Dinner: A Love Story

dinner a love story I picked up Jenny Rosenstrach's Dinner: A Love Story at a Harper Collins party during Book Expo America and we've cooked from it several times a week since. But before I cooked a single recipe from this fabulous book, I sat down and read it from cover to cover.

Yes, I do read cookbooks -- frequently -- but this is more than a cookbook. It's also a memoir. It's actually one of the best cookbook/memoirs I've read in a long time. Often, you'll get a memoir that has recipes dotted through it, such as at the end of a chapter, or perhaps all at the end of the book. Or you'll get a cookbook that has an essay a few pages long in each chapter. Dinner: A Love Story has a really nice balance of memoir and recipes. The reader feels as though Rosenstrach has brought them into her kitchen and told them a story while serving up some fabulous dishes.

I think that one of things I liked most about this book is that is shows how dinner has changed though different phases of her life. When she and her husband first got married, their dinners often were family favourites cooked from recipe cards their parents gave them. Rosenstrach highlights the first recipes they used to entertain their friends.

Then along came children and quick and easy became even more important. As their children grew, their lives changed yet again and so did dinner. And no, her children aren't perfect children that eat anything and everything that is put down in front of them. Yet they make one meal for everyone every night that is not chicken nuggets and french fries. Well, mostly one meal. Rosenstrach does some mental gymnastics to convince herself that they are all eating the same meal -- though they aren't always eating the exact same thing their meals all have the same components.

As nice as a good memoir and tips are, if the recipes aren't something I'd eat or make regularly, the cookbook isn't a keeper. Dinner: A Love Story is a keeper. While there are a few recipes that are definitely weekend or special occasion meals, many of the recipes are great for weeknights. We especially like their chicken pot pie recipe, for which I've maybe adopted her family's rule that whoever first cooks the recipe then owns it. (I haven't quite informed my husband of this yet. It just so happens that we've always had it on his night to cook...) We've made it several times now and the book is filled with Post-It flags marking the recipes we want to try.

When you finish the book, that's not the end of the story. You can continue to read about Rosenstrach's dinners on her blog, Dinner: A Love Story.

Disclosure: As mentioned, I received this book courtesy of Harper Collins USA. All opinions expressed are my own. And I really do recommend the chicken pot pie.