Monday, November 01, 2010

The Family Dinner

The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time


I'm a mom who firmly believes in the family eating together.  We sit down at the dinner table together at least four days a week; usually more.  Generally speaking dinner is something I can put together in 30 minutes, or it is something from the crockpot.  Since I get home at 5:30 on a day when my husband picks up the six year old, complicated recipes are not on the agenda.  Since I'm feeding kids, "strange" food is generally not welcomed.  I was hoping The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time would have some recipes I could add to my collection.  Honestly, I didn't.  The food tended toward gourmet ingredients, exotic vegetables, and, a mortal sin at my house, lot of seasonings and sauces.  Organic meat is specified,along with fresh herbs and flavored oils and vinegars.  However, many of the recipes could be prepared in about thirty minutes.

Even though the recipes from The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time won't get a lot of play here, I still enjoyed reading the book which not only included recipes but also a lot of advice and information on how to make dinner time family time, which, when a family is apart all day like mine is, is important.  I enjoyed reading the section about the Shabbat Dinner.  A woman who was Jewish, though not necessarily terribly religious, decided that she was going to start the weekly tradition of a Friday Shabbat dinner.   The family had to be there; the dinner included Blessings over the candles wine and challah, Gratitudes (everyone says something for which they are grateful), Highs and Lows (everyone shares high and low points of the week) and Tzedaka (everyone throws loose change in a box; when full they decide on a worthy cause to which to contribute it).  She even discusses how she has managed to do family dinners even after a divorce.  

The book included conversation starters that may even get teens talking.  It gives advice about stocking a pantry and about getting kids involved with cooking.  It even suggests letting grandparents in on the action.  To prolong the evening of togetherness, after dinner games are included.  

Since I told the publicist that I'd make one of the recipes, I looked for one I thought my family would eat.  I found one for Bridesmaid with a Veil.  It is a Danish dessert from page 212 and it is served in a punch bowl, like trifle.  

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups crushed amaretto cookies (or gingersnaps)
3 cups tart applesauce (see recipe, or use store-bought)
2 cups heavy cream (whipped)
1/4 cup black currant jam (or tart berry jam)
Layer the cookies and applesauce.  Top with whipped cream.  Decorate with jam.

Applesauce:
8 medium sized apples, peeled, cored and chopped (Gala and Fugi are good)
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup honey
Pinch of cinnamon.

To make 3 cups:
Bring all ingredients to a boil in a medium sized heavy pot, stirring occasionally.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 15 minutes.  Remove lid and simmer until mo st of liquid is evaporated.  Mash apples with potato masher or fork to make a coarse sauce.  Cool.  

Since at least one of my kids wouldn't eat the cookies, and another would turn up her nose at the jam, I skipped the Bridesmaid with a Veil, and just made the applesauce.  I used Granny Smith's because that's what my husband brought home from the store, and I didn't peel them because Grandma never did when she made homemade applesauce.  When it tasted it, it was too tart, so I added some brown sugar.  It was yummy!

I'd like to than Anna at Hachette for sending me a review copy of this book.  If you'd like to win one for yourself, see my giveaway post.

1 comment:

  1. I have this one too. I'm going to be trying a couple of the recipes this week, but it sounds like my family is a little less picky than yours. Even my 10 year old is pretty good about trying different things.

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