priestess of family dinner … and no, I am NOT talking about that woman out on the ranch with the show on TV. I’m talking about Dinner: A Love Story. Jenny Rosenstrach, a former editor for Cookie magazine and Real Simple, authors this refreshing, witty, and friendly blog about her mission to bring families back to the dinner table. Her tagline says it all “it all begins at the family table.” BAM. Yes, it does.
Not only does Jenny write this endearing blog but she also just wrote a cookbook, also titled Dinner: A Love Story! Wait, in all honesty, it’s not just a cookbook. It’s a family book. It’s her love story about her family and about finding joy in feeding her family as often as possible. There are no overarching platitudes about how your children will grow up to be drug smugglers if you don’t feed them farm fresh dinners and eat together every single night. Instead she writes a lyrical memoir about what eating together as a family means to her, interspersed with simple recipes for dinners at all stages of life. There are recipes for the newly adult living on their own for the first time.
There are recipes for young families where the thought of standing over the stove for an hour while also entertaining the under-three set makes you want to pack your bags for Aruba … alone. And there are recipes for families with growing children who have the ability (not necessarily the inclination, however) to sit still and enjoy a meal with their parents.
Jenny has written this book for all of us, wherever we are in our family lives. You don’t have to be an incredible chef to execute her dishes. They’re simple, fresh and very few include what she calls “page turners”( i.e. ingredients that just make a recipe seem insurmountable). As a loyal reader of the blog, I’ve been making a number of her recipes for a while now and was excited to see some wonderful new ones in the book.
My confidence in the kitchen has grown and our family dinner future looks so much brighter because of Dinner: A Love Story.
Do YOU want the chance to bring your family closer together over the dinner table? How about your very own copy of Dinner: A Love Story?
The rules & guidelines:
- To enter: Leave a comment answering the question: My favorite family meal is ______.
- Giveaway ends: Tuesday, 7/3, at 11:59 p.m. EST.
- Who can enter?: Anyone!
- Other notes: One comment per person, the winner will be selected by random.org and announced on the site by 7/9.
Thanks to Sara for the incredible review and to the publisher (HarperCollins) for providing a review copy.