About

My name is Jennifer Hess, and I’m a self-trained home cook and food lover who is back in Brooklyn, New York after 4 1/2 years in Providence, RI. I live with my husband, Michael Dietsch, our son Julian, and our two cats.

Last Night’s Dinner is a blog about what we’re eating. The focus is on dinners, which are mostly cooked at home. Though we’re not strict locavores, we try to eat seasonally and source the majority of our fresh ingredients from local farmers and purveyors.

Enjoy reading, and feel free to comment or email me at lastnightsdinner@gmail.com

22 thoughts on “About”

  1. Hi,
    Your blog is outrageous, my only question.. WHERE ARE THE RECIPES? I would love to make these dishes on my own. I used to live in Bushwick too, but the crime rate threw me back to Greenpoint :)

    Thanks!

  2. a cook in Florida said:

    happy new year!

    I’m new to your blog but think it is just fantastic…..totally appreciate your approach to recipes and ingredients. Sometimes a recipe is necessary though, especially when you are making something for the first time – a point of departure. But so many people don’t have the skill, knowledge or confidence to adapt or play with a recipe. Few people seem to take the time or really enjoy cooking anymore – I sure do!

    I will continue looking at your food porn (you seriously understate your photography skills) and vicariously enjoy your lovely repasts. cheers – kathy

  3. Hi, love your pictures and your blog! You inspired me to get Thesis for my own blog so thank you :) As many others have said, I wish you had recipes but reading about your cooking adventures is fun too. Btw we used to love a place like Al Forno in RI – when we lived in Boston, we would occasionally drive to Providence for a long dinner at Al Forno.

  4. Hi there. I too have recently relocated to Providence from New York City, where I was a magazine editor and a zealous home cook. Now I’m in medical school, and to avoid the near-inevitable pitfall of a student’s life of Thayer St. hot dogs and middling pizza–and also because I don’t really have any friends in this town–I’ve renewed my culinary vows, so to speak. (Like you, I find it helps to have a Providence-proportioned kitchen.) I’m considering starting up a food blog of my own, and I have a question for you. How do you achieve such gorgeous pictures of the food you make? Clearly I need a new camera…. Thanks for the advice, and I hope our paths cross in this charming little city one day.

  5. Jennifer Hess said:

    Hi Rob – welcome to Providence!

    To you and others who have asked about the photos, here’s the scoop:

    I’m currently using a point-and-shoot model, the Sony DSC-H2. I’ve had it for a couple of years now, and it has served me very well, though I am starting to think about upgrading to a DSLR. I’m not trained in photography, so really I’ve learned through trial and error. A few things I can advise: (1) Natural light helps make better photos, I’ve found; of course, in the winter months in New England, it’s pretty much a given we’ll be dining after sunset, so I just try to use indirect, bright indoor light, and tweak the white balance when I edit the photos. (2) I never, ever use a flash. (3) Food seems to photograph best on white plates, though I’ve been experimenting more lately with black backgrounds and liking the results. (4) A little garnish can make a huge difference – whether it’s a scattering of fresh chopped green herbs, a little lemon zest, freshly cracked pepper or flaky finishing salt, a garnish adds both a pop of color and added texture, which makes for a more appealing photo (and dish).

    Mostly, play around with colors and textures on your plate, and have fun with it!

    (Also, the vast majority of the photos I post here are clickable, so if you click the photo it will take you to the original on Flickr, which are often annotated with tags, notes and/or further description.)

  6. Hi! I’ve been following the blog for some time now, on and off — i double took when i saw cheese from the Farmstead! I had lived in Providence for 4 years and whenever there is a Pro-Rho connection, it just makes sense! I always felt that Providence had a great food scene – and probably my favorite grocery store in the world, Eastside Marketplace. I live in Chicago now, also a foodie-city, but there are days I yearn to go back if only for a walk down Wickenden street! Thanks for the beautiful and inspiring blog!

  7. I’m in Newport, and did a double take just now when I read that you had Aquidneck Farms steak the other night! Not too many RI bloggers as far as I can tell. Found your site through Slow Food, and I’m bookmarking it!

  8. Hi Jen! I love your blog! I am always inspired by all your photos and wish to cook as well as you. I am also a fellow Rhode Islander :) My questions to you are: What cookbooks inspire you the most and which cookbooks would you recommend for novice cooks? Thanks in advance. Keep up the good work!

  9. Hi Jen,

    Lovely blog! I work for some farmers down in South County organizing a farmers’ market. We started a blog this year, coastalgrowers.wordpress.com. Can we link? I think we have lots to share!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    Alycia Metz

  10. Hi! My husband and I recently moved to Providence and both of us really enjoy your blog. We are avid cooks & bakers and want to become more active with the slow food/environmentally conscience food movement in the area. We wondered if you knew of any supper clubs or good places to connect with like-minded people? We’ve only been here for a week and live on the East Side…we’ve already been to the wonderful Hope Street Farmer’s Market!

  11. Jennifer Hess said:

    Wow, I always forget that comments are enabled on this page, and I always forget to follow up and respond! I’m sorry about that!

    Jessica, I think my favorite cookbooks for beginning cooks are Heidi Swanson’s – Cook 1.0 and Super Natural Cooking. They are beautifully vibrant, extremely user-friendly, and provide great templates for preparing meals with fresh, seasonal ingredients.

    Claire – Welcome, neighbor! We’re on the East Side as well, and I’m so glad you’ve discovered the market at Lippitt Park. It is such a gem, and a wonderful place to connect with people, soak up the wonderful atmosphere, and procure lots of amazing local goodies.

    We haven’t heard of any supper clubs just yet, but I will absolutely direct you to Providence Palate (http://www.providencepalate.com/). Great community there, and you should find a lot of good info about the food and dining scene here. If you see us at the market next Saturday, please say hello!

  12. Wow, I’m so inspired by your story! I was reading your “recipe” page, and was completely drawn in as soon as you mentioned Marlow and Sons. My FAVORITE restaurant in New York. I moved from Brooklyn to Berkeley less than a year ago, and although we have incredible food here, I have yet to find something like it.

  13. Jennifer Hess said:

    Hi Allison – M&S was a huge part of our New York experience – we even ate there after our wedding! A special place, for sure.

  14. food52 is such a fantastic site in every way- it lead me to your blog, which is so beautiful and vibrant. “complimenti”.
    i understand why you dont post the recipes- i only made my blog live 3 weeks ago and it is very hard!
    you have beautiful posts, i shall be returning here again and again. best wishes, shayma

  15. Hi Jennie, do you remember me from Dulles Airport at Air Wisconsin?

  16. Hello, I am working with HP Hood to promote the second annual New England Dairy Cook-Off and Chef’s Challenge. We are wondering if you might be interested in judging the Chef’s Challenge in Portland, Maine 10/30, which will pit six New England chefs against each other in a holiday classics throwdown. Please provide an email address so we can send the formal invite. Thanks!

  17. Hi Jennifer – I just stumbled across your blog and I am stoked to have found it! I love your concept and your photos! Nice work. I also appreciate your view on recipes. I am one of those cooks who really never follows a recipe (I am fortunate to have had a mother who is an awesome cook and she started training me in the kitchen from the time I could barely walk!) and I am constantly getting flack from friends and family about it! Since I started my own food blog, I have gotten a lot better at writing things down, but it’s still a struggle. Half the time, I’m finished preparing the dish before I realize that I didn’t write anything down! I look forward to reading more and learning more about you! Happy new year! :)

  18. I just stumbled upon your blog and am enjoying the pictures and stories immensely! After my son was born 2.5 years ago, I rediscovered my love of farmer’s markets. We try to eat seasonally and colorfully as much as possible – at least for our sides and entrees. There’s still a fair amount of sweet decadence – though slightly “healthified.” I’m looking forward to following your journeys and trying your recipes. Congratulations also on your newest addition!

  19. Hi- I was just checking out your blog, I’m new to food blogging and I was looking at what’s out there. Just wanted to let you know I think your blog is great, and I’ve put a link on mine. I saw you had won a Food 52 contest, and I can’t wait to try your seafood pasta recipe! I just won last week, what a fun blog they have! Anyway, looking forward to following your blog!

    Best,
    Carolyn

  20. kellybakes said:

    I should have started here first, but I’m glad to find a blog that isn’t recipe-centric. Food is such a powerful medium of conveying emotion and memory; it’s refreshing to find food-centric blogs with beautiful pictures and writing in a sea of blogs that are focused on recipes with little backstory.

  21. How did I miss that you were back on the blogging band wagon? So glad to see it! I look forward to catching glimpses of your world through food again. Happy 2013. Here’s to a fabulous year to come for us all.

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