I got this book for work, cracked it open on Sunday while doing some research, and ended up curling up with it for the rest of the afternoon. It’s so lovely!
Now, cookbooks aren’t my thing. I’m a timid cook and would rather spend my time and money on reading books, you know? But I fear this book is a gateway to a cookbook habit. And it’s the perfect gateway for a reader like me, because it is a memoir/cookbook hybrid.
The author, Jenny Rosenstrach, started a dinner diary early in her marriage to help plan out meals for the week. She has written down every dinner she and her husband have made since 1998!
Through the short essays and recipes, we learn how dinner has shaped her home life and brought her family comfort and closeness, and also watch her evolve as a cook.
I’m someone who skated through my 20s without ever really cooking. I would prepare meals at home — toaster oven veggie burgers, a bowl of black beans with hot sauce (yum!). That was as complex as it got. But recently, I’ve been drawn to trying recipes here and there. And this book got me because the author makes cooking sound so fun and easy. She was not going for Martha Stewart perfection. She just wanted to cook for her family so they could eat well and share yummy meals. I love that idea.
I was tickled by the cute pictures:
And her wholehearted embrace of the cocktail hour spoke to me, too. Don’t these look delicious? And notice how she calls the cocktail section “medicine” — I hear ya, Jenny!
I was so motivated by the book that I picked a recipe to cook that night. I made the clam spaghetti and it was seriously tasty! I was pretty proud of myself. (I would post a picture, but I don’t think there is any way to make clam spaghetti look beautiful. It sure tasted good, though.)
I recommend this book if you are a new cook who needs a little hand-holding, or are looking for some easy dinners to add to your arsenal. Plus, it is a good read. I know I’ll be trying a lot more of the recipes.