Jenny Rosenstrach gets it—the working parents gig, the crazy-busy kids thing, and the fiery temptation to dial in or defrost an “it’ll do” dinner. Her award-winning blog, Dinner: A Love Story (DALS), book of the same name, and its forthcoming follow-up all share her home-cooking saga, from newlywed to young parent to now. The reader-beloved blog, she says, is “based on my ‘Dinner Diary’—a notebook where I’ve written down what I’ve made for dinner every night since 1998!”
Since Rosenstrach launched DALS four and a half years ago, the blog on reconnecting through the family meal—complete with recipes and planning guides as well as all manner of practical parenting insights—has been featured on NPR, the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, et al. Besides the site being utterly inspiring and incredibly user-friendly, Rosenstrach’s relatable prose is spot-on and flat-out enjoyable to read.
A former editor at Real Simple, she and her book-editor husband Andy, who often contributes to the blog, also write a Bon Appétit column about relatable family-feeding topics (like “Convincing the Kids to Eat Brussels Sprouts”), with the same “Yes!” effect. Basically, the two are so likeable you want to hate them, but their transparency about totally not being perfect only makes you like them more so. More on the DALSphere that will inevitably further your love/hate for them:
Ingenious: The “What to Cook Tonight” section of the site, with recipe suggestions categorized intuitively by need: If…you need something fast (hoisin turkey burgers); …you have hardly anything in the pantry (pizza with asparagus and onions); …you actually have a little time to prepare something while savoring a glass of wine (braised short ribs)—and even a charitable inclusion of storebought dinners that you can feel good about feeding your kids.
Not Recipes: Past blog highlights include Andy’s post on “Music Couples Cook To”; a guide to finding what drink best suits you; an interview with David Sedaris (“We talk about books at the dinner table a lot,” Rosenstrach writes); home-grown, not-tired birthday party ideas; and blogging tips. There’s also a DALS newsletter and a “Make Dinner Not War” bumper sticker.
High Praise: Of the blog’s eponymous and highly acclaimed spin-off cookbook/memoir, Bon Appétit Editor-in-Chief Adam Rapoport has said, “Jenny is that rare writer who can literally make you laugh and cry—and most importantly, she inspires you to stop just talking about dinner and start making it.”
The Dobbs Ferry transplant (from Brooklyn Heights 10 years ago) grew up in Larchmont. In addition to frequenting classic crowd favorites Walter’s hot dogs and Sal’s Pizza in Mamaroneck, here’s how Rosenstrach does the Westchester food scene.
When they do eat out… “Our favorite place by far is Blue Hill Café at Stone Barns. Nine times out of 10, if there’s a free weekend, we will be there eating homemade bologna sandwiches [the one with the finely minced pickled vegetables!], natural peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, chopped egg and asparagus salad on toast, cheddar-chive scones... You literally can’t go wrong.”
Other faves include… Los Gemelos in Port Chester “for authentic Mexican”, MP Taverna in Irvington, Harper’s in Dobbs Ferry, The Parlor (also in Dobbs) “for their pizza and especially their Brussels sprout salad with chile oil and Rice Krispies,” and Calcutta in Ardsley for Indian takeout.
And for the best ingredients… “From June through November, I get as much as possible at the Hastings-on-Hudson farmers’ market, and supplement with Trader Joe’s in Hartsdale. The rest of the year, it’s TJ’s and Whole Foods in Yonkers. And if I’m at Sal’s, I will always swing by and pick up the pre-made raviolis and meatballs at Mercurio’s on Mamaroneck Ave.”
Get Rosenstrach’s recipes for the perfect summer cookout—including BBQ spare ribs (her kids’ favorite), kale & avocado slaw, and no-mess summer cobbler—at westchestermagazine.com/recipes.