“Our kitchen is small, the appliances dated. We don’t have a fancy six-burner stove or double wall oven like some of our wealthier neighbors. But as I remove the second pizza from the oven, the kitchen feels perfect: neither too big nor too small, neither too old nor too new. The kind of kitchen where my brother can enter carrying both my son and my daughter in his arms.”
–from Dinner with Dad
A beautiful, intelligent wife, two bright children, a gorgeous home in a nice Connecticut suburb, an ample income as a successful lawyer: by all accounts, Cameron Stracher is living the American dream. Problem is, thanks to a crazybusy work schedule, he’s never home to enjoy it. Most nights Cameron grabs dinner on the run, eating on the late train home long after his wife and kids have finished their meal.
So one day Cameron commits himself to a revolutionary experiment: For the next year, he’ll be home by six o’clock at least five days a week to sit down to a real family dinner–and he’ll even help cook that dinner himself. “Instead of stuffing a taco into my mouth in the back of the train, I will sauté chicken and peppers for my own fajitas. Instead of dining alone, I will dine with my family. Instead of Absent Dad, I will be Nourishing Dad.”
But as this daring adventure gets under way, it becomes clear that the road to culinary togetherness is no cakewalk. Six-year-old Lulu eats only plain pasta with salt and nine-year-old Simon clings immovably to hot dogs. What’s more, Cameron begins to feel that his normally sympathetic wife, Christine, is growing tired of having him underfoot at unexpected hours. Only the author’s faith in another American dream–family closeness at the dinner table–keeps him moving, and as he shops, chops, and cooks, he ponders the high percentage of Americans who’d rather work than be with their families, who’d rather take conference calls than meet the school bus.
Fired with love and humor, wit and heart, and peppered with engaging social and cultural history, Dinner with Dad is a four-star, five-course celebration of family life. Millions of overextended parents will relate to and relish Cameron’s journey as he discovers what truly matters most.
Advance praise for Dinner with Dad :
“ Dinner with Dad is for every spouse who’s ever crashed on the rocks of the suburban dream and for every parent who’s had his heart broken by a child’s turned-up nose. Stracher writes with humor and honesty about the pitfalls and triumphs of trying to have your family and eat with them, too.”
–Julie Powell, author of Julie & Julia
“Busy fathers everywhere will immediately identify with this book, and hopefully will heed its message. Well done, Cameron–someone needed to write this book. Now dads everywhere need to read it.”
–Mike Greenberg, author of Why My Wife Thinks I’m an Idiot
“A warm-hearted, loving, and funny look at the way we live now. Can a dad get home for dinner, cook it, and live to tell the tale? Stracher’s story gives hope to the hungry and cheer to the overemployed.”
–Harlan Coben, author of The Woods
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of eBook: Dinner with Dad|
|Release Date: 05-22-2007|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group|
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Dinner with Dad
It’s 7:37 p.m.
Do You Know Where You Are?
I am running for the train at Grand Central when I see him: a man, about six two, thin, shoulders beginning to hunch prematurely, balding, prominent nose and cheekbones. He carries a laptop case slung over one shoulder and a gym bag over the other. His eyes have the weary look of a man who has not yet had dinner but suspects it may be too late. One hand darts nervously to his ear, holding a cell phone or a BlackBerry. The other hand clutches the bag as if it’s his last best chance. He looks left, then right, like a skittish cat, as he navigates the crowd loitering at the fast-food stalls, ducks oncoming traffic, and dashes for the train.
I follow him through the platform doors. For a moment I lose him at the bottom of the stairs, then he reappears by the second car. A gray man in a gray suit, chewing nervously on his lip. An apparition. A reflection. A warning.
If he notices our resemblance, he doesn’t acknowledge it as he surveys the crowded car from the vestibule, then chooses a seat near the front. He withdraws a soft pretzel from his gym bag, breaks off a piece, and chews slowly and deliberately as he slumps against the window. I continue past him and sit at the other end of the car.
The train is filled with lawyers, bankers, and advertising
executives making their evening run up the golden corridor of Metro- North’s New Haven line: Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, Westport, Southport, Fairfield. It is a commute with which I have become too familiar in the four years since I left Manhattan. A commute I never thought I would be making. A commute that s