civetta

“We were together. I forget the rest.”

Dinner: A Love Story. It All Begins at the Family Table

The item at the tippy top of my Christmas list was the Dinner: A Love Story cookbook. Odds are, you have heard of and hopefully read the blog. If not, here’s the crash course. It’s written by Jenny Rosenstratch and occasionally her husband, Andy Ward. Jenny has written for Cookie, Martha Stewart, Real Simple, and Bon Appetit, and Andy writes for GQ.  They have two young kids, and the blog is aimed at parents trying to make simple, but still healthy and interesting, meals. They believe strongly in the family dinner, and have managed to make it happen even when their girls were very young and both worked long hours. Their zeal for their family’s time together and their collective writing resumes are enough to have sold me, but it’s the warmth, humor and self-deprecation that make this blog so addictive. Jenny and Andy’s relationship is at once incredibly sweet and oh-so-familiar in their gentle needling of each other. (A recent favorite line, by Andy: “At this point, I threatened to add roasted red peppers, but Jenny shot my sh*t down.”).  And here’s the snippet that sold John on DALS, Andy replying to a male fan of Jenny’s, some fella named Keenan:

“Jenny, you are the best. I hope that husband of yours appreciates how lucky he has it.” Memo to Keenan: Yeah, that husband of hers does appreciate how lucky he has it. But also: KEEP YOUR DISTANCE, BRO.”

Let’s just say “keep your distance, bro” has entered the John lexicon, on heavy rotation.

Of course, the recipes are excellent as well, and you certainly don’t have to have kids to thoroughly enjoy them.  I have made quite a few, (this is a favorite) and have pretty much all of them bookmarked. So, that brings us to the cookbook. It actually reads more like a memoir, and not a traditional cookbook, which I love, because I’ll take as much of Jenny’s writing as I can get.  There is always a story behind the recipe, and about 10 pages in I felt like part of the family… or, more to the point, just really REALLY want to be, for reasons such as… they call their 5:30 cocktail, which became non-negotiable once they had a baby and a toddler, their “medicine”.  They make these bumper stickers… (which you can order on the blog).

cookbook_shelves_v1_0306_1

To tell the whole truth, I’m only about halfway through the book, because I want to make it last… but I already know it’s in my top 5 favorite books… like, ever.  In case it’s not completely clear, I recommend you buy it. Now. Oh, and here is what may be my favorite part of the book, Jenny’s acknowledgement to Andy.

“Your daughter said it best when she noted the the moment you enter the house after work is like the part in every song when the beat kicks in. I couldn’t have said it any better, except I might extend that metaphor to my life in general.”

I think if a blog and cookbook can make me believe in love, marriage, and family dinner, it’s worth almost any price. Luckily, it’s only $30… go get yours and feel inspired.

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3 comments on “Dinner: A Love Story. It All Begins at the Family Table

  1. Melanie
    January 23, 2013

    hi there—jumped to your blog after reading you’re in santa fe–my dad’s in Taos (where the soup recipe came from!–well, the recipe I adapted….) MUST GET THIS BOOK!!! and happy to be blog friends with you:)

  2. jessica clare
    January 24, 2013

    Hi Melanie! Thanks so much for visiting! Yes, you must get the book, and when we’re both done we’ll compare notes :) Happy to be blog friends as well, I love your writing! XX

  3. Pingback: Dinner: The Playbook | civetta

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This entry was posted on January 22, 2013 by .

Jessica Clare

Preschool teacher, writer, trouble maker.

LIVES: Seattle. By way of Santa Fe, San Francisco, and NYC.
LOVES: John
DAYDREAMS:Strong coffee. Gourmet magazine. Stinky cheese. Date night with new strappy heels. Green chile. Going back to India. Unabashed displays of love. Vegetable gardens. Clean sheets. Unruly stacks of books. Breaking Bad marathons. Writing like Joan Didion ,Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and Joseph Stroud. Cookbooks. French 75s. Sequins with jeans. Leaving love notes.
BELIEVES: “A human being is part of the whole, called by us ‘Universe,’ a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation, and a foundation for inner security.” Albert Einstein “The important thing is not to think much but to love much and so do that which best stirs you to love.” St. Teresa of Avila “People say that what we’re all seeking is a meaning for life. I don’t think that’s what we’re really seeking. I think that what we’re seeking is an experience of being alive, so that our life experiences on the purely physical plane will have resonances without own innermost being and reality, so that we actually feel the rapture of being alive.” Joseph Campbell

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