Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good

Kathleen Flinn (Viking)

Every New Year offers the opportunity to look forward to the future, reflect on the past and consider those who have enriched our lives. And that’s exactly what Michigan native and best-selling author Kathleen Flinn does so well in this engaging memoir of food, love and what she calls her “unremarkable and utterly fascinating” Midwest family. The Flinn clan’s journey spans three generations, beginning with the Great Depression. It’s a delectable feast of stories that entertain and inspire.

This is Flinn’s third book on cooking and food and it’s a perfect mix of family adventures, morality tales and the recipes that accompany them. She writes lovingly about her Grandma Inez, Grandpa Charles, parents and siblings, all noble altruists who, despite tribulations, practiced and taught generosity in spirit and deed. From her father’s daring decision to join his pizza-making brother in California to tales of deer hunting, fishing and raising chickens, Flinn’s memoir will warm your heart.

Each new family challenge is sprinkled with enriching life lessons about “sunshine work” — simple acts of kindness toward others. This endearing memoir is a tribute to an inspiring family whose great strength has been resourcefulness with food and affection, never wasting a morsel of either. Flinn describes with humor and humility how her family survived tough times and celebrated solidarity with a bold spirit of adventure.   

She succeeds in serving up a satisfying feast that is one part a self-discovery of her own love for cooking, one part a passionate plea for kindness at a time when the world is starving for love.

Grade: A+

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