With a blog and book dedicated to family dinners, Jenny Rosenstrach knows a thing or two about easy, tasty meals.
"My goal, in the blog and at the table, is to get away from the fairy-tale family dinner where only grass-fed beef is served and broccoli is eaten only when it's in season. I think good eating is important, of course, but the real aim is to inspire people to sit down together in the first place. Once you have that (very hard) part down, then you can move on to the next step -- what's for dinner?"
-- Jenny Rosenstrach, dinneralovestory.com
Part cookbook, part survival guide, "Dinner: A Love Story" (out June 2012) has all of Jenny's favorite meal ideas, suppertime tips, and cook's secrets (read: cocktails) that help make dinner fun again.
Q&A with Jenny
Why did you start the blog?
First, I lost my job, which was a big factor. But also, for a long time, I thought I could help people figure out family dinner without scaring them into it. You know how every year those studies come out saying our kids are doomed if we aren't eating with them every night? I always thought I could help remind people why it's fun if you do it -- not why it's shameful if you don't.
How do you get your two daughters to try so many new foods?
I tell them if they don't eat, I will chain them to the radiator. Or, if that doesn't work, I just make sure there's one thing on the plate they'll eat without complaint. You'd be amazed at the kind of magical effect buttery mashed potatoes can have on whatever is around them.
What do you do when you are crazy-busy?
Funny, but it's when things are busy that I crave family dinner the most. There has to be a time of day to decompress. But when schedules and sports and work interfere, I tend to stay away from osso buco and go with the kind of dish you see here -- simple, fast, fresh! Even taking a few minutes in the morning before work to think about dinner can help get the momentum going.