Thursday, July 12, 2007

“After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.” - Oscar Wilde

My babysitter is on vacation for the next two weeks. This entails me taking a week of vacation to stay home 24/7 with my dear darling children. It may not sound like much, but seriously, the Tuesdays at work and the Thursday mornings to myself help maintain my sanity. It is Thursday, Day One of “Vacation,” 9:21 am, and I already feel my usually-tenuous-ANYWAY hold loosening. It doesn’t help that I have had a headache for the past four days, and that H hurt his back again somehow and has no feeling in his left leg so is no earthly use at all. (I know, I ooze the milk of human kindness.)

In good news, I read in one big gulp yesterday Cameron Stracher’s Dinner with Dad: How I found my way back to the family table, an account of Stracher's cutting back insane Manhattan work hours to be home in the Connecticut suburbs with his family five nights a week to eat dinner, and three of those five to cook it. Like just about every parent everywhere, he battles the picky eating and reluctance to try new things of his six- and nine-year-old children, and grapples with suitable vegetarian options for his wife. He’s funny, and he is incredibly and, at times, annoyingly honest. But he is well aware of his character flaws, and I appreciated and admired his brutal frankness, recounting his temper tantrums when his kids won’t eat a dish over which he has lovingly labored. Who hasn’t been there? You make homemade macaroni-and-cheese but your kids turn up their noses because it’s not orange-powdered cheese food from a box; you pan-fry breast-meat chicken nuggets coated in homemade bread crumbs and your kids clamor for Weaver’s. His “analysis” of the eating habits of American families is wry and self-deprecating, but right on the money as far as I am concerned. Throughout the book, he wrestles constantly with his financial obligations to his family, which do battle with his desire to see this project through to its end. His wife delivers a body blow when she tells him his pet project has resulted in “too much togetherness” but I liked him very much for stepping back and realizing what his presence contributes to his family dynamic, and why.

I highly recommend this book, although I do wish he had included recipes, especially for his black bean burritos. Badger, you need to read this book; it dovetails beautifully with your “Make Your Own Damn Dinner” project, and I really think you should consider trying to get a book deal out of that blog. (You can use the photo from your other blog for the author shot : ))

In other good news, the boys and I visited the main branch of the library yesterday, coming home with over fifty books AND Primo’s brand-new, very own library card.


Sinda said...

Did you read Leslie's Kaufman's article on this same subject in Monday's NYT?

I'll have to read the Dinner with Dad book - it sounds interesting. I hate it myself when I've made a great dinner and the kids snub it - but not as much as I love it when they say things like, "PLEASE may I have more okra?"

Badger said...

You do know he was the other guy quoted in that NYT article I was in, right? I have been meaning to read his book for that reason.

I think we have slightly different approaches, however. I told Lisa Belkin, and this did NOT make it into the article, that we have ALWAYS had dinner together as a family and the Make Your Own Damn Dinner project didn't change that. It just changed what I COOKED. But that's not what she wanted to focus on, so whatev.

Good call on the author photo, BTW! That's EXACTLY how I want my public to picture me.

Kathy said...

I'm always glad to see that I'm not the only one full of the milk of human kindness. My husband, who never asks me to take him to the hospital and is rarely sick, chose to be sick during the SERIES FINALE of OZ! I did manage to make myself get up and take him to the hospital but still I wanted to say, "Call an ambulance."

Sarah Louise said...


oh, sorry, was I supposed to comment? Badger had me in hysterics about her publicity photo.

I look forward to reading this book.

I almost called you earlier but figured you'd be enjoying the bliss of the babysitter.


Paula said...

I know that numbness.

It's either a ruptured or a bulging disc. ICE, ICE, and more ICE.

Anonymous said...

I remember when I got my own library card. The giddy power trip lasted a year, at least.

MsCellania said...

Congrats to Primo for the library card!
Our boys are so In Love with their cards, they keep them in a special place in their rooms. But then we forget to bring them to the library so maybe not such a good idea...
Wow, you've got a heaped-up plate full of family life this week. And no wine allowed.

nutmeg said...

You must have your sanity! And I don't think you get enough time away from the child care duties, especially if you work on one of the one half days the babysitter is in attendance.

And that Dinner With Dad book sounds bloody fantasic - it is going straight on my TBD list.

KPB said...

Forget the bloody book talk, I know I'm very behind the eight ball on this one, but I am very excited about your baby news! WOOHOO.