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The Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time    by Laurie David, Kirstin Uhrenholdt & Maryellen Baker order for
Family Dinner
by Laurie David
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2010 (2010)
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

As always, with cookbooks, I highly recommend reading the Introduction. Words of wisdom are to be found in the intro to Family Dinner: Great Ways to Connect with Your Kids, One Meal at a Time. Following that is a recipe for Tacos. That's a meal that certainly gets applause from families, enough to pull them together. The author feels if you 'are missing out on regular family dinners, you are missing out on the best part of the day.'

Why Family Meals Matter is another must read section. The importance of everyone sitting down together and sharing their days cannot be overstated. When good and interesting meals are served, that may be enough to bring the family together. Let the bonhomie reign until it becomes a habit. Move on to setting the table. Don't forget, one day your kids will go out in the world. Knowing how to set a table as well as having good table manners will stand them in good stead.

Now, on to the really good stuff. Simple, easy and appealing meals are pictured with their recipes. I'm drooling as I turn the pages. The Chipotle Orange Shrimp is simple and simply gorgeous. I'm sure the aroma is divine. Soy Good Maple-glazed Salmon with Edamame Succotash looks good enough to eat right off the enticing pages.

Tips proliferate in this cookbook, little things that make life easier. Having a grandson who has not eaten meat since he was twelve (he's now 35), I am always interested in vegetarian recipes. And what beauties reside within this book. Don't forget the kids. There are many ways even the younger ones can help. It's so good for their self-confidence to produce a dish the family will want to eat. Even just giving a hand makes them feel important.

The cookbook includes over 75 kid tested recipes; conversation starters; tips on teaching green values; games to play at the table; ideas on how to rescue family dinners after divorce; suggestions of ways to express gratitude. I can't begin to synopsize the wealth of tips and helpful hints contained in The Family Dinner. Obtain a copy and read it through before you start cooking. You and your family will benefit more than you can imagine.

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