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The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time
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The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time

4.02  ·  Rating Details ·  503 Ratings  ·  114 Reviews
The producer of An Inconvenient Truth, Laurie David's new mission is to help America's overwhelmed families sit down to a Family Dinner, and she provides all the reasons, recipes and fun tools to do so.

Laurie David speaks from her own experience confronting the challenges of raising two teenage girls. Today's parents have lots to deal with and technology is making their j
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published November 3rd 2010 by Grand Central Life & Style
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Nov 04, 2010 Angelc rated it it was amazing
This book is so much more than a cookbook! There are lots of tips to keep your family happy during your nightly family dinner. The book features fun, full color photos along with personal stories, games, recipes, and quotes from celebrities. Honestly, how can you not love a book that quotes "Leave it to Beaver"?

" 'Wally, there's nothing old-fashioned about politeness.'
-Ward Cleaver to his son at dinner" (p23)

There are lots of unexpected chapters in "The Family Dinner," including a section on sta
Jun 22, 2012 Dianna rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I love this book so much I'm not sure where to start. It is beautifully, interestingly designed—the quotes and interviews catch your interest and make it easy to keep reading, and the lovely photographs suck you right in.

But the real point here is dinner. I was worried that this book wouldn't have anything new for me since my family already has dinner together every night. But there was plenty of inspiration for me. If you went by everything this book has to offer, you'd be having a well-balanc
Nov 26, 2011 Lupine rated it liked it
When I first began reading this, I got irritated. Just like I get irritated every time someone says that my children are going to be prison-bound emotional basketcases if we don't eat every single dinner together. I like the idea and I wish that that was the reality of my world, but it's not. So, I've resigned myself to making the most of the meals we do eat together, including breakfast.

But I quickly got over my initial defensive reaction. This book is full of delicious sounding recipes and man
Jan 23, 2013 Dustie rated it it was amazing
Go this one from the library and liked it so much I bought a copy for me and a friend. Just a good reminder about the importance of family dinner and nice reminders about things we can be doing to engage over the nightly meal ... My favorite so far is asking everyone at the table to try to mimic someone else at the table laughing. Logan can laugh like dad. Who knew? We were all laughing. That's a great way to spend the dinner hour!!!!
Feb 12, 2012 Emily rated it really liked it
I had to renew this one from the library the full three possible times because it had great recipes. The best part is that the author gives ideas for making large meals, then tweaking the leftovers from them just enough a day or two later to make a completely new meal in no time at all.

I think I'll even check this one out again next week, just after I returned it, as there're still some good-looking recipes I haven't even gotten to yet.
Cheryl S.
Nov 12, 2010 Cheryl S. rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookery, 2010
This is much more than a cook book and a terrific reference for a young family. Includes recipes young kids would not only enjoy eating, but helping to prepare as well. Has many suggestions for making the family dinner enjoyable, educational and engaging. My own kids, who are in their 30s, cried when I finally got a much needed new dining room table because they claim they grew up at the old one. I take that as a supreme complement.
Nov 13, 2012 Cindy rated it really liked it
I really liked this book, enough so that I bought a used copy of it for future reference (I initially checked it out from the library). I know the importance of the family dinner already, so I didn't really need to be persuaded about that, but I was looking for suggestions on how to make it happen more often and to make it a richer experience. The adults at our house are usually tired and stressed out at the end of the day, and while I generally make dinner at home and we all eat together (if my ...more
Feb 22, 2011 Tara rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This is one of those books that are very pretty with lots of pictures, colors, insets and fonts. Would make a nice gift for a new bride or new mom. Many nice recipes and ideas to make meals special and easy.

My only beef is she shares how she struggled at one point in her life with finding time to cook dinner at night for family meals. Her solution was to hire a cook. Well, why hadn't I thought of that before? She also writes from a bit of a "green" perspective and encourages more vegetarian mea
Apr 15, 2016 Lily rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks, parenting, 2016
I hadn't heard of Laurie David before, but it seems as if she is a famous environmentalist. This beautiful book is one of her solutions to climate change. She believes caring, involved, articulate citizens are necessary to address this issue. The way to create such a citizenry? Family dinners! The book is filled with delightful anecdotes, recipes, and even research to help families bring this tradition back.

Even though we already have family dinners in our home, I found this book to be an inval
Renee Reynolds
Mar 26, 2012 Renee Reynolds rated it really liked it
I happily stumbled upon this book at the library and fell in love with it. Beautifully designed with quality paper and creative content, this book cites all the facts you've heard about the importance of the family dinner, and provides helpful tips about how to help incorporate it into your busy life. Ideas, recipes, conversation topics, celebrations-- this book is an inspiration!
Aug 15, 2011 Christine rated it liked it
Reinforced my hope that we can continue to have family dinner each night. It is hard to do each night sometimes the hardest thing Bryan and I do in a given day. I have already seen how important it is to the kids and how it centers us as a family. I completely now appreciate every night family dinners that I had growing up.
Aug 22, 2015 Aubrey rated it really liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
Quite a few great recipes (meat and dairy free, for us) and lots of great ideas for connecting....questions, quotes, short articles, ideas for games. Great book.
Oct 03, 2014 Lorrainesoucie rated it it was amazing
A super great book !! Lots of great ideas on how to introduce your children to the wonderful world of foods, not only for the nourishment of our bodies but also for the soul. Although it does talk about family dinner it can be any one of the meals for the day, but dinner seems to work best. I wish I had read this book when my children were small, but all is not lost as Laurie even has a section for grandparents. The are loads of interesting,easy recipes that allows the child to be involved. It i ...more
Melinda Hammontree
Feb 15, 2014 Melinda Hammontree rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
Delightful combination of cookbook, inspiration, games and stories. Love this book!
Wendy Hines
Jun 26, 2013 Wendy Hines rated it really liked it
I was raised that if you didn't sit at the table, you didn't eat. That was the time that my parents to connect with us kids after a long day of school and work. I hated it! I'm not sure if I hated the fact I had to eat at the table or the fact I had clean-up chores. But those talks with my parents and communicating with my parents always stuck with me.

When I had my own kids, I scoffed at family dinner. We ate in the living room in front of the TV. But, as my kids grew and went to school, all of
Jan 17, 2011 Skye rated it really liked it
I liked this book a lot, and I believe firmly in eating together every night as a family, a tradition that is fading in our over-scheduled lives. I do have two gripes, however, with this book. From my perspective as a vegan, her chapter on "meatless Monday" irked me. She does a fantastic job of listing all the reasons why we shouldn't be eating meat- from health reasons to environmental, but then says as long as we don't eat meat one day a week, we are doing ok, and that most people aren't willi ...more
Nov 06, 2010 Ruth rated it liked it
I'm a mom who firmly believes in the family eating together. We sit down at the dinner table together at least four days a week; usually more. Generally speaking dinner is something I can put together in 30 minutes, or it is something from the crockpot. Since I get home at 5:30 on a day when my husband picks up the six year old, complicated recipes are not on the agenda. Since I'm feeding kids, "strange" food is generally not welcomed. I was hoping The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Y ...more
Jan 22, 2011 Jennifer rated it it was amazing
If you have a family - any kind of family: kids, grandparents, a spouse - you need to read this book.

I originally picked up this book thinking that it was another "foods your kids will eat" cookbook. I was pleasantly surprised that it was so much more. The actual recipes are only about 1/5 of the book's concent, but the other 4/5 of information is stuff that every family needs to read and use. With info like setting the table, music to listen to while cooking, Meatless Mondays, conversation sta
Jen Winter
Nov 23, 2010 Jen Winter rated it really liked it
Shelves: giveaways
I won this book - First Reads Book Giveaway.
I was really pleasantly surprised by this book.First off it is a large hardcover book that reminds me of a well loved cookbook from Grandma's kitchen...complete with up to date excellent recipes (I have tried three so far and the kids loved them!). Right down to the type styles and art work used on the inside, it gave me a warm feeling and I enjoyed curling up to read it. If I had to say anything negative it is that the actual subject seemed overly sim
Dec 08, 2010 Chrissy rated it it was amazing

I really enjoyed this book not only for the great recipes but for all of the great advice on how to get your kids and family involved with cooking and with conversations at dinner time. At my house we always sit down to dinner together. There are a few exceptions but for the most part we strive for family dinners. This is not only a great way to make sure we are all together everyday but also a wonderful way to find out how the kids day went, what issues they might be having and gives me the opp
Apr 29, 2011 Jamie rated it liked it
This book has a wealth of information. But it might have just a little too much to actually be useful. Maybe if you didn't have any other recipe books or sources about organic food, etc, then it would be useful. But it is so broad in scope and covers so many areas that it is just a little overwhelming. I kept finding cool parts but because of the way it was (dis)organized, couldn't find them again. So it's not really great for reading straight through, but neither is it great for quick reference ...more
Feb 27, 2011 Bkh4 rated it it was amazing
I love, love, love this book! I am so glad I decided to buy it rather than borrow from the library. After the first few pages, I knew I was going to love it. I read the rest of the book with a pad of post-its by my side for flagging recipes and a notepad for recording tips, quotes, and other interesting tidbits. It's hard to describe as it's not simply a cookbook. As the name implies, it focuses on the importance of the family dinner in raising well-adjusted, respectful, motivated and grateful c ...more
Dec 19, 2010 Megan rated it it was amazing
"Food has to be sacred. There is something very unique about sharing the nourishment of food with your loved ones. I fear we are forgetting that." -Dr. Mehmet Oz

"Family dinner opened for me an interest in the world. Every meal I got to hear my parents and siblings discussing cultural and political affairs that I don't think I would have been exposed to if not at dinner. For me it shaped my ideas for my future." -Rabbi David Saperstein

"There is something mystical and sacred about the preparation
Carol Harlow
Nov 09, 2010 Carol Harlow rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing cookbook! It not only has recipes (which you know how much I like recipes!!) but it has ways to bring your family together for meals, games to play after dinner, dinner conversation starters along with so much more!

Here’s a list of what you can find inside this book~

Why Family Dinners Matter

Ten Simple Steps (To Successful Family Dinners)

Setting The Scene

Fast Recipes

“Cook”Together At The Table

Souper Dinners

Take It Slow (Cook Today, Eat Tomorrow~or Freeze for Another Day)

Jan 25, 2015 Suzanne rated it it was amazing
Highly recommended. My husband and I have used many of the ideas in this book to make our family dinners a focal point for our day. There are conversation starters, ideas for traditions, etc. With our boys now age 13 and 10, we are really starting to see the work we've done here pay off. Some of our best family times are around the dinner table. Well worth reading if you have kids from preschool age upwards.
Dec 10, 2012 Liz rated it liked it
I did like the concept of the book - I do think it is important to "revive" the family dinner and put the effort in during the week. I felt the book was at its best at the start where it focused on decorating ideas. There are certainly some good recipes in the book (albeit very strangely organized) but some are recipes a little unrealistic for a weeknight and it was a little frustrating that they didn't come with a prep or cooking time estimate (I can't speak for anybody else, but for me mashed ...more
Dec 30, 2010 Carol rated it it was amazing
Great book - I'm seeing the results of our efforts to have a regular dinner time with our kids now that they are older teens. Although there is preparation and planning, dinner is my favorite time of the day. It's when we reconnect, share our lives, discuss values, and remember our past history. This book shares the impact of the family dinner on kids of all ages. There are many benefits to kids physical and emotional health. The recipes were okay - I would have liked more meatless ideas but at ...more
Oct 31, 2011 Amelia rated it it was ok
I have skimmed through this book a few times since I got it for Christmas almost a year ago. There are probably some good recipes here, and I liked a few of the ideas, but it's poorly organized (shrimp cakes in the slow cooking section?) and visually hard to read with its many-colored multiple fonts and scattered tip boxes.

What really put me off, though, was the serious rich-people bias. Laurie David, when pressed for time just hired someone to do the cooking for her. Great. So not my reality.
Sep 01, 2014 Marlee rated it really liked it
I absolutely love this book. Though I have read the whole thing, I haven't yet cooked all of the recipes. So, I can't say for sure that all of the recipes are great. However, those that I have tried have been good (and fast and easy to make), and the others I've read look as though they will be good as well. I love the games, poems, and activity ideas throughout the book, as well as all of the different facts included. And I even love how the book is laid out. We've tried many of the activities ...more
Jul 10, 2011 Stephanie rated it it was ok
Shelves: cookbooks
I was hoping the recipes in this book were going to be less complicated (ingredient wise) and more kid friendly (again, ingredient wise). My kids are not yet that daring with their food tastes. Therefore, I probably won't be preparing any of these recipes. Not to mention, some of the ingredients and recipes made me wonder who the heck has the time to prepare a weekday meal like this? So some of them seemed unrealistic to me. Ingredients included things like toasted pumpkin seeds, freshly shucked ...more
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Laurie David is a media savvy powerhouse. She founded the Stop Global Warming Virtual March, produced the Academy Award-winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, and launched the Stop Global Warming College Tour with Sheryl Crow. She’s been featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Today, and Good Morning America; is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, and is author of The Down-to-Earth Guid ...more
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