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Cooks We Love: Jenny Rosenstrach

Jenny Rosenstrach is a cookbook author of two New York Times best sellers, "Dinner: A Love Story" and "Dinner: A Play Book," an editor and a refreshingly honest and hilarious food blogger who cut her culinary teeth in the kitchen. She has logged countless hours taking copious notes, testing recipes and modifying meals trying to result in a dinner that is both enjoyable and tasty—first with her partner and husband and then as they expanded their family to include two daughters. As a working mother, Jenny decided that dinner was an important aspect to keeping their family unit functioning and unwilling to compromise on that goal, she has proven that it is possible. Thankfully, she has done all the hard work and provided the guidebook to show us the way (make sure to check out her post: 15 Meals Every Parent Should Know).

Website or blog: Dinner: A Love Story

Blogging since: 2010, (First post: "Weening Them Off the Nugget")

Where you call home: Westchester County, N.Y.

What's your earliest cooking memory? Scrambled eggs with my kindergarten teacher. (A coincidence that it's my favorite breakfast?)

How would you characterize or describe your cooking style today? Depends what day it is. Some weeks I'm all kale, quinoa and tofu. The next I'm making taco pizza with my kids. Technically, I guess I'd call my philosophy "The Overlap of Whatever Is Fresh, and Whatever Won't Ignite a Riot"

What's your favorite thing to cook at home? Why? This is the most unfair question in the history of the universe. I guess I'd have to say Marcella Hazan's milk-braised pork loin because it's a sentimental recipe (it was on the table the first night I met my husband's family) and also because it's possibly the most mind-blowingly delicious meal out there. (Unless you are kosher, in which case it's the most mind-blowingly non-kosher meal out there.)

What are three things you have in the pantry at all times? Can of white beans, bag of frozen spinach and chicken sausages in the freezer. Sausages with beans and spinach is the ideal fall-back plan—and insurance against pulling the Trader Joe's pizza out of the freezer again.

What's your "There's Nothing in the Fridge" dinner? The one thing you often whip up with very few ingredients or perhaps very little inspiration? Spaghetti topped with caramelized onions, spinach, and a boatload of parmesan. (It's a miracle that I didn't answer this question "boxed mac & cheese with browned ground beef, because I had it once a week growing up, and still to this day, when I ask myself what I'm in the mood to eat, it's always the first thing that comes to mind. SEE: Childhood Food, Power of)"

What are some of your kitchen goals—skills you want to improve on or recipes you want to try or master? I'd like my kids to cook more. Actually, it's not even their fault—they're 12 and 10 now and completely capable in the kitchen (recently my 12-year-old stepped up and made this)—it's way more my issue. I have a hard time stepping back and letting them take over/mess up. (The whole "clean as you go" concept? Not quite grasped yet.) But it's a crucial part of the process, I know that.

What are some of your favorite cookbooks and/or food blogs? It's a constant rotation but right now? Canal House Everyday, no one does simple fresh better; all the Ottolenghi books, particularly "Plenty"; I'm really really excited about Gabrielle Hamilton's book "Prune" coming out next month even though I haven't seen a single recipe from it yet. In terms of blogs: Smitten Kitchen, The Wednesday Chef, Sprouted Kitchen, Food52, Dash & Bella and (newcomer) Kitchen Repertoire. Also Melissa Clark's "Good Appetite" column in the Times and Bon Appétit in general—they're always good for discovering something new and interesting (whether it's a recipe, technique or an ingredient) that's not too intimidating.

How has becoming a mother changed your experience as a home cook? In thousands of ways, chronicled through two books and 900 posts, but I'll distill it to this: We always have a pack of hot dogs in the freezer.

Besides other cookbooks or food blogs, where do you draw inspiration for your cooking? Everywhere. I pay very close attention to what my kids eat at restaurants when their minds/tastebuds seem to be way more open than at home. Half of our favorites—Picnic Chicken, Burrito Bowls, Nutella Pizza with Bananas—come from meals out.

Where else can we find you? My husband and I write "The Provider's" column for Bon Appétit. And my newest book, "Dinner: The Playbook" is just out now. It's a 30-day boot camp for kickstarting family dinner. To bust the family out of a soul-crushing dinner rut, my husband and I cooked something new for the kids every night for a month. Not sure what we were thinking, but I will say, it worked. Plus: Dinner: A Love Story, Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

NEXT IN THE SERIES: Kelsey Banfield

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