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R.O.D. (Rules of Dinner)

Jenny over at Dinner A Love Story asked me to share our rules for family dinner. My favorite is Rule No. 2 "The Table is a Safe Place". This was a phrase my mother invented, and she used it often at our dinner table when I was growing up. Dinner time is sacred, and only nice things are said at the table. You may want to remind your son to put his bike away, or talk to your daughter about her lackluster performance in Algebra.. but wait until after dinner. Siblings don’t bicker, parents don’t lecture. The table is a safe place.

You can check out all 10 of our Rules of Dinner here. Dinner: A Love Story has become one of my favorite places for new recipes and just great ideas about family dinner in general. Jenny always gives recipes in a kind of honest short hand that I love. So in her honor, I will share one of our favorite dinners this summer.. Roasted Salmon with Fresh Corn Salad.

Roasted Salmon (adapted from How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman)

Preheat your oven to 450. Melt 2-3 tablespoons of butter and a little olive oil in an oven safe roasting pan. Add a handful of chopped parsley or minced shallots if you have it. Place a salmon fillet (with the skin still on) in the butter/oil, flesh side down. Roast in the oven about five minutes, then flip the salmon and roast 4 to 5 minutes longer until it feels done. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper and serve immediately. Buttery and delicious and my new favorite way to cook salmon.

Fresh Corn Salad (from Ina Garten's Barefoot Contessa Cookbook)

Boil 4 to 5 ears of corn in salted water for just a few minutes, drain in cold water. Set aside to cool. Finely chop about 1/2 a red onion and add in the corn kernels (I cut them off the cob with a knife right into the bowl). Add a few tablespoons of cider vinegar (I've also used red wine vinegar in a pinch), and an equal amount of olive oil (like 2-3 tablespoons of each). Season with salt and pepper. Grab a handful of fresh basil leaves and roll them like a cigar and cut them into little ribbons. Sprinkle the basil on right before serving.

Serve with some fresh fruit and maybe some good crusty bread. This is a meal that everyone in our house likes.. and one that only requires about 10 minutes of actual cooking! Win-win!

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Reader Comments (10)

This post has made me want to rush out to the fishmonger & get cooking asap...Thank you!

09.10.2011 | Unregistered CommenterThrifty Household

Our number 1 rule at the table was "No Singing at the Table". It was only recently that I realized that this is not an standard American table rule, just our family, because my sisters and I would start singing so much that we wouldn't eat... thus the rule was invented.

09.10.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLizzy

I love making salmon that way. Works well with skin-off, too.

09.10.2011 | Unregistered CommenterMs. Amy

What a great rule! And that corn salad looks delish.

09.14.2011 | Unregistered CommenterLynne

I caught these rules over at DALS, but had to pop over here to tell you in person how much I love them. We have dinner together every single night. But not everyone loves the tradition as much as I. The common sense gems here have been rolling around my mind all day. Thanks so much for taking the time to assemble them.

BTW, have you tried Bittman's poached salmon? It is dreamy!

09.20.2011 | Unregistered Commentermolly

the table is a safe place...until everything is consumed.
lol. that salmon looks awesome.

I love this. I read this line, "the table is a safe place," in my head several times in a row. I grew up eating family meals together and now my little young family does too. It's my favorite part of the day. I like it being completely untainted like this. Thanks for sharing.

09.26.2011 | Unregistered Commentercheryl

Dear Brooke,

I absolutely love your RULES OF DINNER. I had successfully tackled table manners with Golly Gee-pers! Table Manners Cards but still grappled with the propensity of the family to use dinner as a "get if off your chest" time. You hit the nail on the head with rule #2 The Table is A Safe Place. I am going to immediately institute this philosophy! Thank you.

Warm regards,

Staci Ericson
Owner/Creator, Golly Gee-pers!

11.14.2011 | Unregistered Commenterstaci ericson

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