Amanda & Merrill

Our Founders Amanda & Merrill Are Writing a Book!

February  3, 2016

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."

This dinner we're about to serve? We prepped for it over the weekend! Photo by James Ransom

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. 

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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.

Amanda's meticulous menu planning (with her daughter's drawings). Photo by James Ransom

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?

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Top Comment:
“I too make weekly lists-not as meticulously made as Amanda's, but weekly menus in a Moleskine notebook. Let me know if I can pre-order it somehow to Canada. ;) ”
— Shalini

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.

Photo by James Ransom

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
  • Spinach salad with pancetta, croutons, and egg
Photo by James Ransom
Photo by James Ransom

The book will be on shelves—and in the Food52 Shop—this October. Stay tuned for more updates, and reserve a signed copy now to get it hot off the presses!

—Amanda and Merrill

Be one of the first to get your hands on A New Way to Dinner by pre-ordering it in the Food52 Shop!

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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).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • heleneosoyoos
  • PamYoss
  • Darlene
  • Melina Hammer
    Melina Hammer
  • gigabiting
Food52 (we cook 52 weeks a year, get it?) is a food and home brand, here to help you eat thoughtfully and live joyfully.


heleneosoyoos September 27, 2016
Do you ship to Canada?
PamYoss September 26, 2016
Some of my favorite recipes come from Cooking for Mr. Latte (that Almond cake, seriously delicious...) after I followed Amanda's column in the NYT for so long. Great idea for a cookbook, weeknight dinners can be a real drag...
Darlene February 10, 2016
I believe you have hooked me. I have no doubt I'll be reeled in by October!
Melina H. February 8, 2016
Go Amanda and Merrill!!! I bet this book will be a stunner if the cover is an indication, and, I love the smarts behind how to make practical delicious/nourishing eating.
gigabiting February 6, 2016
Looking forward to it.
Food52 recipes are already a staple in my kitchen.
marula Z. February 6, 2016
Can't wait until october ! 119days!
LANIE February 5, 2016
Congratulations! And cannot wait to get my hands on it!!
Shalini February 4, 2016
Congratulations! I can't wait to see this and employ it! I too make weekly lists-not as meticulously made as Amanda's, but weekly menus in a Moleskine notebook. Let me know if I can pre-order it somehow to Canada. ;)
Erin J. February 4, 2016
YES! Teach me your Amanda + Merrill ways so I don't eat cookies for dinner! least not every night...
SarahZiker February 4, 2016
Me too! i think it's perfect timing!
Fairmount_market February 3, 2016
What a great concept for a cookbook. I can't wait to read it.
cookinginvictoria February 3, 2016
Meal planning and organizing our weekday dinners is something that I am still trying to master. I am excited to see your new cookbook. I have missed your posts on food52!
Amanda H. February 3, 2016
Thanks -- hope you'll like it!
hardlikearmour February 3, 2016
This is definitely a subject I struggle with! Congrats and looking forward to it!!
Amanda H. February 3, 2016
We used to, too -- that's why we thought we should write about it.
Bonnie February 3, 2016
My family's still getting the hang of meal-planning; can't wait to check it out this fall.
Amanda H. February 3, 2016
Great -- thank you!
TaraT February 3, 2016
Awesome! But October?!? I need it now! :)
Merrill S. February 3, 2016
We're impatient too! :)
Megan February 3, 2016
Love this and can't wait to get it!
Merrill S. February 3, 2016
luvcookbooks February 3, 2016
Ordered the book this morning before I even had coffee. Exactly what I wanted!
Merrill S. February 3, 2016
Wow, impressive!
Rhonda35 February 3, 2016
I can't wait to get my copy! (But I will, since it's not printed yet.) Congratulations!
Merrill S. February 3, 2016
Thanks, Rhonda!
EmilyC February 3, 2016
What a smart idea for a cookbook. Can't wait for October!!
Merrill S. February 3, 2016
Thank you, Emily!