Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family
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A family history with recipes, Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good offers a flavorful tale spanning three generations as Flinn returns to the mix of food and memoir readers loved in her New York Times best-seller The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry. From a Route 66 trek to San Francisco to their Michigan farm to the shores of Florida, humor and adventure defines her family even in the worst of times. (Think Jeannette Walls' The Glass Castle meets the works of Ruth Reichl topped with a dollop of Julia Child.) You'll savor Uncle Clarence's divine corn flake-crusted fried chicken, Grandpa Charles' spicy San Antonio chili and her grandmother's birthday-only cinnamon rolls. Through these flavors, Flinn came to understand how meals can be memories and cooking can be communication. Brimming with warmth and wit, fans of Luisa Weiss' My Berlin Kitchen, Gabrielle Hamilton's Blood, Bones and Butter and especially Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn will delight in this revealing look at a family that just might resemble your own.
how good the fish tastes when they’re cold like that,” Mom says. The fishermen would take their catch off the hook and toss it out onto the ice, a reckless yet effective method of preservation. Of the kids, only Milt, Doug, and Mary Jo’s oldest son, Steve, had the perseverance for ice fishing. Sandy preferred to skate. Other cousins amused themselves with sleds or a particularly slippery brand of kickball. I chose to cling to my mother as she made beef stew right on the lake. Building a fire on
splendor of an air-conditioned government office. After much prodding, Mom convinced her younger sister, my aunt Mel, to move out to California after she finished up business school. Aunt Mel found work nearby with Western Electric as a secretary. Life seemed good. The restaurant broke even. Thanks to the cold war, Mom had a secure job. The kids had a yard to play in. Mom had both her sister and one of her brothers with her in California. She had a place to hang her clothesline. Dad managed the
replied. “It’s my sunshine work. You’re not supposed to expect anything back in return, not even from God. That’s what my grandma Inez says.” One positive about Hill Street was the arrival of a new family member: Dad’s first powerboat. Now that we were no longer neighbors with Uncle Bert, it was unseemly to borrow his boat. But my parents were not the kind of people who would buy something on credit. So for six months, they set aside money from Dad’s paycheck. When they started shopping,
than a year. As eccentric as the other kids were turning out, my brother Doug was the epitome of a dutiful son. One day after eating a pile of raw tomatoes from the garden, Doug lay down on the couch clutching his stomach. Mom asked him to pick up her dry cleaning from a shop around the corner. “I can’t, Mom, I don’t feel so good,” Doug said. Mom told him he just had indigestion. “You shouldn’t have eaten so much,” she told him. “C’mon, go get my cleaning.” Crumpled over and holding his side,
I never went back to Davison. Mom stayed in the apartment and worked since she could earn double in Michigan what she could make in Florida. Dad, knowing the hours she worked and keen on his own sense of mortality, prevailed on my mother to let me stay with him for the next school year. So it was just me and my father alone as I faced the horror of entering junior high. Anna Maria Island is a retiree destination. If you’re a kid looking for playmates, it’s not a target-rich environment. The only