The question—really a statement more than a question—we get most often is, "You must cook all the time, right?"
"Well, no, not really," we say in one form or another."We actually do most of our cooking on the weekend, when we have a little more time."
As parents and people running a growing business, we have very little time to cook during the week. If we want to eat well, we need to get organized, plan our shopping and cooking for the weekends, and come up with ways to do it so family dinners don’t become monotonous.
Shop the Story
For years, we’d each been going about this in our own way—Merrill with loose notes scattered here and there and menus that produced mix-and-match leftovers for work lunches that Amanda secretly pined for; Amanda with meticulously handwritten weekly menus and Sunday cooking plans (she's a Virgo), which gave birth to beautiful composed dishes that had Merrill yearning to up her game.
We'd talk about what we were cooking, and trade tips and recipes. Not once during these casual chats did it occur to us that this was the book we should write. Why would we ever want to write something that could be useful to many other people in the world who struggle with the same challenge?
We've talked about writing a book together for years now, and although we had many ideas, nothing stuck. None of them felt true to us—until now. It took us a while, but eventually we clued in. So if you've wondered why we've been so quiet on the site these past few months, it's because we've been holed up putting the strategies that have been tucked away in our heads all these years onto paper—into a book, A New Way to Dinner.
We wanted this book to be inspirational, but more importantly to get down to the brass tacks of how to pull off five great weeknight dinners, with just a few hours in the kitchen on the weekend. For instance, spend about 2 1/2 hours in the kitchen over the weekend and you get to eat this through the week:
Polenta, bolognese, and biscotti
Porchetta, mashed potatoes, blood orange salad, and chocolate rosemary pudding
Crisped potatoes, bolognese, and more pudding
Blood orange salad, porchetta on bread, and ice cream
Polenta with garlicky spinach and fried egg, plus fruit and cheese
Porchetta sandwiches with pickled onions and garlicky spinach
A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).