The Family Dinner by Laurie David
with recipes by Kirstin Uhrenholdt

We sit down as a family for dinner probably most every night, and I have to admit that I’m always on the lookout for new cookbooks. I think trying new recipes is fun. It doesn’t hurt that my husband will eat just about everything and Amber (10) is usually pretty good at trying things or finding parts of a meal she’ll eat.

While this book  is chock-full of recipes, it’s more than a cookbook. Davis discusses why having dinner together is important and offers steps to making those dinners successful (no cell phones!). There are conversation starters, some of which I can actually see working and not just leaving kids rolling their eyes at you. “What is the grossest thing you have ever eaten?” “Describe your dream vacation. Give lots of details.” Those two questions alone could probably keep the talk going at our table for hours, with more details than I’d necessarily want. Another idea is to comb the paper for current topics to discuss, like oil drilling or cell phone etiquette. The dinner table is a wonderful place for a respectful debate.

Other chapters include games for after dinner and even family dinners after divorce. One of my personal favorite chapters is “Grace Is Gratitude.” “Expressing thanks for food is as basic a ritual as exists in the world. ” (pg. 195) And the graces she provides are not solely Christian and Jewish, they include a Buddhist Blessing and even a Chinese proverb.

The recipes are wonderful. Reading through them, a lot of them sound tasty. Last week we had my in-laws over for dinner and I tried the Apple Cider Chicken. Usually I wouldn’t try out a new recipe on them, but this one sounded so delicious and simple that I had to give it a shot. And it was a hit. Everybody ate it up. Unfortunately I didn’t take a photo of it, but it was chicken cooked with apples, onions and bacon in cider and chicken broth – yummy! Next up is the Chipotle Orange Shrimp with Caramelized Bananas and Black Beans. Amber won’t eat the beans, but she loves shrimp and really who can pass up caramelized bananas?

This is a special book that I can see myself referring to again and again.

I forgot to add it’s illustrated with full-color photos of a lot of the recipes, ideas and celebrations.

The Giveaway:

Thanks to the Hachette Book Group, I have one copy of The Family Dinner to giveaway. To enter, just leave me a comment below by November 25. While you’re at it, tell me one of your favorite family dishes. I’ll announce the random winner on the 26th.

Open to the US and Canada only, no PO boxes. The winner will be subject to the one copy per household rule, which means that if you win this same book in two or more contests, you will receive only one copy in the mail.

Published November 3, 2010
245 pages

I received my copy from the publisher for review and the above is my honest opinion. I am an Amazon associate.