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Betsy Block

Stories without recipes

Spin Doctor

Coming in July 2008 from Algonquin Books:
The Dinner Diaries: Raising Whole Wheat Kids in a White Bread World

And now, The Dinner Diaries website is up! Check it out!

If you'd like to receive (infrequent and very short) e-mails when I have pieces in real publications, and when my book comes out this summer, sign up here.

I could tell you either of these stories and they'd both be true, which I find fascinating:

Truth 1
We just got back from four nights in NYC, where we stayed in a clean, nice, relatively affordable hotel. I wisely booked advance tickets to see Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty; friends from Boston planned on joining us, making it that much more festive.

Internet access in our room enabled me to respond to new assignments and interview requests immediately, both of which have been on the rise since the advance reading copy of my book went out to the press a few weeks ago. The hotel provided a fun drinks and snack hour every evening, which we attended as soon as we checked in; there was even a popcorn cart for the kids (and free wine and beer for us).

Andy and I lay in bed relaxing and watching the Food Channel, where we laughed in horror when we saw a thousand-dollar sundae featured. (It has gold leaf and "the world's rarest chocolate.") I met with my editor, the publisher of my book, and another writer whose work I admire. I attended a highbrow book reading at a Tribeca bookstore. Finally, I feasted on an incredible meal at Nobu, where even the edamame were the best I've ever had. (They tasted so fresh.) Because I did so much work, we can write at least part of the trip off. We didn't spend as much as we feared we would, and in the end, I may have even lost a couple of pounds. When we got home, the tulips and cherry tree were blooming, our dear friend had had her second baby, and all was well.

Truth 2
On the drive down to New York, we hit massive traffic, adding two exhausting, stressful hours to our trip. We were all sweltering because it was a freakish 80 degrees out. When we sat down to eat that first night at the adorable Bubby's Pie Company, 12-year-old Zack said he didn't feel well; soon enough he was in the bathroom, throwing up. (Sorry.) I went into my publisher's for an hour the next day, and I met with another writer at a book reading that evening, but otherwise I stayed in the hotel room with Zack (it was glorious out, sunny and 70 degrees). Internet access cost 10 bucks a day.

The next day, everyone went off to Ellis Island except me; I had caught Zack's bug. (Hence the savings on food and entertainment costs, along with that unintentional weight loss.) I had to cancel an appointment with another editor I really wanted to meet. Andy and the kids joined close friends of ours for dinner at a restaurant owned by a friend of theirs. They got a beautiful meal and VIP treatment; I watched an embarrassingly bad movie on HBO while clutching my stomach. After that first night in New York none of us ever got to step foot in that cocktail hour reception again. That meal at Nobu was the one truly special occasion of the trip, and poor Zack couldn't eat a bite. Of the four nights we were there, I was mostly awake for two of them. When we got back to Boston and were tucking Maya into bed, we realized we'd left her favorite stuffed animal in the hotel room. There was another extra hour of traffic on the way home, and truthfully? I still feel sick.