Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Dinner: The Playbook, Jenny Rosenstrach

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

Jenny Rosenstrach

Category: Cookbook

Synopsis: Part game plan, part cookbook, Rosenstrach combines the two to foster the family meal.

Date finished: 8 September 2014

Rating: ***

I hate it when cookbooks have an agenda. And there are few things I resist more than fads. Especially, fads in cooking and eating. This year’s kale chips are next year’s yucca chips, if you know what I mean.

So, as much as I look forward to this book for months, it was a disappointment. Rosenstrach’s debut cookbook, Dinner: A Love Story, also ladled out a big dose of autobiography (always a plus in my book) and its recipes felt much more accessible. The recipes here seemed more a snapshot of food for the Trader Joe set circa 2014. I just have this feeling that Rosenstrach will look back on this book and its recipes the way we look back on 80s hair, neon legwarmers, and jeans that zipped at the ankle. Mark my words, her husband will one day ask, “Honey, remember that year we ate nothing but quinoa, butternut squash, and lentils?” To which she’ll reply, “Do I? I wrote the cookbook on that year!”

The cookbook, as well as her website, is designed to get families to eat meals together at the table. It’s a simple concept without a single drawback other than someone has to cook that meal. Enter Rosenstrach. Her mission is to get parents cooking and kids eating.

I love her mission. I grew up with family suppers every night. That and weekly church services may or may not be responsible for three college degrees and no jail time for my brothers and me. But in this book, she gets a little hysterical about her mission, and little too four-star-general and bossy. Frankly, I think folks need more encouragement than bludgeoning. It felt pretty heavy-handed.  

Now, I really didn’t hate the book. In fact, I found a couple recipes that I’d like to try. Hello, Sticky Pomegranate Chicken Pieces!* Howya doin’ Cornmeal Crusted Fish! And a shout-out to my friend the Tomato and Avocado Salad. There’s a picture for every dish, and the meals are well-balanced. She even works them out for you so that leftovers from Monday’s meal become Wednesday’s supper so you use up produce and don’t let things go to waste.

If you like to eat the in thing, the current superfoods, this is the book for you. For the traditional set, who want a cookbook that lasts a couple decades, you might look elsewhere.

*When I have $9 to spend on pomegranate juice, I swear I’m gonna try this.
Would you recommend this to a friend?
I don’t think so.

You might also enjoy:
Dinner: A Love Story


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