Some of you may already be familiar with the food blogger, author, and Bon Appetit magazine columnist Jenny Rosenstrach of Dinner: A Love Story (and if you’re not, then you must familiarize yourself immediately by going to her fun and snappy site HERE). In an interweb landscape chock-a-block with food and family sites, Jenny’s is one of my favorites. Truth be told, it’s one of the few I actually read with any regularity, and not just because she’s a buddy of mine (full disclosure: we met when she edited my food posts for the website of the sadly departed parenting magazine Cookie). Reading DALS is liking hanging at the side of a soccer pitch with that awesome and smart mom-friend, you know the one… She can make an onerous hour and a half of practice in a Nor’easter speed by with her advice and gossip on everything from favorite This American Life podcasts (THIS one, THIS one, and THIS one), to the best place to find cheap underwear (Marshall’s). Just like in her blog, Jenny’s first book of the same name also provided a real glimpse into a household that I recognized (working parents in the burbs with two kids, regular weeknight chaos, a love of books and Manhattans), while providing a food and family philosophy that was both down-to-earth and entertainingly funny. Well lucky for me (and you!), Jenny has a new book outâ DINNER: The Playbook.
So why is this book a must-read in a season full of wonderful new cookbooks? Or more accurately, why do I like it? Well first, there’s the trim size. Not to be a book geek about it, but I ADORE a good trim size.Â DINNER: The Playbook has a nice chubby heft to it that just feels good in the hand… OK, I just re-read that sentence and realized it sounds completely raunchy. No matter! You know what I mean, right? Fellow book geeks help me out!
Second, I like that Jenny has created not a cookbook per se, but a plan, a textbook of awesomeness for facing the family dinner landscape. You may ask if the world needs more help in this departmentâand the answer is “yes”, it definitely does. Pretty much on a daily basis I’m approached by parents who say they still feel adrift when it comes to family dinner. There are lots of reasons for this (which we can get into at another time), but if there’s something that can truly help, then I don’t think it’s necessarily another heaping portion of recipes, but guidance and practical tips. Sensible, ah-ha!, life-affirming, and do-able strategies. This is where Jenny shines.Â It’s probably the former magazine-editor in me, but I’m just a sucker for a punchy list of tips. Which leads me to this excerpt. I went right to this section because, although the information may seem obvious, having it all down and in front of you is like shining a light into a dark and overstuffed pantryâyes, there it is! So please enjoy Jenny’s Art of the Kitchen Dump! And then get the book and enjoy that nice trim size.