About two weeks after Hudson was born, Aron and I asked my parents—visiting us in New York—if they would walk our little newborn around the West Village for an hour while we went up to a friend’s party. I remember it so well: mostly because I still couldn’t sit down and had to shift from foot to foot to tolerate the discomfort. But I also remember meeting some wonderful, more seasoned parents—women who smiled and nodded knowingly as I recounted those fresh memories of labor and declined invitations to join them on the couch. One of them was Jenny Rosenstrach.
It was no surprise to me that she was kind and funny in person: I’ve been reading Jenny’s blog for years and it has remained a favorite (even if I cook far less than that might imply). And I’m especially excited about her new book that goes on sale today, How to Celebrate Everything—which she calls “her ode to family rituals.”
The premise is that simple gestures that say “Hey, kids! This moment matters,” are things that add up—often to the sum of memories we carry most dearly with us into adulthood. At one point she poses the related question: Which food “will someday have the power to transport our kids back to their childhoods?”
For me, it wouldn’t be a grand feast, or a special dish reserved for holidays. It’s things like the warm jello my mom made when I had a sore throat, the McConnell’s Swiss Chocolate ice cream cone that came right after the dentist, a plate of diner-style hashbrowns with ketchup that makes me think of the time my dad picked me up from school to take me to lunch.
“Family rituals do not have to be big, they do not have to be perfect. They just have to be yours.”
What celebrations or special meals transport you back to your childhood? What do you think your kids might answer?Dinner: A Love Story]