Dinner with Dad: How I Found My Way Back to the Family Table-Cameron Stracher

  • Title: Dinner with Dad: How I Found My Way Back to the Family Table
  • Author: Cameron Stracher
  • Released: 2007-05-22
  • Language:
  • Pages: 256
  • ISBN: 1400065372
  • ISBN13: 978-1400065370
  • ASIN: 1400065372

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From Publishers Weekly Having left behind the life of ambition-driven associates at a large law firm, which he described in his memoir Double Billing, Stracher lives comfortably with his family in Westport, Conn. However, the two-hour commute into New York City, an 80-hour work-week split between two professions, and out-of-state travel begin to take their toll. When a shared meal of black bean burritos suddenly draws together his disparate family, Stracher pledges that rather than grubbing food from subway vendors or eating takeout in his office, he will dine with his family five nights a week and prepare half of the meals himself. He simmers, sautés and skewers gourmet dinners, only to be rebuffed by his two kids, who would rather eat boxed macaroni and cheese. Only later does Stracher take such rejection in stride, realizing that feeding a family is more than "refueling"; it includes "nourishing" them, too—physically and emotionally. In the meantime, he turns into "Mad Dad," an candid self-portrayal of a loving but frustrated father who yells and stomps and mopes, creating more tension than harmony. Stracher finally recognizes success when he notices that he is no longer just present for dinner with his family but an "essential ingredient." In the end, Stracher's is a sincere and witty account of his family and his struggle to get them to the table. (May)
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From Bumping along on one of the endlessly repetitive late-night train rides that have come to dominate and regulate his life, lawyer and writer Stracher realizes how the daily commute from Westport to Manhattan has left him enervated and emotionally drained. He also senses that he's missing out on both the pleasures and the responsibilities of raising his two children. Devising a work schedule that lets him spend at least some days operating from home, Stracher announces to his wife and children that he will start eating dinner with them every night at six, offering even to do some of the cooking and other domestic chores. High-minded notions of deep and earnest conversations among parents and children soon give way to more pedestrian scenes of fussy-eating children and everyday domestic pandemonium. But Stracher's resolve eventually yields priceless benefits, and he paints an ultimately hopeful, joyful picture of what contemporary family life can be. Mark Knoblauch
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