Blog Reviews

Special thanks to the following bloggers:

Project Foodie
October 21, 2008

"If you are one of the many who have experienced the difficulties of getting your family to eat something that isn't processed, that isn't loaded with chemicals, or that you can't pronounce then you are going to love Dinner Diaries. . . .   The best thing about this book is that not only is it informative . . . but it's also laugh out loud funny."

For more, go here.

Mom Cooks
October 12, 2008

"Betsy consulted food experts, made lists of foods that were high in vitamins and minerals, and came up with a ten-step family food makeover plan with humorous results. . . . You'll appreciate Block's witty retelling of what it's really like to change your family's diet." To read more, go here.

One Day at at Time
August 27, 2008

"I finally finished a book! Oh yes I did. It's been a while since I read a book fiction or not from start to finish, but I did it. And I enjoyed it. And I want to tell you about it because it really was a good read. It's non fiction, but it read like fiction and I found myself constantly wanting to read it to find out what happened next.

The Dinner Diaries by Betsy Block was an entertaining read about a mom trying to get her family to eat healthfully. I think we can all identify with that. While I'm inspired, I know that there are things that I will not be able to do that she managed to accomplish. One of those things is eating locally to reduce our carbon footprint. As much as I'd like to eat things that were grown or raised locally, I live in Northern least 3 hours from the closest farm of any sort. Scratch that. And my family flat out refuses to eat any type of fish or seafood, so scratch that too.

But still a fun read and a great example of how patience and persistence really can facilitate change. I have hope, both for my kids and myself."

To visit her site, go here.

August 14, 2008

By Katy Kililea

"The cover of The Dinner Diaries lets you know it's about "Raising Whole Wheat Kids in a White Bread World." This is a cover I can relate to! Even worse than being bombarded with junk food at school and parties, my kids are dealing with a mother who's sliding down the slippery slope of "everything in moderation" to "two desserts a day is normal, right?" and "It's not really a day at the beach without some Chex Mix." The Dinner Diaries is Betsy Block's record of her family's food makeover. She confronts the food issues that today's parents are dealing with: nutrition, environmental impact, cost, availability, and—perhaps most challenging—whether or not a kid will eat it.

Refreshingly, the author is not a nutrition expert. Instead, she's smart and funny, and a seasoned writer who knows how to get answers from the experts. She untangles the omega-3 issue, and meets and eats a delicious pig. Her writing makes her instantly likeable and familiar. Instead of pert helpful hints offering stale advice, she describes what really happens as new foods are introduced and milk chocolate is taken away. I love it that she also often pauses to wonder, "Does this even really matter?" and includes ugly domestic scenes (one sibling screaming at another, "I'm going to pee on your butt.")

She ends the book with a handful of recipes that she found to be surprise hits with her picky eaters. The Dinner Diaries is an entertaining way to get the boiled-down information we need to determine foods that are: safe, nutritious, ecologically sound, affordable, available, and that everyone in a family will eat. No small feat. If you care about these issues and would like a break from translating the conflicting information you read, this is the book you'll want to read next."

To visit, go here.

The Mom Blog
August 13, 2008

"We all want to feed our children healthy meals - not too high in fat and sugar, not contaminated with tons of artificial ingredients - which will nourish them and make them grow into big, strong, smart people. But living in our high-stress, fast food nation, those sentiments are often easier said than done.

One mom, food writer Betsy Block, has put her foot down about the whole situation, straightened up her family's eating habits, and written a book about it: "The Dinner Diaries: Raising Whole Wheat Kids in a White Bread World" (Algonquin Books, $14.95).

Block decided to put her family on a 10-step meal makeover plan, which included cutting out sugar, switching to more whole grains, eating more seafood - only to find there are contamination issues with the world's seafood supply. Along the way, she had to deal with other moms who mean well but were loading her kids up with sugary treats; finicky family members who will only eat some food items; and the whole gamut of holiday-food land mines, including the mother of them all, Halloween.
It's a good read: funny, insightful, full of great information, including resources and some healthy recipes. Hmm… those Miraculous Fish Sticks sound pretty good."

To visit The Mom Blog, go here.

Fruit in My Dessert
August 9, 2008

Don't Give Up The Good In Search of the Perfect

"I just finished reading, The Dinner Diaries: Raising Whole Wheat Kids in a White Bread World, by Betsy Block. I wasn't sure if I'd like it or even connect with it, given food and cooking are not (yet) passions of mine and that my child is not even eating anything other than mush yet. I am, however, concerned about food safety and sustainability - although admittedly more about safety. Well, thanks to Betsy's amazing writing style and fabulous descriptions of the emotions around food and the details of family dynamics with food, I LOVED the book. She is passionate about food and very badly wants her family to eat more healthily and more variety, but understands that they may not be as passionate as she is, and comes to realize that's okay. Her family loves her and even the children do their best to humor her throughout the process. Her strong relationship with her husband, a hater of many foods, is refreshing. The picture she paints is not a perfect one, which makes the stories she tells that much more compelling.

In addition to all of this, I learned so much about food choices, including that I'm not crazy to think that the information out there about what's healthy and good to eat vs. what's not (e.g. types of fish) is confusing, complicated, and conflicting. Instead of throwing up her hands and giving up (like I am sometimes prone to do when it comes to making good food choices), Betsy trudges on and comes up with things like the Everymom's Middle-of-the-Road Fish List which I will actually reference when buying seafood from now on. No matter where you are on the spectrum of feeding yourself or your family, this is a fabulous book full of great information within even better stories about families, love, and the trials of every day life. Maybe some day, when HD is refusing to eat more than bread, and I can't figure out how to eat more green things (my palate is only slightly more adventurousness than Betsy's husband's), I'll even make one of her suggested recipes at the back of the book. Oh, and the title of this post, a quote from her friend in the book, applies, of course, to more than just food."

To visit the blog, go here.

June 21, 2008
Cool Mom Picks

"If you want a volume filled with healthy recipes that everyone immediately loved, this is not the book for you. If you want an enjoyable real-life account of one family kicking and screaming towards culinary change -- including a mom who lies to her kids about her love of chocolate, a dad who hates vegetables, and a kid who eats a handful of olives for dinner -- this is definitely the book for you."

To read the rest, go here.

April 6, 2008

"A real family, a real dilemma. How to eat in a healthy way, and still enjoy food. And what is healthy eating anyway? Who to listen to? Betsy Block's enchanting family and endlessly witty presentation made every page an adventure!

Not only does she tell the story of her family's journey to good health, but she honestly admits to her own foibles and stumbles along the way. Every chapter made me laugh. Confounded by the picky eaters, and her family's, and secretly her own, love of fried foods she struggles to find the perfect groove for her family.

But, besides entertaining you, this book will educate you. You will learn about additives that go into our food supply and how what we eat makes its precarious way to our tables. Sometimes you will feel it is way too much information, but it is information we all need.

I not only recommend this book, but it will become one of the books I give to friends with families.. and those without."

To read the post, go here.