Cookbook Sunday Giveaway: DINNER, A LOVE STORY

One of my favorite websites out there is called Dinner: A Love Story.  I love it for the recipes of course, but I also love it for the smart and sassy writing…Jenny tells dinner like it is, with all of the happiness and hiccups.  Her website is full of gorgeous pictures, recipes that you actually CAN make on ridiculously busy Tuesday night, and her writing is an easy, breezy conversation that makes you feel better about that night that yes, you did feed your family canned chili over corn chips.  Because there’s always tomorrow to make her delectable recipe for spinach, tomato and feta frittata.  So when I heard she had a cookbook coming out, there was pretty much no question what my May Cookbook Sunday Giveaway would be.

This is Jenny.

She is a girl after my own heart, because not only is she totally okay with the whole concept of frozen pizza when you have to and monogrammed mini pot pies when you can, she has kept a dinner diary of every single supper she’s eaten since February 22, 1998.  My little obsessive heart can totally identify.  She also has a bulletin board that looks like this…

Which is deliriously close to my own bulletin board that has my Penzey’s “Love People, Cook Them Tasty Food” bumper sticker on it.  Food bumper stickers.  It’s a thing.

Back at the book, it is full of all the things I love about her website – the delightful writing, the mouthwatering pictures, and a whole lot of recipes like Grandma Jody’s Chicken.

You want this book.  Trust me.

Oh yeah, you do.

And I have three copies to give away!  Leave me a comment telling me what you love best about family dinners..the good, the bad and the ugly…and at the end of the month I will do a random pick of three lucky folks who will get this gem of a book.  My current favorite thing?  Listening to the non-stop patter of my home-from-college-for-the-summer Southern daughter.  She’s currently talking me through why I really should be wearing eyeliner.  The things you learn at the dinner table!


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  1. Anna says

    I love the time that I spend with my parents, speaking and of course, sharing our food. My father works from Monday to Friday all day so I only see him on weekends, this is the time when we can speak about all the things concerning that week.
    What I hate is when we have to do a meal with other familiars, and there’s always the typic person that wants to govern all of us and decide the meal that we are going have :(

  2. says

    Growing up, I never had a grandma of my own. Now, as a college student, I live with my godmother whose grandmas lives right down the street from us. She has become a grandma of mine too, and we do a family dinner with her one night a week. I absolutely love to see how happy it makes Grandma when I cook dinner and come over to spend time with her. And it makes me incredibly happy to finally feel like I have my own grandma to spend time with!

  3. Tracey says

    Love the conversations with my kids, just the daily debrief. And cooking with them when I get the chance!

  4. Rachel says

    Dinner was always a family affair at our house. Someone coming home late? We wait. One of the kids going out with friends? Mom and Dad would make us sit down earlier. There was (almost) no consistency on time, but we always ate together as a family.

    Because of this, the conversations at dinner could range from YouTube viral videos to physics theories to school-related stuff to politics to the latest health food crazes to….anything. I live 2.5 hours away from my parents (and both my brothers live further away), but when we’re together we fall right back into the same pattern. And it’s fabulous. :-)

  5. Karen Nelson says

    As Dinnertime has evolved through my life, it has been many things.
    As a girl, watching my own mom in amazement and how she could make
    ANYTHING.. and well. A pinch of this.. a dab of that…From breakfast to the best fried chicken ever and oh the pie crust, which by the way, was all “by the way it feels”. And..Dinner? It all came together at the same time… truly amazing… magic if you will! Nothing better than coming home from school to fresh cookies. My friends always knew who to study with:-)
    I loved to watch her sit down with such pride, when company graced our table.
    I learned to set a table and help in the kitchen and whatever part I played, as the compliments flowed, she gave me credit for my part… early on it was my proud relish tray!

    I have always had a special place in my heart for Dinner. In my growing up, it was a time to have
    a time to catch up and hopefully relax a bit at the near close of the day. Of course there were always the dishes to do, which was an extension of more time to chat.

    I have watched many women in many kitchens with their own sense of pride in preparing Dinner.
    I learned from my Mom, my Aunts and honorary Moms who are now cooking in the great kitchen in the sky. (Happy almost Mothers Day!)

    With my husband and Daughter I always strived to have that same sense of Dinnertime and all it brings. It may not always be a gourmet meal, but if even just for a few moments
    a time to come together and see what was going on….and oh yes to be thankful for that Day and each other… before off to do homework, head out to a meeting or whatever the evening had in store.

    With my husband and I dinner is almost always something we do together.
    Time in the kitchen after work and right now, usually watching baseball while we eat…
    It’s okay… really! We try to enjoy Sunday supper with our 30 something daughter when it works in her busy schedule… we all agree we love it<3!

  6. Christine says

    Dinner at my house has always been a “cook once, eat twice” way of doing things… I’m happy that my family not only will eat leftovers– they enjoy them… Many times I will cook a meal and the leftovers the next day will be used for “new” recipes. I enjoy cooking but try to be budget and time thoughtful!

  7. Pam Seipp says

    I love preparing a meal and sitting down to eat it, and knowing that the conversation at the table will include planning what we will eat for the next meal.

  8. Paul Corsa says

    I’m retired, but my wife still works in Economic Development, either from a home computer; at an office in Detroit or on the road in a tri county area. Dinner is the one time of the day we can sit together, unwind and savor a meal together on a regular schedule. It allows us to communicate in a relaxed atmosphere and begin the evening together.

  9. caroline k says

    i love that we DO family dinners every night, even though it means we eat at 7pm due to my husband’s work schedule. some people questioned why i would feed my young children so late but to me, eating as a family WITH dad was much, much more important that some “acceptable” dinnertime. and jenny has inspired me to keep my own dinner journal since july of last year! haven’t missed a day!

  10. the nana says

    Family dinners are special to me because I know that the ones remaining to me are numbered. I’m 74 and live alone, so when I get to dine with the kids and their kids, I am one happy lady!

  11. Jennifer says

    My mom tried to feed the three of us as healthy as she could. I am now so happy she wouldn’t let us drink soft drinks
    with so much new information about nutrition and forever pursuing my passion for food, I am so excited to cook my 13 month old healthy, tasty dinners. My little dude eats like a horse. It’s great to see him enjoying coleslaw, coq au vin, raw red bell peppers(!!), and tons more. And to see him eating well and enjoying vegetables really makes me happy. Especially when he’s falling asleep in his high chair finishing dinner!! He gets food drunk!!

  12. Domanique says

    I love family dinner with my lil family and look forward to feeding my lil guy when he can start eating solids.

  13. Julie B says

    Since I have always worked I made sure there was dinner every night, on the table, no matter what. The other meals might have been thrown together and eaten literally on the run! I can remember one night when I was so tired and brought down a cereal box, my children looked at me in surprise…So I dressed up the cereal with toppings because I felt bad…

  14. Noelle says

    I love all the different personalities my family has, it makes for a VERY interesting day when we all get together!

  15. Janet Mack says

    With everyone living in different states, family dinners are a rarity. When we do get together we have the best time. Lots of eating and laughing

  16. Denise says

    Family dinners for me are not just about my/inlaw family, but about all the people I meet along my journey through life.

  17. Nicole Galante says

    I love just sitting back and listening to everyone talk over each other, each rattling on about what’s gone on in their day. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

  18. Jessica P. says

    My daughter is 5 months old. My husband and I eat on the floor (we call it a picnic) by her while she plays. It’s occasionally uncomfortable, and certainly less formal than we were used to pre-baby, but it’s a sweet way to share our day with one another and include our beautiful girl.

  19. Christi P. says

    I love to sit at the table with my kids and hear all about what happened at school that day. We have a rule at our house that everyone has to be home at 5:30 (of course there are some exceptions :) ) for a family meal on Sunday thru Thursday! We eat and talk! At our family dinner table there are usually 9 or more if the kids decide to bring home a friend. I just love to hear them talk amongst themselves about the day. It is awesome having a big family. Thank you for all the inspiration your blog gives to me…and my family thanks you for all the new recipes!

  20. Kate says

    Family Dinners: Love getting together and hearing about everyone’s day. Hate trying to figure out a meal everyone likes. (Picky eaters in the family unfortunately.) I saw Jenny’s book and loved it. I would love my own copy!

  21. alisa says

    my favorite part of the day….dinner. i have two daughters with crazy, busy schedules. no matter what the three of us have going on, we meet for at least 20 minutes most evenings at the kitchen counter and eat together. it is often the only time i get to be with my girls at the same time. it is my favorite part of the day.

  22. Kathie Kelling says

    My favorite dinner comment lately was my year old granddaughter saying, “I see the look you give me, Gramma, when I try to text belw the table.”

  23. Karen M says

    Family meals are my favorite way to end the day! I love cooking for my family and cherish every moment I can spend with them. We are going to be empty nesters this fall, though I am extremely sad, I look forward to starting new traditions with my husband in the following years.

  24. Kimt says

    Is there anything better than having all the kids around the table…no phones, computers. Food is love….even if it is chili and corn chips!

  25. says

    Both of my daughters are in college, so any time we can be together is special! When we sit down at the table to eat dinner together, something that is rare nowadays, there is tons of laughter and amazing conversations!!

  26. April Yedinak says

    I love that we all sit and talk. We talk about our day, good and bad. We share silly stories from past and present. I like how I get to really know my kids a little more over dinner each night.

  27. Mary says

    Growing up family dinner was rare, now it’s a chance to get my daughter involved with the foods she eats. Where it came from, how it grows, and what can to be done to it to make it into food. Cooking seems to relax us both and she’ll tell me things while stirring noodles or peeling carrots she never would have otherwise. Like how the freckled, red haired boy in her class got a poem for valentines day (that he liked), and the sand castle battle that was stopped when it was declared that since the boys had no flag they had nothing to be fighting over.

  28. Anne Delaney says

    What I love most about dinner is that along with the fact next to the after dinner dishes it’s the last of a day and when spent with my daughters around the table, it’s the time for banter, quick wit, teasing, sharing all the ‘what’s next’ are and holding of each others hands for a simple prayer of thanks.

  29. Tara says

    Our family dinners now happen everynight. With 2 kids, 8 & 10 they have no choice really 😉 But it’s the big family dinners I love best. My mom and dad and my brother and sister and their families makes 7 kids running around and playing and loving life. We had everyone out at our place last summer and ate outside while the sun was just perfect and sat on the horizon forever. Wine, bread, cheese and dessert is all you really need when family is there to share.

  30. Lisa Langston says

    Spending time with each other! But hate trying to figure out a different tasty meal every night though!
    Would love a copy of the book!

  31. Lauren Summers says

    I find so much comfort in the rhythm of it. Our schedules are always inconsistent, but the dinner table is the heartbeat.

  32. Nancy A. says

    My favorite thing about family dinners is being together and enjoying good food! To listen to the chatter and catch up on everybody’s news is music to my ears. The good eats make people so happy and is so comforting!

  33. georgia says

    having time to all sit down together and hear about each other’s day, laugh and just have fun!

  34. Babs says

    Being a very busy family, like most, dinner time is practically the only time we spend time together. That’s the best time. We all make the effort to have that time together.

  35. SEAS says

    I love that we sit down at least once a day and find out what has happened that day for everyone! The food sometimes is great, sometimes bad, but generally at least good.

  36. jan says

    favorite thing about family dinner is being surrounded by your family EVERY night. Its surprising how many people are too busy to have 1 meal a day together. The benefits are priceless! Food, laughs and Love.

  37. Kristie M. says

    I love the big belly laughs that come when I’m with my family. Delicious food too. Thanks!

  38. Shelly Cary says

    As the youngest of three daughters, who are now all forming/have formed families of our own, our family dinners are VERY entertaining. My poor dad who has been surrounded by women (wife, three daughters and now 5 granddaughters, with two more babies on the way) all of these years, just sits at the head of the table and pretends not to keep track of the conversation that changes subject every 30 seconds. There are lots of laughs, usually to the point of tears, several times throughout the meal. Since we are all spread across 600 miles, the family doesn’t gather together often, but when we do, it is amazing!

  39. says

    I love the connection. No devices are allowed and the tv is off. We’ll usually have some nice contemporary Christian music playing and we talk about everything. It’s my favorite thing!

  40. Elizabeth Fitzmaurice says

    I love family dinners at my house because I’m single and like to cook! It giives me an excuse to try new recipes, both the dinner and the cake afterwards. I get pleasure from serving something new and good (usually) to my Dad, Step-mom, sister and brother. And of course, the love around the table. Nothing matters in this life other than your family, after all. We may have our different personalities, political views, religious views, etc., but we know we all love each other. Ain’t that grand?

  41. Kari says

    I’m fortunate enough to have a husband who refuses to eat dinner in front of the television (although he does make an exception for pizza and a movie night occasionally). We have 4 children ages 6-10. And we’ve made it a priority to have dinner together every night, and have designated Fridays as “Family Night.” On Fridays, we only make foods that all six of us enjoy (ex: pizza or tacos is okay, but no spinach allowed). I love hearing them make up their own silly jokes and then laughing as if they’ve heard the best comedian in the world tell the best joke ever. I love listening to them talk about their days, hopes, fears and joys. I’m so thankful that my husband and I have made dinnertime a family priority at our house. I cherish it!

  42. says

    I love so much about family dinners namely that there’s something just so comforting about being surrounded by people who love and who love you, eating good food! Can’t go wrong.

  43. Sarah H.P. says

    The think I love best about family dinners is all of the cooking that we actually do together! We all share the kitchen and work on various steps in the process of our dishes! It’s great!

  44. Paula says

    Dinners are cool because my 11 year old daughter and I travel around the world with our so adventurous recipes. She is just learning to cook but loves trying a Mexican this or a Chinese that; the next night is Ethiopian and the following Indian. We both love to travel and when our budget is low or school is on, we hop on our mini two-seater and travel to a faraway land by buying, cooking & eating new delicacies (until we get to have the real thing)!

  45. Mrs. Z says

    The good parts, spending time with my husband and my twin step sons. My step sons are graduating college and are heading out on their own this July so we need to spend as much time as possible, now!

    The bad, was when they were much younger and they did NOT have manners….I am glad that I have influenced them as much as I have!

    The ugly..burping at the table, somewhere they heard that it was complimenting the chef (maybe some where it is)! As the chef…it is not a compliment…it is simply gross! :)

  46. says

    It’s hard for us to find time for family dinners, so it’s just great to all be together until my little ones can sit still no longer!

  47. says

    We’re still finding our rhythm as I only went back to work 2 weeks ago and my 11 week old started daycare. Right now, my husband and I are lucky if we are both eating dinner on the couch at the same time.

  48. Shel F. says

    Most of the time, we don’t get family dinners except on weekends, because my husband and I both work second shift. But this summer….oh, this summer my son will be here! Which means family dinners every night I don’t work! I can’t wait. Looking forward to lots of grilled meals and lots of catching up.

  49. says

    Having just moved back to my hometown, I’m thrilled to be able to have big family dinners once again. I love the random, but connective conversations we can have. Also, even though her cooking is the last thing for which she’s know, I treasure that I can still taste the familiar flavors in my mother’s cooking, as it hasn’t changed much since I was a little girl.

    By the way, the above pic of Grandma Jody’s Chicken elicited some kind of Pavlovian response in me. Want!

  50. Jeff Hughes says

    I live alone, so dinner with the family is always a special occasion . I’m a bit older and lost my parents, so often our conversations turn toward old time,s. Sunday dinner was a requirement in our home, no excuses. Talk ranged from politics to religion, family history to current events, jokes,word games…you name it, we covered it (all laced with sarcastic wit only those of British can relate to).
    Things continue on the same today. Made even better with the added stories of extended family.

  51. Ronda says

    What I love about dinner is just the fact that we all four can be together at one time. My 2 kids are out of the house now :(

  52. Katelyn Knowles says

    I am away at college, but am moving back home for student teaching. I am really looking forward to having family dinner with my again and my brother when he’s home from college. We are already planning recipes and ideas. We are both looking forward to sharing what happened during our days over dinner and just spending time together.

  53. Margarita says

    I like talking to the family and afterwards having someone to share the washing of dishes with! :)

  54. Karen says

    I love family dinners and getting to cook for more than just my husband and me. Very nostaligic to me because we grew up having family dinners every single night almost and you get to catch up with everyone.

  55. James says

    I am a retiring Army Sergeant who is now been reassigned household duties for a working wife and family. I need all the help I can get, especially in the kitchen. Dinner is now such an important event to spend with my family, as we didn’t always have the opportunity in the past. I would like to become a better cook for this special time with my family.

  56. Lindsay says

    Some of my favorite memories with my dad, who has now passed, are cooking together for a family dinner. It was fun to find new recipes and try them out together. Good memories.

  57. Jan R says

    I really enjoy cooking for a large group. Seeing all those gathered stuffing their faces. When it’s quiet you know it’s good. Love hearing the praises!

  58. says

    What I love about family dinners…especially since family is just me and my hubby…is all of the OTHER things you can talk about while you’re eating! :-) And NO! I will not explain! LOL

  59. Sylvan says

    I love my new family dinners, cooking all night in my new kitchen and serving my lovable BF. Testing out new recipes, new tricks, new kitchen gadgets and he never complains, and always goes back for seconds.

  60. Anne says

    Mom was the kind of person who, when you called at 5:30 and said you were bringing two friends by for dinner, just said “stop by the grocery store and pick up a couple extra pork chops.” Dad was the person who would read aloud at the table – Ogden Nash poetry, which sometimes caused forceful ejection of mashed potatoes back onto the plate, or a cookbook, which tended to annoy Mom. He also knew that the younger me hated having her food mixed together, so he’d put the peas on the mashed potatoes. Some nights we’d practice Morse Code on our napkins. Birthdays were raucous – Henry was the beagle who would stand up on his hind legs and howl along with us as soon as he saw Mom coming in with the candlelit cake. These are the memories that make us rich.

  61. Bill says

    Both of our sons are grown and married so it is extra special when they all can return for a family dinner.Catching up and reminiscing bring joy to all. We are blessed.

  62. JeanneB says

    I’m one of “those” people – every Sunday, without fail, I have dinner at Grandma’s House. I live in a small 1 bedroom apartment, but that doesn’t stop me from having anywhere between 12 and 25 people to dinner. They sit in the living room, in the kitchen – I’ve had people eat dinner sitting on my bed occasionally. My daughter and grandson drive 140 miles every week one way – it’s just what we do!
    I also bake between 20 and 30 dozen cookies/cupcakes etc every week and people take home their snacks when they leave…
    I don’t have a lot of money. They don’t get prime rib – in fact, if it’s a Sunday where I have to work or teach (I work at a major kitchenware store) it can be slow cooker chicken and dumplings or soup…but it’s not about what we eat – it’s about all of us caring enough to get together. Food for the body, yes, but also food for the soul.

  63. says

    Our family dinners are small. My Mister and I cook, eat, and clean together. I really enjoy this time together because no matter how hectic our days were, we always get together for dinner.

  64. ruthie says

    Ah, family dinners. When I was a kid, all family dinners except for holidays were comfortingly predictable and each cook had her own specialty. My mom brought either homemade raviolis and sauce or focaccia. My godmother made the richest creamiest mashed potatoes. My aunt made the green salad. She wasn’t much of a cook, but people still talk about her salads and her dressing. There was either a ham or roast chicken, some kind of veg…you knew what you were getting, and you knew it would be good.

    That’s what I loved about family dinners. We kids are grown and spread out, and haven’t had a family dinner in years. I miss that, but who would make the salad? 😉

  65. Nilu says

    I love dinnertime..most days..I have a 2 and 4 yr old, we always eat at the table which I love and hope to continue as they get older. It always starts off great until someone doesn’t like something on their plate. My 2 yr old doesn’t take naps anymore, which sometimes makes for a sleepy, crabby 2 yr old at dinnertime. The girls always tell their dad about what we did that day, what happened at school, how the potty training is going and what broke that needs fixing(my husbands favorite!).This is our family dinners and I wouldn’t change a thing..even the picky eaters!!

  66. Signe GT says

    I love the exchange of opinions. I actually think most of my personality (or at least my ethics) developed around a dinner table. Discussing different news, things that happened at work or school, getting advice about anything or everything. The dinner table is the place to go. Our family dinners, now that i’m all grown up and live by myself, are few and far apart, but when we do sit down, we rarely get up for a couple of hours at least!

  67. Amanda says

    Now that I live on my own thousands of miles from my family I treasure the few times a year we’re all together around the table my dad built when he and my mom first got married. I have so many happy memories from my childhood of sitting around that table!

  68. says

    I love family dinners in my house (just my fiancé and I), because it allows us to connect after our days and catch up. We rarely cook together so at dinner it feels as though one of us is feeding the other, which feels nurturing on both ends. When I visit my parents, family dinner is also a time to catch up and reconnect. It is relaxing, and always involves good food 😀

  69. Kristin K says

    We have a really small family so I enjoy the laughter, and silly jokes around the dinner table where so many beautiful family memories are made.

  70. says

    This book looks adorable and fun :) I love family dinners, sometimes with our busy schedules my husband and I end up missing out on each other, enjoying dinner together slows us down and brings us back together.

  71. Christine Browne says

    I love my family. I love to cook for them. My oldest is graduating college in a few weeks, and I will finally be able to have my family together for meals all the time again. It’s not the same when someone is missing!
    Eating together is a source of joy. I love the laughter, the jokes–even when they are at my expense! We get silly, we have fun, but the bottom line is that we love each other.

  72. auntPrecious says

    The cookbook sounded divine. I am a family of 3 now, there’s Bull my 14 yr old blueheeler, Sookie my 3 yr old Bishon mix, and me. I feed them when I have my dinner. It’s a family meal yet no one ever considers a single person a “family”.

  73. Beaniebum says

    On a daily basis, I love unwinding from my day preparing dinner with my husband and then sitting down to eat our creation together. Especially when it’s nice out and we eat dinner on the porch with our yellow lab. It’s a chance to connect and catch up with one another at the end of the day.

    Otherwise, I love family get togethers – a bunch of wonderful cooks, lots of noisy chatter and laughter, and always amazing food.

  74. ry says

    i love listening to the laughter of my 3 little ones at the dinner table. EVERYTHING is so hilarious once they are all together! it’s a balm for my soul. reminds us (mom and dad) to laugh a little sometimes too. and when that laughter is so all encompassing that they don’t even realize they are eating all their VERY HATED veggies, well, nothing better than that! 😉

    thanks for the the giveaway kate!

  75. Meghan J says

    I’m learning to love family dinners with my inlaws. It’s lovely that my daughter will grow up knowing all her cousins.

  76. mambooks says

    Learning all the things (wacky, gross, outlandish, just plain goofy) that make tween and teenage boys laugh.

  77. Annie says

    Oh life at my dinner table as a child! It is still talked about when our whole family gets to sit down and eat together. there was always some vegetable no one of us kids wanted to eat and we would have to sit there until we did. Sometimes it was hours! It sounds horrible now, but we all love every vegetable there was. It was also how I learned to cook. My Mom started working and it was my chore to make supper for our family of 5. Sometimes it was a disaster, others it was just like Mom made.
    The most important part was that this was the time when our whole family was together during the day. We had a chance to talk about our day, plan things for weekends and if one of us was in trouble we all heard the lecture from my Dad. those things could last forever! Looking back it was one of the best times of childhood.

  78. Shannon says

    I love how all your recipes bring everyone back to the dinner table. It reminds me of sat dinners with my mommaw and pawpaw, who served the same thing every week-Boiled hot dogs on steamed buns in an old steamer, beans and potatoes. It was a wonderful way to spend time with my family and really instilled a value in me about eating together….how it enhances the love you have for the people that matter.


  1. […] This was yet another cookbook giveaway where I feel like I am the one who came out a winner after reading all of your great comments about your family dinners.  I asked you to tell me about the good, the bad and the ugly, and it was pretty much a landslide of good.  In these crazy days of fast food and meals on the go, it’s heartwarming to see how many of us are following Jenny’s lead and making  suppertime into our own personal love stories…so I am so delighted to be giving away three copies of DINNER: A LOVE STORY to three of you wonderful readers. […]

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