Kathleen Flinn's author of The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry is back with a memoir of her youth called Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family. Ms. Flinn's memoir appropriately arrives late in the summer as it is a book as bittersweet and poignant as the end of the season and the onset of Autumn.
The book is a chronology of her upbringing and covers three generations of her family. Ms. Flinn's adventurous streak and zest for life was a theme of some of her earlier works and here we see some of this in her own family history such as when her family decides fairly abruptly to pack up their Michigan home and move to California to help a relative run a pizza restaurant. Other highlights include chronicling her family's attempt at raising chickens and her family's abrupt move from Michigan to Florida. Ms. Flinn offers up serious retro comfort food recipes such as Lemon Meringue Pie, Bread and Butter Pickles, and Hot German Potato Salad to punctuate her chapters and underline some of her early experiences with food and cooking. Our favorite of these recipes is her Pan Fried Steak a la Julia Child.
|The author (photo credit Irene Flinn)|
This work, is in effect Ms. Flinn's third memoir and exhibits her exquistie story telling ability. She manages to weave a fascinating tale out of both the considerable drama and impulsiveness of her parents but also manages to get a lot of mileage out of the ordinariness of her youth such as chronicling the prodigous canning practices of her Grandparents or how her Father loved fishing. Ms. Flinn's work here manages to balance the sweetness and the ache of family history with the wizened perspective of adulthood.