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Share Your Thoughts

We’d love to hear what you think about “The Family Dinner” book, as well as your thoughts on the importance of sharing dinner with your family. We’d also love to hear your family dinner stories, and memories of family dinners when you were young.

Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, and check out what others are saying about the book.


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53 Responses

  1. Mrs Mordecai says:

    I just finished your book last night and I love it! Thanks for advocating the importance of family meals. I was so inspired by the ideas in your book and I can’t wait to try some of them.

  2. Carrie R says:

    I must confess I have only recently learned to throw together a “family dinner,” so this book arrived just in time to bolster my new resolve! It’s not just that I’m an uninspired cook, (I am), but having young kids who eat such little variety, and a husband who works late, I usually ended up with 2-3 feeding times. Sometimes one for each kid and one for my husband after they had gone to sleep. And I would eat twice, usually standing. (Whatever they were having, and whatever he was having.) It’s not that I ever doubted the importance of family mealtime, it’s that I doubted its feasibility in the 21st century… So this book served as a wake up call and reminder that it’s because of our hectic 21st century lives and schedules that it’s more important than ever to Sit. And Eat. And Talk. That mealtime is about slowing down the rest of the fast moving world and an opportunity to spend time with our loved ones and maybe even shape who they become. I loved this fun, easy to follow, easy to read book. I love the ideas for including kids in the kitchen and games where we can learn about one another. I can’t wait to try Did You Know over Thanksgiving so our kids can find out about their own extended family. So these days we are eating later, but we are eating together. The book didn’t solve our dinnertime woes of picky eaters and hectic schedules, but it did give me 200 pages of pictures and reminders of how to do it better, and why it’s essential to keep doing it.

  3. Cambria says:

    We read the poetry section of the book at dinner the other night. My 14-year-old started reciting Robert Frost. I had no idea she had memorized some of his poems in school. Then my 17-year-old joined in because he remembered it from 8th grade! My 6-year-old’s favorite book is Seven Silly Eaters by Maryann Hoberman. I read him her poem from The Family Dinner and he cracked up.

  4. SusanC says:

    I just love this book! My six-year-old son overheard me talking about the idea of making up a story together, with everyone contributing one sentence, and insisted we try it that night over dinner. Well, both kids were mesmerized as we created our story (an empty building, a ghost, a scared dad…) and my son wrapped up the whole plot with a twist about a surprise party. It was amazing to see their creativity in action! We will definitely be playing this game (and the others in the book) again!

  5. Amy Goehner says:

    Speedy pasta in a pan was an absolute hit with my kids and even very-picky-eater future step-daughter. Why did I even bother to cook a ham to go with it, should have just doubled this quick, easy and fabulous recipe and will next time. Also last week made quick black beans recipe, another find! Can’t wait to try the next recipe on my list! This book has made my holiday shopping SO much easier!
    Amy G

  6. Laure Stern says:

    Just wanted to let you know that our 14 year old Breakfast Book Club just chose The Family Dinner as our book for next month. It is such a wonderful way to share excellent recipes and connect with your friends by sharing anecdotes from the book and from our own family dinners. We take turns cooking for each other at our meetings and I guarantee this book is going to become a favorite resource. Thanks for such a fun, thoughtful and useful book! Spread the love through The Family Dinner!

  7. Martel Hale says:

    We have a daughter, just turning five, whose favorite things are cooking, eating, playing games and us all being together. This book provides fun, creative ways to cultivate all of those things together, daily as a family! I can’t think of a better way to intentionally stay connected as a family than “The Family Dinner”. While my daughter is learning the Alphabet Game and how to articulate what she wants to be when she grows up, I am learning things about my husband I never knew!! I love this book!!

  8. I am such a believer in family dinners and talking to each other that I started a business that is designed to help people have fun, memorable conversations at home and on the go. How else are we going to keep connected in our electronics-dependent world?

  9. Heidi Earle says:

    What is cozier than Family Dinner?! Thank you for the great ideas about starting new traditions around our family table. The recipes are easy to follow, and the tips on what to do with left-overs make dinner the next night a snap! At our house we are addicted to both; Kirstin’s Nanna’s Frikadeller, and the Deep Dark Black Bean Soup. My kids love the games, and I love sitting at the table in the glow of candlelight watching everyone make memories.

    • Kirstin says:

      Dearest Heidi…
      Please try the game slammin’granny, it will make you move in unexpected ways until you laugh and laugh…

  10. Lisa says:

    We started a new Eve of Thanksgiving tradition: Family Dinner Book Pot Luck. Everyone is so busy preparing for the big Thanksgiving meal no one had time to make dinner the night before. So we all got together and each brought one dish made with a recipe from the Family Dinner Book. We covered all the bases — protein, veggie, starch and desert! It was a fantastic meal and we all compared notes on how easy and delicious the recipes are! Thanks Kirsten and Laurie!

  11. Guest says:

    This book is a special treat for my children and me. We are struggling with my unwanted and messy divorce. Dinner time has been a stressful for me. The Family Dinner Book will be a tool to help me make dinner what it’s supposed to be, what I had when I grew up: a relaxed time to spend with my family, sharing, caring, laughing and of course eating. Thank you.

    • Kirstin says:

      A big warm long hug from the family dinner team! Oh how we know how hard it is. Invite friends and family over often as you can to create a sense of normalcy and support, and maybe even some laughter. Please don’t give up on dinner! Even if it is just a bowl of soup, sit down, light a candle, look at your kids and know you are still very much a family!

  12. Diana Svoboda says:

    I watched the tv show The Talk today 1/6/11 and you made the commett about TACO TUESDAY!
    That is our registered trade mark, so it can NOT be used only by TACO JOHN’S………
    Thank You
    Diana Svoboda

  13. Lynnikle says:

    We have young school age children (1st and 2nd grade) so we play, “One good thing and one not so good thing that happened today”. When they each tell their stories, you can tell they have planned what they were going to say all day! And the rule is that there doesn’t have to be a “not so good thing”! We’d rather hear many good things!

  14. Waverly says:

    I just ordered the book and am looking forward to reading it cover to cover. From what I’ve heard, it right up my alley. I cook every night for my family. Life is crazy busy, but I fit weeknight cooking into the day. I am not special in this way – anybody can do it. We just need inspiration and little know – how.

  15. Morgan says:

    I love your book! I love that a cookbook, is not just recipes. I ordered it after seeing Laurie David promoting it during the holidays. I read it cover to cover and have numerous tabs of recipes, dinner ideas and new things to try. I have tried the Chipotle Orange Shrimp, Arroz con Pollo and cucumber garlic salsa. Yum!

  16. Edenjoy says:

    I’ve seen you in one the ladies tv show. Different kind of foods were shown on the table. One of the foods that were shown on the table that caught my attention was the one that looks like ravioli.

    You had mentioned in the tv that all those foods that were shown on the table are in the book.

    I checked your book in the bookstore and I looked for the ravioli in the index and table of contents but could not find it.

    Can you tell me on what page of your book that I can find that ravioli?

    Thank you very much,

    • Kirstin says:

      Hello Eden!
      So glad you have come to our site. Welcome! The name of the ravioli dish you saw on the “The Talk” is “Speedy pasta in the pan”, page 44 in the book. If you click on “watch our video’s” you will also find a video of Laurie and I making the dish. Enjoy!!! Kirstin

  17. Femzyokah says:

    thanks alot for your information, it very unique,

  18. Kyttiekatz says:

    Love your book, as I stated on Facebook. Just wanted to share that I bought several different fun and educational vinyl place mats through Amazon. My kids are 7 and 10 and a bit messy. The place mats keep things cleaner, but also are great conversation starters and very educational….triple bonus!! You can get the US presidents, world map, periodic table, weather, musical instruments, etc. Even the adults are learning!

    • Kirstin says:

      Oh! Now I have instant regret we did not mention them in the book… you are so right! I actually have bought them myself, and I am not even that messy an eater :-) , I just wanted to relearn all the presidents. So yes! Great idea for both setting the scene and conversation starters! Thank you, (now if only I could remember who came after Monroe).

  19. Skell68 says:

    i LOVE the book…& i don’t even have a family! i lent it to my sis with 2 daughers (ages 2&3.) They already cook together with mom, but i knew she’d dig all the other neat bits of info in there. I bought it for myself for Xmas, & got a 2nd one for my sis’ BD. she’s stoked.

  20. Erin Bell says:

    Dear Laurie, Your book is wonderful! Your message- imperative. Thank you for the inspired thoughts on family bonding, ideals for a greener home and (Kirsten) the nurturing family friendly recipes. Above all, thank you for speaking about this very scary time on behalf of our health. I feel it is so important for people to be better informed about consumer choices; how small changes(i.e. reduce plastic, buy in bulk & reuse those wonderful glass containers!) can prevent exposure to chemicals, save money and create a healthy environment for our children to(eat &) grow! We’ll be thinking of you guys when Spring arrives. You’ve given me new reasons to value my little garden plot. This book is so much more than a cook book, it’s a treasure!

  21. Lin Ann says:

    I thought of your book after I wrote this post (modified without photos for this content). I think this will be a memorable family dinner for years to come!

    We had Johnny Cakes and Sweet Maple Brussels Sprouts for our Valentine dinner!

    Yup, sometimes I’m just an odd duck. Let me explain.

    Valentine’s Day was coming and I was planning to make Steak Diane over the weekend. That was before I found out, at the last minute, that everyone had other plans for the weekend. My hub and son were going off to a fencing tournament and my daughter was going to a friend’s 16th birthday party. That was Saturday. Then Sunday, I was going to a NephCure kidney-friendly pot luck dinner.

    Then comes Monday, Valentine’s Day, and I still had brussels sprouts in my fridge that I bought the week before. I started thinking, They must be cooked or they’ll go bad! What can I make with them? Pork tenderloin might be nice. . . But, oh no! I had decided just a few days before to join Meatless Monday, so I couldn’t cook meat! Since the recipe for the brussels sprouts called for maple syrup I thought . . . Johnny Cakes! Yes, they’ll go well together!

    The joking and laughter brought about by this meal where just as great as the exchanged kisses, chocolates and flowers. And while acknowledging it’s really a Hallmark card holiday anyway (a discussion brought about by my pragmatic daughter) we really enjoyed ourselves at the dinner table.


  22. Kishaholt says:

    Dear Laurie and Kristen,
    Thank you a hundred times over for writing this book. It has truly changed the lives of everyone in my family. I have four children ages 3 to 11. They participate in every activity from travel baseball and basketball to horseback riding, dance and everything in between. As each child was born and we were spread more and more thin, somehow family dinners in my home literally ceased to exist. I would actually long for the end of the day to have a peaceful dinner by myself or with my husband after putting everyone to bed. Then i heard you, Laurie, on Dr. Oz’s show a few weeks ago and i was captivated. I ordered the book and now carry it around like a Bible, reading every quote, idea, comment and recipe. When i first started reading it i actually cried because it was so scary to me that i almost missed this crucial piece in the development of my children. I have also told so many people about this book and it is spreading like wildfire. One of my friends who is a teacher has shared it with her class and they are going home and telling their parents they have to and want to eat together as a family. I am now doing a “FAMILY DINNER” gift basket for our PTA Auction and i’m having the kids create and decorate cards with games and conversation starters. We’ll also include your book, placemats, candles, placemats, spaghetti, marinara, etc. if i can get the parents to donate.
    I will also be giving this type of a basket to people as gifts, every chance i get!

    I bought SAT picture cards and the Book of Words YOu Should Know. My kids put projects, tests, etc. in the middle of the table after school and share them at dinner time. We play gams, learn new words and discuss world issues. It has changed or lives. I thought it would be impossible to do with our schedules but somehow we have managed to carefully weave these dinners into our day. My husband has even phoned in from the airport. I lay the phone on the table and put it on speaker if he is out of town.
    Oh, and the recipes are oh soooo good! Tacos, sausage and white bean stew, tomato soup, chicken parm,……

    My five-year-old shared his “rose” last week at dinner and said that his “rose” was having family dinner. He also calls it having restaurant sometimes( because of the candles) ithink that’s the cutest! I now look forward to these dinners together with my family more than anything!
    Thank you,

    • Kirstin says:

      Dearest Kisha!
      You have moved us and brought happy tears to many eyes tonight, Thank you so.

    • Erin Bell says:

      I’ve also included The Family Dinner book in our fund raising raffle at work! It will be an example among other eco-friendly goodies and ideas of how to start at home & make a difference for the greater good!

  23. Pamlg1223 says:

    Love your book and shopping for ingredients today. Any tips for keeping 3 year old with limited attention span sitting at the table?

    • Lorelei says:

      I am reading a book called “Whining, 3 steps to stopping it before the tears and tantrums start.” Though your 3-year-old may just be too busy playing to sit at the table, the techniques discussed in this book should help you. It is all about setting expectations and teaching consequences in a logical and loving way.

      Authors: Audrey Ricker and Carolyn Crowder

      • Kirstin says:

        It is hard to sit still when you are three years old and the world needs to be explored! One of our solutions has been to use age appropriate table games, we have a bunch in the book, like “what I like about you”, or “I spy with my little eye…” Or just make up a silly song about dinner tonight and what you are eating, and who is sitting at the table. Tell a story about their grand parents. Count! How many peas on the plate tonight?

  24. Karstevenson says:

    Thank you so much for this book!!! It has changed our family!I saw Laurie on “The Talk” and decided to buy the book. I am the mom of 4 young sons ranging in age from 7-4 months. Dinner time had been very stressful because my husband and I were always harping on the boys to eat their dinner. There wasn’t much fun or conversation at the table.

    I bought your book last week and immediately began to implement some of the ideas. I typed up our list of 5 rules and lit some candles for the first meal. The boys loved it! We played some of the games and they ended up eating more and staying at the table longer. Thank you for making dinnertime enjoyable again.

    Last night we had pizza on paper plates in the dining room by candlelight. The first thing the boys asked me was “What is our question to talk about tonight?” They were so excited!
    My 5 year old said, “Dinnertime is awesome now!” That comment made my heart soar!!! Thank you soooo sooo much! Dinnertime is fun again!!

    • Kirstin says:

      … and you just made our hearts soar, thank you dearest Karen. Please keep in contact with us, tell us more about what worked for you, soon you will be a dinnertime pro, the one giving us tips! Give your 5 year old a sweet hug from us.

  25. megdale74 says:

    I saw your book at Borders a few weeks ago and, being the practical gal that I am, decided to order it from my local library. I took it on vacation and came back refreshed, relaxed and ready to change my family dinner! I also walked straight back to Borders and bought the thing! Thank you for your positivity, candidness, and sense of humor…I have a whole new spirit in my role as a mom and mentor.

  26. MSI Mom says:

    We have always insisted on family dinners with our three kids but in spite of this, we are currently struggling with some rebellious teen behaviour and, after reading this book my resolve to continue this daily family time is renewed. The book is helping us to break out of our routine and incorporate new approaches and ideas. Things are not ‘peaches and cream’ at our house right now but I loath to think where we would be without the grounding force of our family dinner! We have also incorporated a ‘chore chart’ into our family routine and the kids have embraced the kitchen chores with enthusiasm, including weekly meal prep, table setting and clean-up; the recipes in the book provide some great ideas for the kids to make on their own when their turn for meal prep comes around. I would have loved to see nutritional information included with your recipes; calories and protein are important considerations in our household, with interests in healthy eating and consuming less meat developing.

    • Laurie David says:

      Thank you so much for writing and sharing how the book is helping your family. Of course you hit it on the head when you said things are not “peaches and cream” at your house right now and I say, “Join the club!” Every day presents its challenges which is just another reason why insisting on the ritual of family dinner is so important. I really relate to your comments, and as the mother of teen girls, I see now how challenging it is to get any time with them. If it wasn’t for the expectation that everyone comes to dinner, I cringe to think where we would be. Keep checking the website here for more inspirations, and keep ringing that dinner bell!!

  27. @Qtjas2000 says:

    I absolutely love this book. Actually my 10 & 8 year old look through the game/discussion ideas every night as we are make dinner. Thanks for helping make my family smile at the table again.

    • Kirstin says:

      …and your note put wide goofy grins on our faces, your smiles are exactly why we wrote the book. Thank you so and your family too!

  28. SBookworm says:

    Inspirational. We like some recipes and don’t like others; that’s OK.

    I just wrote an Amazon review SBookworm pointing out that the page with the RFK Jr. interview is offensive to anyone who cooks or cleans up after their family. It’s racist too but I didn’t go into that. Take a look at the picture and read the interview again.  Or read my review. Sorry. I love the rest of the book

  29. I agree that family dinner is vital to family life.  I was so glad to find your book (my sister told me about it) that not only encourages this but gives practical tips and recipes.  We have always had dinner together but your book encouraged me to keep it up and make it more fun!!  I went out and bought candles and a table cloth to treat my hubby and two kids (5yrs and 7yrs) to a “fancy” dinner.  They loved it!!!!  Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping families!!

  30. Stacy says:

    I am so glad this book came into my life!  I have been really worried about our busy family lifestyle and concerned that we were not connecting as a family.  This book has given me the inspiration and ideas on how to bring my family together to talk!  However, as there was mention in the book that there was some serious eye-rolling from the husband during conversations of gratitude, I too am having difficulty with my husband to see the benefits of these rituals for our family.  He is extremely busy with his job (80 hrs week) and always “plugged” in.  He is definitely an eye-roller when it comes to sitting down for dinner and talking about gratitude.  My kids love family dinners and the games, but if anyone has any suggestions on how to get my husband more onboard, please let me know.  His shin has to be bruised by now from my constant kicking under the table.  Other than this thorn, everthing else has been great.  My daughter loves setting the table and helping get food on the table.  I even dusted off our china and am using it pretty much as everyday dishes…might as well since it was just collecting dust. I’ve also purchased some fun table clothes and candles and it has been a hit with my kids!  Thank you so much for giving us this book! 

  31. joan says:


  32. Kim says:

    This book is wonderful! I don’t even have children but it reminds me of the thing my parents did right. It will be a great helper someday when i’m trying to pass on all things that I hold dear…. thanks.

  33. Sharon says:

    Love your cookbook!  Easy, great recipes.  Makes you just want to eat healthy!

  34. Rachelchittick says:

    I made the Apple Cider Chicken from your book for dinner last night, and it was a huge hit.  There was quite a bit of liquid in the final dish, and I wonder if I should do something different next time I make the dish to avoid that, or would you suggest I serve it over a grain of some sort?  I also decided that I will serve it alongside roasted brussel sprouts next time. :)

    • Kirstin says:

      Hi Rachel!
      So nice to hear your kind words! 
      As far as the “Apple cider chicken” just make sure that the dish gets to simmer a bit before you put it into the oven so the sauce reduces and thickens a bit, and be sure to use the full amount of flour to dredge the chicken with, as the flour is what thickens the sauce.  Alternatively you can always cut back the chicken stock by a cup and the apple cider vinegar by 2 tablespoons. Enjoy!

  35. Rachelchittick says:

    We got the book yesterday, and my 12 year old daughter has already declared it her favorite book.  She has not put it down yet.  I want to give it to all my friends as a Christmas gift.  Thank your for this wonderful book.

  36. Amylg0221 says:

    I gave this book as a holiday gift to several family members or friends and have already tried perhaps 20 of these amazing recipes. Hard to pick a favorite, as that changes with each recipe I try. Last week family favorite was black bean soup, and the week before easy and delish smashed potatoes. This book is a must!

  37. liz coplon says:

    I love the cookbook and I especially love the concept of having dinner together as a family.  I think it is so important to share stories together of your day and helps keep the family close emotionally so you can weather the teenage years!

  38. Cathy Martin says:

    WE believe that Family Dinners are the cornerstone of family. In our school district we gift every new family with a copy of this book. Many of our business partners and community agencies donate to this project and their names are placed on a plate inside the book.
    Catherene I. Martin
    Stakeholder Engagement Director
    Harlem Schools #122
    Machesney Park, IL

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