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Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food & Love from an American Midwest Family    by Kathleen Flinn order for
Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good
by Kathleen Flinn
Order:  USA  Can
Viking, 2014 (2014)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good by Kathleen Flinn has an improbable title but is such a delightful memoir you can't help but think Flinn has something there. At least her Grandma Inez believed in its message.

The author recounts tales from her family history as well as offering wonderful recipes from the family archives. The recipes are not gourmet but good old down-home cooking that will make your taste buds stand up and take notice, as well as bring back memories of home-cooked comfort food.

The sub-title reads 'A Memoir of Food & Love from an American Midwest Family'. The prose addresses three generations of the Flinn family on their trek to San Francisco and their reversal of direction to a Michigan farm and then to the warmth of Florida. Humor played a big part in this family's life along with great helpings of cornflake-crusted fried chicken, Uncle Charlie's spicy San Antonio chili, and Grandma Inez's birthday-only cinnamon rolls, to name just a few of the foods described.

Flinn regales us with stories of her ancestors, both her paternal and maternal grandparents. Her parents both had the ability to pack up and move on when the pickings were too lean where they were. She tells tales out of school of her siblings as well as her own. Flinn has many stories that she shares of this close-knit family. Makes us think of our own history and the loved ones we were privileged to call our own.

Flinn realized that meals can be memories and cooking communication. And she shares both with us, her readers. She is also the author of The Sharper the Knife, the Less You Cry as well as The Kitchen Counter Cooking School.

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