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Dinner: The Playbook: A 30-Day Plan for Mastering the Art of the Family Meal Paperback – August 26, 2014

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  • Dinner: The Playbook: A 30-Day Plan for Mastering the Art of the Family Meal
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Editorial Reviews


“Your hard-to-please crew will wolf down these inventive ways to introduce ‘fancy’ foods. Jenny Rosenstrach created them for her family, and she swears you’ll be shocked by the clean plates. . . . Dinner: The Playbook mixes ‘You can do this’ inspiration, practical planning, and easy recipes [with] hard-earned wisdom for getting a kid-pleasing meal on the table, night after night.”Redbook
“The master of simple, low-stress cooking. You might know her from her blog, Dinner, A Love Story; her new book, Dinner: The Playbook, is full of the same secret strategies for busy women.”Glamour

“Families and novice cooks who accept Rosenstrach’s challenge will definitely find a few ‘keepers’ here.”Library Journal

“Jenny Rosenstrach has truly mastered the art of the happy family dinner. This is the most sensible advice on cooking for kids I’ve ever seen: no gimmicks, no tricks, just practical advice for working parents. I wish this book had been around when my son was small.”—Ruth Reichl
“This book is for anyone who loves the promise of a home-cooked dinner but gets bogged down by the day-to-day reality of it: picky kids, picky spouses, the extinction of the nine-to-five workday, and the pressure—oh, the pressure—to get it on the table before everyone collapses into a hangry (hungry + angry) meltdown. Which is to say that this book is for me, me, me. And I bet it’s for you too.”—Deb Perelman, author of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook

“Well, Jenny Rosenstrach, on the behalf of my whole family, thanks for the most practical—and yet still inspired—cookbook on our shelf. You are singularly responsible for my return to the kitchen.”—Kelly Corrigan, author of Glitter and Glue
“Jenny Rosenstrach is warm, wise and a genius when it comes to dinners. . . . As a mother of two young children, I was always racked with guilt when serving hummus and crackers for dinner or suggesting yet another night of scrambled eggs. But this brilliant guide is—no exaggeration—changing my life. I was more than happy to let Jenny be my boss for thirty days and whip me—and my family’s dinner—into shape. Think of this book as the world’s most delicious boot camp.”—Joanna Goddard, blogger, A Cup of Jo

About the Author

Jenny Rosenstrach is the creator of the blog Dinner: A Love Story and author of the book Dinner: A Love Story. She has appeared on NPR’s Weekend Edition and NBC’s Today. She and her husband, Andy Ward, write “The Providers” column for Bon Appétit. They live in Westchester County, New York, with their two young daughters.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (August 26, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345549805
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345549808
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.8 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #26,195 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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 anthologies including Martha Stewart Living, Whole Living, and the New York Times. She is the author, with her husband, Andy Ward, of "The Providers," a column in Bon Appétit. She and her family live in Westchester County, New York.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A. Looby VINE VOICE on July 8, 2014
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I have been planning our meals for a while, so this didn't really give me anything new as far as that goes, but it is still a good reminder and has good recipes in the back. The book challenges the reader to undergo a 30 day family dinner plan. It has easy, mostly 30 minute, recipes to help you get started. The book will help you learn to organize a meal plan, shop for the meal plan, prepare for the week in advance and get a home-cooked meal on the table, every night.

Family dinners are essential. It's time to come together, to laugh, to talk, to just be together. There are so many studies out there that prove that family dinners are beneficial for children.

The meals in the book do not require a super skill level in cooking. They're easy and seem to be kid friendly. There is a lot of seafood, chicken and even several meatless meals. The majority of the recipes have notes at the end with suggested sides, how to prep parts of the meal ahead of time, how to store it, how to freeze and use later (useful for doubling a batch sometimes), and what to do in the morning to get a leap on dinner time.

What I really like about the recipes is that they don't rely on pouch, box, frozen or canned ingredients (you do use some canned tomato and beans). This is all fresh, real food. The pan-fried pizza in particular has been a favorite. Some recipes have quite a few ingredients, while others are very simple. There's a good range in there.

There are sections for the 21 quick suggested sides as well as 15 "fancier" recipes. The book also includes a planning sheet for the week where you put in the meal, grade the meal and decide if you want to keep it in your rotation.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
...then this is the book for you! This is the second of her books based on her popular Dinner: A Love Story blog. The first book mostly tells how SHE did it, this second book breaks it down & tells you how YOU can do it. It's a menu-planning guide for giving yourself a 30-day reboot to enjoy cooking again. It is NOT a beginner cook's menu planning guide! This will have you in the kitchen daily, breaking down recipes into prep steps to pre-prep as much as possible, AND getting the rest of the family involved in cooking too. An experienced cook can bread cutlets while directing a child to wash greens and remember to make twice as much rice so you have some for Tuesday's dish, but a beginning cook might end up weeping in a corner with all that going on at once! You have to know what you are doing & be organized enough to keep on top of a lot of little details.

The first thing you do is pick a start date (she suggests the following Sunday, whenever that may be), and then get your family to help pick recipes. This was the part that almost made me quit before we started!! My husband picked REALLY elaborate and/or expensive dishes. I vetoed the Middle Eastern delicacy that called for $35 worth of fresh herbs (and that's not even counting the lamb!), but I did make the cabbage rolls that had four sub-recipes and took three hours to complete. My daughter picked out nothing but Chinese dishes. My son picked out quiche lorraine, ham & cheddar frittata, bacon & monterey jack scrambled eggs, ham & swiss hash with poached eggs - seeing a theme here? :-)

But we are halfway through, and it IS working. The kids are really enjoying rating their picks, and I'm having more fun cooking now.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mary-Curtis Smart Powell on August 30, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Two years ago, I went from eating take-out at night with my cat, to being married with two children, and wanting to start a family dinner ritual. The thing was, I was no cook. In fact, the college kids who worked the counter at our local Moe's knew me as "the nacho lady" because I frequented their establishment so often. That Christmas, my mother gave me a copy of Dinner: A Love Story: It all begins at the family table and my life literally changed. I now have a few "back pocket" recipes of my own, and "deconstructing dinner" is a standard practice at our house.

However, I still struggle with a picky-eater who makes being creative at dinnertime an impossibility. Enter, Dinner: The Playbook. Jenny's newest book is not just a cookbook, it is a PLAN with a capital P on how to make family dinners a fun family affair. I love how the book not only lays out the rules of the game, but also provides a number of tips to make implementation easier. For example, Jenny offers TEN done for you meal plans, ideas on what to do with the odds and ends left in your fridge each week, even how to grocery shop effectively.

I haven't even gotten to the actual recipes yet. I love that she breaks them down into do-able weekday dinners and other, more adult-friendly, romantic recipes. The black bean and goat cheese quesadillas are a staple of our Meatless Mondays. I am excited to try the Braised Adobo Pork with Polenta. Jenny's recipes have always been easy to follow, honest with regards to time and effort, and delicious. This Playbook is definitely going to be my number one new reference as I continue to navigate the waters of my new family, and the ritual of family dinner. Jenny, my husband, kids, and I thank you. We need all the help we can get!
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