Synopses & Reviews
"I'd always thought food was pretty straightforward: you're hungry, you eat; you're not, you don't. Then I became a mother." So begins Betsy Block's humorous, life-changing book on the ultimate of all makeovers: improving the family meal. But how is her plan even possible when eleven-year old Zack's favorite food is Halloween candy; little Maya is so picky that she'll only eat cut squares of white bread; and her husband's idea of a gift is an electric fryer?
Determined not to give up the good-food fight, Betsy comes up with a creative ten-step makeover plan. She consults experts, visits farms, and shows how she and her family manage the pitfalls, struggles, and triumphs of eating well when busy schedules, surreptitious lunch trades, snack machines, permissive grandparents, and willful temptations intervene. With helpful charts, food lists, recipes, tips, and suggested culinary and farm programs for kids, The Dinner Diaries chronicles one family's intrepid ten-month challenge to change the way they eat—one forkful at a time.
"In this healthy living self-help memoir, food writer Block makes the decision to improve her family's diet based on the latest research in nutrition and sustainable, earth-friendly food sources; with that choice, she and her husband find themselves rowing against the strong currents of popular culture, powerful food lobbies and reluctant children. Beset by conflicting expert advice, Block manages to carve out a narrow path between what her family should eat and what they actually will eat. Each chapter takes a semi-comic look at serious issues like child-targeted advertising, fish farming, school lunches, picky eaters and sourcing local produce. With plenty of research on each issue, Block presents her arguments from all sides, and her role as mother to two active children makes her an authentic and relatable source. Her keen sense of humor doesn't hurt either; after finding a local source of organic meat, she happily reports, 'Andy gets both bacon and a content wife; I get a healthier family and world; daughter Maya gets pasta, as usual.' Though not as straightforward as the latest hide-the-veggies cookbook for sneaky moms, this guide to healthy, responsible family eating is a practical, insightful read for any concerned parent." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
andquot;Betsy Block is the mom we all strive to be: funny, smart, patient, persistent, and willing to tackle the tough issues. In this engaging chronicle, she tackles the minefield that is family mealtime, nudging (and sometimes shoving!) her family toward healthier eating habits with a nod to issues like buying locally and fair trade. With historical tid-bits, recipes, useful tips, and, most of all, a story any mother can relate to, The Dinner Diariesis the perfect book for anyone who cares about what her kids are eating whileat the same time balancing work, family, and her own sanity.andquot; --Cindy Copeland, author of The Diaper Diaries
"If your head spins with all the nutrition advice out there and despite your good intentions your children still insist on bright orange macaroni and cheese for dinner every night, take this humorous, informative journey with Betsy Block. She helps sort it all out and gives you the real-mom bottom line on what you can do to make changes. Best of all she keeps you laughing all the while."
—Ellie Krieger MS RD, Host of Food Network's Healthy Appetite and author of The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life
"Funny, wise, and full of heart, The Dinner Diaries is for every time-crunched mother who wants more for her kids than pizza, candy, and french fries. Betsy Block has a few sneaky tricks of her own as she and her family embark on their family meal makeover, and, thankfully for the reader, she shares them with wit and flair." --Missy Chase Lapine, author of the New York Times Bestseller The Sneaky Chef: Simple Strategies for Hiding Healthy Foods in Kids' Favorite Meals
"It's one thing to cook healthy for yourself, but add two opinionated kids, a husband, and a full schedule, and it really becomes a challenge. Betsy Block in The Dinner Diaries
has done an amazing job of giving creative tips, nutritional information, and relating her adventures on the road to feeding her family in a more healthful way. The book is funny, honest, and full of excellent advice that any mother will appreciate."
—Nell Newman, co-founder and President of Newman's Own Organics
"If you are one of the many who have experienced the difficulties of getting your family to eat something that isn't processed, that isn't loaded with chemicals, or that you can't pronounce then you are going to love Dinner Diaries. . . . The best thing about this book is that not only is it informative . . . but it's also laugh out loud funny."--Project Foodie
"Dinner Diaries" documents Block's efforts to make family eating fun, appetizing and as healthy as possible in a Pop-Tart nation. Never underestimating her opponent --the great pillars of sugar, salt and fat supporting American food culture-- Block writes with knowledge, wit and humor in her quest for "an all-family meal makeover.""--Baltimore Examiner
A harried mother of two, Betsy Block is in pursuit of the perfect family meal: local, toxin-free, humane, and healthful. But soon she finds herself in a mealtime maze beset by conflicting, often unrealistic advice, and further complicated by two picky kids and a finicky husband. Determined not to give up the good-food fight, she comes up with a creative ten-step makeover plan. She consults experts, visits farms, and overcomes the pitfalls, struggles, and triumphs of eating well when busy schedules, surreptitious lunch trades, snack machines, permissive grandparents, and willful temptations intervene.
As entertaining as it is informative, The Dinner Diaries is for any family who wants to change the way they ear—one forkful at a time.
Includes charts, food lists, recipes, tips, and suggested culinary and farm programs for kids.
About the Author
Betsy Block has written food features and restaurant reviews for the Boston Globe and Wondertime Magazine, and online for Epicurious.com. A regular contributor to NPR's Kitchen Window, she lives in Boston with her husband, two children, and fourteen-year-old mutt.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 1/2
At the Table: Take 1
Some Animals Are More Equal
Chapter 3 1/2
At the Table: Take 2
Easier Said Than Done
Chapter 4 1/2
At the Table: Take 3
Chapter 5 1/2
At the Table: Take 4
The Vexing People Problem
The Aisle Not Taken
Do It Yourself (or Not)
If Mama Ain’t Happy (Ain’t Nobody Happy)
Chapter 9 1/2
At the Table: Take 5
Where the Ideal Meets the Real
Tips, Charts, Recipes, and Places to Go