Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Dinner: A Love Story: It All Begins at the Family Table” as Want to Read:
Dinner: A Love Story: It All Begins at the Family Table
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

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

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  4,577 ratings  ·  545 reviews
Jenny Rosenstrach, and her husband, Andy, regularly, some might say pathologically, cook dinner for their family every night. Even when they work long days. Even when their kids' schedules pull them in eighteen different directions. They are not superhuman. They are not from another planet.

With simple strategies and common sense, Jenny figured out how to break down dinner—
Hardcover, 302 pages
Published June 5th 2012 by Ecco
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Dinner, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Dinner

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.05  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,577 ratings  ·  545 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Dinner: A Love Story: It All Begins at the Family Table
Jul 23, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2012, non-fiction, memoir
Generally I like this kind of cookbook/memoir, and while the recipes look good and I will likely try several of them, the premise is all wrong.

Most of this book is centered around getting your picky kids to eat the same dinner that the adults eat. Which would be great except for the fact that the writer created the picky kid situation all by herself by following her own #1 Rule. Which is to feed the kids separate "kid friendly" meals at an earlier hour and then have the adult meal later after th
Beth Bender
Jun 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
There are so many things I loved about this book. Especially the attitude with which it's written. Many of her recipes aren't my style, for reasons I'll go into below, but I bought the book.because I wholeheartedly believe in her message. Although I do think it's a sad commentary on our society that something as simple as making dinner is such a challenge for people.

The reasons I probably won't make a lot of these recipes are as follows:

So much meat! Especially pork. The dishes look yummy but my
Jun 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Not really a full cookbook, and definitely not for all tastes; no matter how wry and self-deprecating the author is about her rigid devotion to dinner diaries and train schedules, there's a certain clenched-jaw life management on display here that's discomfiting. The food does look mainly good, if resolutely American with a capital A, and if people didn't like to read about mothers struggling with guilt, we wouldn't have 45%of the Internet as we know it.
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book was not even on my radar until I saw it in my library's weekly Wowbrary newsletter (the newest arrivals at the library). I checked it out on a whim and quickly realized that Jenny Rosenstrach had written this book just for me. How often do you find a book that’s perfectly tailored to you?

Part memoir, part recipe book, Dinner: A love story is the only cookbook I have ever read cover to cover, and the only one that ever led to discussion between my spouse and I. If you’re the kind of coo
Ivonne Rovira
Oct 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: cooks at every level
Jenny Rosenstrach’s Dinner: A Love Story isn’t a conventional cookbook. It’s one part cookbook, yes; however it’s equal parts memoir and how-to manual for getting children to broaden their palates. Rosenstrach had me from the introduction when she explained that her book wouldn’t aspire to Martha Stewart levels of perfection nor further guilt-trip mothers who struggle with feeding picky children after exhausting days at work.

Rosenstrach’s considerably more organized than I. (I’m damning her wit
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Love, love, love this book. I highly recommend it to anyone who feeds other people. The books that are turned out by the blogger-turned-book-writer cooks are often poorly written, self-indulgent and even whiny with a few good recipes you will probably never make sprinkled in. Not Rosenstrach's book. She convincingly describes how two working parents can regularly feed a family healthy, delicious meals and gives you all the "how to" to do it yourself. Her writing is accessible and fun. She never ...more
Sep 30, 2012 added it
I was disappointed in this one. I'm a big believer in family dinner, but I couldn't drop the feeling that the author is not my people. It was the instruction to "add the lentils and stir them until they look like shiny beautiful caviar" that clenched it. Um. ?? Also, her Venn diagram is wrong (p. 200). I may be a big believer in family dinner, but I am also a person who judges you when you don't understand Venn diagrams. (I'm sure it was an honest mistake, but that means that there is an editor ...more
Allison Anderson Armstrong
Jun 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
My dad used to remind me "If you read through the entire recipe first, you're less likely to make mistakes." Well, I'm sure he'd be proud to know that I've now read through a whole
cookbook! I am not as scared off by scary food words such as "orzo," "mascarpone," "scallions," "arugula," etc.... I grew up with words like "casserole," "burgers," "pizza," and "lasagna." My mom's a great cook, but there's this new, weird healthy way of cooking with things that the world is beginning to expect me to
Nov 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
About the Book: I’d heard of Dinner: A Love Story before ordering a copy but admittedly had spent zero time on Jenny Rosenstrach’s blog nor was I aware that this was a cookbook that wasn’t just pictures of food with directions on how to cook it, but a true story woven within its pages. After reading Bread & Wine earlier this spring, I felt inspired to pick this cookbook up and I’m so glad I did! I found myself totally immersed in Jenny’s life story, about remembering the days her mom went back t ...more
Sep 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, blog
Originally posted at Nose in a Book

Hi, my name is Ashley and I don’t want children. There are two responses to this. 1) “Hi, Ashley, welcome to the club.” 2) “Oh. Hon. You’ll change your mind.” Now, I know you’re asking, “why are you telling me this?” I’m telling you this because this book is about dinner and families and I still enjoyed it.

Jenny Rosenstrach takes us on a food journal of when she first met the man who is now her husband, to when they first married, to when they became a family o
Dec 26, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: food, cookbook
This is a cookbook in the style that has become quite popular lately: one part memoir, one part family recipes. This format works well sometimes (the wonderful A Homemade Life comes to mind) but doesn't totally rise to the occasion here. Dinner: A Love Story is buoyed by the author's engaging writing style, but never really takes off due to overly simplistic recipes.

If you think about what you cook at home during the week, most of it isn't that exciting. At my house, we have a rotation of variou
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, cookbooks
1 part funny and honest memoir + 1 part family friendly recipes following current style of "real foods" = very engaging read. She chronicles her cooking evolution from single to newly wed to mom of two kids under two (I had three under two for a while!!) to mom of two kids in elementary school.

Chicken pot pie with sweet potatoes: awesome

Spicy fries made with sweet potatoes: awesome

Breakfast burritos for dinner: awesome

I think Rosenstrach's budget is a wee bit more generous than mine, but still,
Bea Elwood
Mar 27, 2013 rated it it was ok
This book gets only two stars because I have read better books; but if you are American parents frustrated and ashamed of your (in)ability to place a home cooked meal on the table every night this book is a good place to start. I did appreciate that this was the story of one family and the real-world steps they took to make family dinner an important part of their family life, two-thumbs up for that.

However, right away she states: I don't even recommend attempting a sit-down meal with your kids
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this practical, relatable memoir and cookbook. I came away from it inspired to do more with our family dinner routine and with a loooong list of simple, delicious-sounding recipes to try. I also spent way too much time on the blog this afternoon! Highly recommended for moms -- and, really, for anyone who takes pleasure in preparing and serving a simple, tasty, wholesome meal.
May 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
“Praise is motivating. And no praise is bad for the soul.” (p. 108)

This book is like having your own dinner doula by your side. Jenny Rosenstrach encourages us that it IS possible to put together a meal that’s both adult- and kid-friendly in a reasonable amount of time so we can bring the whole family together around the dinner table, even on weeknights. It’s about enjoying real food (rather than convenience “food”) in a way that’s as non-stressful as possible for working parents (because let’s
Jun 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cooking-food
This was a really interesting book. I can't remember when I first found the author's blog of the same name, but I really liked it so I was excited to read the book when it came out. Since I haven't been following the blog from the beginning the book tells the story of how Jenny started keeping track of what she ate or made for dinner every night and how that evolved when she had children and then further evolved into her blog. The book is divided into 3 parts - the first part explains how Jenny ...more
Diana Alexander
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cookbooks-food
I have a lot of cookbooks. A few years ago it got to the point where they needed their own, dedicated bookshelf inserted into my kitchen. Obviously, I have a bit of a problem when it comes to cookbooks. Out of all the cookbooks I have, however, Dinner, A Love Story is the one that rarely makes it back to it's spot on the shelf -it's always on the kitchen counter.

Jenny Rosenstrach "gets it". We all want yummy, healthy, easy and quick to make meals becuase with kids and a job and a million other
May 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing

I absolutely devoured this book (see what I did there? "devoured" hehe) in less than 24 hours. Full disclosure - Memoir is my favorite genre and I am addicted to cookbooks, so it is no surprise that this one appealed to me. This book will not make you feel guilty if you don't already cook and spend hours around the family table - it also won't give you the big head if you do. It WILL inspire you in practical ways to put dinner on the table. Moreover, it will inspire you to embrace whatever lif
Oct 17, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommended, cookbook
I enjoyed this book, which was largely but not exclusively recipes. The author discusses ways to get the whole family to sit down together and had many many kid AND adult friendly recipes. I pulled about 8 and Rob is excited to try a few. I have added her blog to something I look at regularly for recipe ideas.

The author often had "overlapping" meals in which she would eat the spinach and chicken; one daughter would eat the chicken with rice and other daughter would eat the spinach and rice, She
Jun 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Oh, I really enjoyed this book.
And more importantly, I will continue to enjoy this book!

And this is really saying something because
a) I frequently think of dinner as the daily albatross around my neck and
b) I don't really get into to cookbooks.

So, why is it such a great read?

Because its much more of a love story than a cookbook. Yes, there are recipes. Pretty damn good ones, at that. But the way they are presented is what makes it captivating. The author introduces them with lovely, funny, hum
Maria Burnham
May 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this book! I checked it out from the library, thinking I was getting a cookbook, but really what I got was a beautiful story about how food and homecooked meals tell the stories of our lives. The book weaves together recipes (most of which I would feel comfortable making) and the author's journey of keeping a food journal. It tracks the days of day-long cooking of fancy meals to the frantic life of having little children and just needing to get something on the table.
I take m
Kate Peaslee
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
loved loved loved this book. a MUST for anyone managing work and home life, esp with young kids, who prioritizes healthy eating, cooking at home, and eating together as a family...some great suggestions here on how to make that happen in a regular, realistic manner...funny, sweet family and relationship anecdotes interspersed with recipes. never thought I would read a glorified recipe book for fun from start to finish, but here it is! my only regret is that I read it as an ebook and now have to ...more
Jun 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I look and sound just like my mother. I also got my love of reading from her. So it makes sense that both of us love read cookbooks the way others read novels. Jenny Rosenstrach writes a helpful and entertaining food blog, Dinner A Love Story. Her book by the same name is great for people like Mom and I. She has created a nice mix of personal stories and recipes. People with children will be interested on her tips/cooking style to create one meal to please her and her husband while accommodating ...more
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It has compelling narrative and it is a great cook book. I read it from cover to cover and kind of want to start over again. I wouldn't say she has inspired me to cook fancy things, but she makes me want to keep cooking good food every day, and to serve it to my kids and be okay with it if they don't like it. To keep trying because I like good food and that is reason enough. I will definitely be reading this again and again.
Feb 04, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: craft-cook-books
I enjoyed reading the narrative (and there is quite a lot of it, for a cookbook). Actually, this is more a journey through marriage and family than a collection of recipes. What a good idea! She talks about acquiring equipment, stocking the pantry, all sorts of stuff that the cooking novice would appreciate. It's like she's holding your hand, but not.
This would be a great wedding gift. Or, just visit her blog:
Apr 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book! I picked it up after a friend recommended the blog. Through small chapters (that have accompanying recipes) that span 1998-2012, the author tells how she came to prioritize family dinner and how both her family and her approach to dinner evolved over time. She has plenty of good ideas and recipes to try out. If you enjoy reading about how other people view dinner, cooking, and family, you'll enjoy this book.
Lindsay Cook
Dec 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Inspiring without being preachy. Most recipes are simple and fast to pull together for a weeknight meal and I also really want to eat them! My only complaint is that the seem to eat like a two income family (ie lots of fish and seafood) which aren't exactly in our budget, but still sound super good for our couple times a year when we splurge. She also has a daughter named Phoebe, so I automatically connected with her.
Sarah Swann
Jun 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing

LOVE LOVE LOVED this book! I loved her stories and how real she is. Made a running list of recipes I want to try and it's nice and long. I can't wait to get cooking! This book will live on my cookbook stand in my kitchen so it will remind me of how important it is to feed my family well and help me find the joy in cooking again.
Jan 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Love this book! I've been making meals from this book before I even finished reading it. The recipes are great and Jenny (I feel like we're on a first name basis) is relatable and funny. She also gives me hope that family dinners will get better and easier as my kids get older, and also that I'll get better at cooking too.
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Sure, the recipes are easy, interesting, achievable...but I loved this book for the storytelling. I read it straight through like a memoir. Not to overstate things, but I even got career advice from this book. I'm just sayin'. It's worth the read.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust
  • The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More
  • Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams at Home
  • Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round
  • Bouchon Bakery
  • The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook
  • The Best Halloween Ever (The Herdmans #3)
  • Top Secret Restaurant Recipes: Creating Kitchen Clones from America's Favorite Restaurant Chains
  • The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook
  • The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives
  • The Minimalist Kitchen: 100 Wholesome Recipes, Essential Tools, and Efficient Techniques
  • French Kids Eat Everything: How Our Family Moved to France, Cured Picky Eating, Banned Snacking, and Discovered 10 Simple Rules for Raising Happy, Healthy Eaters
  • Delancey: A Man, a Woman, a Restaurant, a Marriage
  • The Taste of Home Cookbook
  • The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks
  • 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think
  • Your Four-Year-Old: Wild and Wonderful
  • The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook: More Than 100 Recipes From the Best Little Bakery In the South
See similar books…
Jenny Rosenstrach is the creator of Dinner: A Love Story, the website devoted to family dinner, and the coauthor of Time for Dinner: Strategies, Recipes, Inspiration for Family Meals Every Night of the Week. For four years, she was the features director at Cookie magazine and special projects editor at Real Simple. Her essays and articles have appeared in numerous national publications and antholo ...more

News & Interviews

“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” That’s Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani human rights...
30 likes · 7 comments