How to Celebrate Everything: Recipes and Rituals for Bi… (2024)


433 reviews

November 9, 2016

I do not read Jenny Rosenstrach because her recipes are all safe for me to make for my family, but because she completely gets it - the importance of memory-making with our kids, and how food is so very central to these memories.

I have read Jenny Rosenstrach all these years not because I think she might share a recipe that I will go on and make that very night, but because she might share some tidbit about parenting, about how what I am making for my family will make a memory for them.

But. We are so lucky in my family, because she actually does often share a recipe that we can make, and this book is full of them! You don't read Jenny Rosenstrach like most cookbooks, where you scan the ingredients and then decide whether or not to continue from there. You read her introductory notes, the whole recipe, and of course the essays in between.

I love how she reminds you that you already have rituals. (And, hello, a book about RITUALS? She's got my number.)

Thank you for another book that inspires and comforts and shares and encourages - all the things we exactly need right now.

Sharon Huether

1,562 reviews23 followers

July 11, 2016

I won this Free book from Goodreads- First reads.
This is a cookbook that's very personal. The author shared family experiences, dinners, holidays, sleepovers and recipes.
There is no index. I've been marking all the recipes that look good to me, just about all of them, which are tucked in between family stories.
This uncorrected proof has no color to it's pages.

    cookbook family first-reads


1,286 reviews1 follower

May 16, 2018

This book is like the worst part of Facebook; it's a book declaring "Isn't my family great and look at all these cool rituals we do," with a few recipes thrown in. Honestly it just depressed me having it in the house. I feel so much better now that I've gotten rid of it.

Thanks anyway, Goodreads First Reads. I'll try to be a bit more discerning in my book requests next time.



686 reviews34 followers

August 7, 2016

When I first got it, I thought it was the new phone book; the review copy looks eerily similar to our phone books.

It is a fun read with a lot of good ideas. I like the idea of this book as who doesn't need a bit more celebrating in their lives! :)


61 reviews73 followers

June 24, 2018

This was delightful! Inspiring without being overwhelming.


Juli Anna

2,753 reviews

March 3, 2021

This cookbook exemplifies a number of my pet peeves:
~Cookbooks that are 75% chat and only 25% recipes.
~Any books that are organized in a completely non-intuitive fashion.
~People that assume that everyone interested in "creating family traditions" or celebrating holidays in extravagant ways does so with children.

I picked this book up hoping for an innovative, seasonally organized, holiday-focused cookbook. What I found was a memoir about life with kids that has a few random recipes thrown in for kicks and giggles. As an intentionally child-free adult who hates chatty food writing, I found almost nothing to like about this.

    cookbooks wheel-of-the-year


20 reviews

December 27, 2019

Always the mark of a successful cook book when you cook three things from it and your husband says he wants them in the rotation. Borrowed from the library; going straight to my wish list.

August 12, 2017

I love this book for the same reasons I love Dinner: A Love Story. The stories, the approach to meals and cooking and family time, as well as for the recipes. Dinner is still one of the only cookbooks I use, but I suspect this one will also get a fair amount of use! The stories are what connect me to the book and inspire me to actually try out the recipes.

As well, despite having no interest in children, the family focus of the book doesn't detract. These recipes and rituals are as good alone, with chosen family, or just with partners or parents and siblings - no children required.


Aubrey Lee

582 reviews5 followers

December 18, 2019

The author says families crave rituals and shares recipes to make events extra-special, from holidays to birthdays to sleepovers to dinner parties.
I'd probably like this more if I was more of a foodie. The recipes look good and the pictures are gorgeous; a lot of it just seemed too much for me (cider-braised pork meatballs with creamy polenta? Come on now). But I thought Jenny was funny and warm and relatable, and I love her idea that food with family and friends can bring comfort and connection.

Hannah Brown

160 reviews4 followers

November 14, 2022

This book was mostly recipes (I took pictures of many I want to try) but I skimmed a lot of it. Most of the book felt like reading the long stories shared above recipes you find online. 😴 I did write down a lot of fun ideas for rituals I want to start with our family and enjoyed her deep passion for seasonal food.



534 reviews14 followers

December 19, 2020

Really enjoyed this! I read it in small chunks of time as a book. I haven’t tried a single recipe from it yet, but I flagged a few good looking ones. Such a fresh approach to simple celebrations!

    2020 cookbooks parenting

hope curtsinger

55 reviews3 followers

April 16, 2022

Another enjoyable meal-related, with a celebration focus, read. Not sure if my kids will enjoy all her recipes but they look tasty to me. Her writing style kind of reminds me of a city version of the Pioneer Woman. I love the combo of essays/stories, recipes, & real life photos.

Rachel Schultz

Author1 book27 followers

August 19, 2022

Five stars doesn’t mean it was flawless, here due to the interfaith stuff.

But in building family culture, this woman is extremely gifted.


397 reviews6 followers

July 8, 2017

Some yummy looking new recipes, but seems to raise an even higher bar for homemade holidays.


388 reviews2 followers

July 18, 2019

I'm such a sucker for rituals and traditions, especially when they center around food. I also love how unpretentious and thoughtful Rosenstrach is. Hope to buy this one.



2,217 reviews

December 21, 2016

As an improvement upon Dinner: A Playbook, this book is beautifully photographed and the pictures are big. On the downside, it was kind of copy-heavy and personal. I enjoyed hearing about her traditions, but I'm sort of in her position anyway. . . my family celebrates a lot of things, so I don't really need to create new rituals - I think I have enough. Some of the cakes and recipes in here were unique, but there was almost too much information about the stories behind them (which wasn't always that interesting). I felt like the book couldn't make up its mind if it was a memoir or a cookbook.

The recipes are sound, but you might be able to get the same information elsewhere without the filler. If you are looking for more ways to celebrate, or to add some charm to your celebrations, than this might be worth checking out.


1,034 reviews9 followers

January 1, 2017

Although the book is full of recipes, it is also full of awesome ideas, beautifully photographed.
The birthday section was a favorite, in part because she makes a distinction between the celebration food for kids & adults. Ideas are practical- like push dum-dum lollipops into the cake's edge for fancy effect.

Her narrative is like sitting for coffee w an old friend where nothing is off limits, ideas bounce around, and it is all so honest.

Of course, I am a believer in the family meal, the shared family lore, the crazy celebration.


342 reviews49 followers

November 14, 2016

I think Jenny Rosenstrach and I are kindred spirits, being obsessed with family rituals and overcome with nostalgia. The biggest difference between us is that I'm not into cooking. This is a cookbook with essays, and I loved the essays, loved the non-food ideas about celebrating, loved the photography and layout. I don't see myself making very many of the recipes (they look delicious, but a little beyond me in this season of life) but if you are a foodie you should definitely check it out.

    food-and-nutrition nonfiction


42 reviews11 followers

December 22, 2019

Yes this is a cookbook, but really I was reading the snippets and stories between the recipes. Jenny gets that memories and moments can be cultivated with a little bit of intentionality! This was a wholesome, no pressure read for me over the past few months.


Jessica Anderson

28 reviews21 followers

July 5, 2016

with out trying out any of the recipes i have already fallen in love how this book is done.



1,665 reviews4,192 followers

October 6, 2016

Do I want to give this book to everyone I know? Yes. And also cook all the recipes.

    2016 food non-fiction


155 reviews

October 31, 2016

Loved it! Checked it out from the library, but so many recipes and concepts were keepers that I'm going to buy it!


10 reviews1 follower

January 12, 2017

I love reading the stories behind Jenny's recipes. I enjoyed the concept of family rituals she described in this book. I can't wait to try lots of these recipes.


435 reviews3 followers

January 20, 2017

Want to buy this one.


38 reviews42 followers

August 30, 2021

ETA: I downgraded this to 1 star after attempting a few recipes.

The lazy "apple fritter" recipe pushed me over the edge. It's a PANCAKE recipe. You don't use the same batter for pancakes and fritters. They aren't the same thing. Pancakes do NOT "earn fritter status due to the high apple-to-batter ratio." (pg. 154). These are basic apple-cinnamon pancakes, minus the vanilla and brown sugar you'd find in most recipes. If you're craving a fritter, you're going to be disappointed.

Beyond that, her suggestion to drop the diced apples into the pan and pour batter around/over them is completely bizarre, even for a pancake recipe. "They will be misshapen, that's okay! Charming, even!" says the author. Why make misshapen pancakes when you could just do it right, though?

Here's a tip for the novice cooks: you can just fold the grated or fine-diced apples into the batter at the end, whether you're making pancakes or fritters. It's much easier and less messy.
Original review:

This would have been a fun foodie mom read if it had been cut down by about 50%.

I enjoyed the chatty writing style in the beginning. I should have known better... chatty types tend to wear on me after a while. Reading the chatter didn't buffer me from mental fatigue of processing it. As I wearily neared the final pages, I vowed that should I ever see Jenny Rosenstrach in the grocery store, I will change aisles just to avoid hearing any more anecdotes about her kids. And I like kids!

The recipes were an odd mix of some solid basics that everyone should know (Seriously, mashed potatoes? Chocolate dump cake? C'mon!) and some that sound overly complicated for what you get in the end or involve expensive ingredients I'm not going to buy for one recipe.

Many of recipes I want to try from this book originate with someone other than the author. There are a lot of borrowed or adapted recipes in here. She does give credit where credit is due. I wouldn't look to her for recipe ideas based on what she offered up here.

(Note to anyone in a recovery program: there are quite a few mentions of what she and her husband are drinking throughout the book, so be aware. Just a heads up! I was (perhaps naively) caught off guard by how often alcohol was mentioned in a book about celebrating family rituals. Only one recipe calls for alcohol, so it's not too bad on that front.)

Overall... meh.

Abbigail Kriebs

28 reviews10 followers

December 27, 2020

It might sound counterintuitive that a book about celebrating everything is relevant during a global pandemic where we cannot gather to celebrate anything. But it is.

This book isn't about how to create elaborate celebrations around special holidays or unique-to-you events; it's about how to make the daily routines of our lives into mini-rituals that both we and our children/families can look forward to and back on. Rather than trying to force rituals out of thin air, Rosenstrach even recommends looking at your current daily life: is there something that happens often that is a ritual and you just don't know it? Can you enhance an already-present action in your everyday to elevate it to the status of something even a smidge special? Probably. And it might give the household an anchor of sorts in this year(s) where every day is somehow the same as the one before.

Filled with family stories and how they became rituals, as well as recipes to help create or inspire your own, "How to Celebrate Everything" might just be the book I should have read back in March of 2020. Grateful to have snuck it in under the wire here in this year that just won't quit eroding our joy.


483 reviews

December 24, 2017

Fell in to this book by accident, having no knowledge of its author, but rapidly becoming captivated by the joy attached to the creation of routines that evolve into rituals that give shape and meaning to our lives. This was particularly enlivening to me as I faced the Christmas Eve ritual with some degree of reluctance, only to decide that if it were not true at the moment of leaving my home, in a few hours I would be quite happy to have attended the Mass of 1000 Pepperidge Farm Goldfish, the requisite amount required to keep the toddlers in attendance in line through the long explication of the journey to Bethlehem with no Bed, no Bath, and only Beyond. Buoyed by the author's sense of the significance of time unfolding together, this promises to be an eventful night.

The recipes look good, too!

Joy Becker

157 reviews5 followers

March 24, 2022

I really enjoy Jenny's writing and recipes! Her first book, Dinner a Love Story, is by far the most used and loved cookbook in our home, so I've had this book on my to-read list for a long time. I am totally on board for all things involving food rituals for special occasions and the day to day. I enjoyed reading about Jenny's traditions and the way it sparked my own thinking about the many simple food rituals we have in our family. I haven't actually tried any of these recipes yet, but I have three on the menu for next week! :) And like I said, Jenny's recipes rarely disappoint. My only complaint with this book (and Dinner a Love Story) is that there is no recipe index which leaves me flipping and flipping to find what I want or even just browse.


35 reviews

June 30, 2019

I’ve been a fan of Jenny’s since her days at Cookie. She’s like the coach on the edge of the boxing rink. When I’m beaten, bloody, and discouraged from the never-ending battle of trying to feed my two picky eaters, who are not only picky, but inconsistently picky (last week’s pick is this week’s pan), Jenny is there to splash water on my face, rub my shoulders, and push me back into the kitchen with the promise that healthy, varied dinners that my kids will eat and enjoy are possible. She rekindles the dream when I’m ready to throw in the towel and just feed them edamame and cheese quesadillas for every meal.


142 reviews

July 13, 2021

Equal parts recipes and stories about herself and her family members. This is a celebration of celebrating—the centering belief is that every occasion is worthy of marking, and that even everyday moments are something worth remembering. I love the way an unmeasured strawberries + almond milk smoothie or her mother’s basic salad (“leaf”) claims pages alongside recipes for homemade ice cream cakes and grilled ribs. Even better are the author’s thoughts on gift-giving, vacationing, and family rituals. In sharing what works for her own family, she inspires without raising too much anxiety in the reader as we consider how we might forge our own path.

    gift-ideas read-in-2021
How to Celebrate Everything: Recipes and Rituals for Bi… (2024)
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