“Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good-A Memoir of Food and Love from a Midwest Family”-Kathleen Flinn


I loved every page of this autobiography: the story of a multi-generational family and how food connected them inexplicably.

…I’m pieces of my parents, siblings, grandparents, and great-grandparents. Like so many of them, I love to cook-enough to drive me to another country. I earned endless lessons in generosity from Grandma Inez and Grandpa Charles. I inherited the thin steel that ran through Della Stark and the salesman, her scoundrel husband, James. I’m the daughter of a marine, a cop, and a man who would rather go without than go back on his word. I’m my mother’s daughter , who was tough enough to kill chickens, yet kind enough to tel me that a church thrift shop was a posh department store so that I wouldn’t feel ashamed of wearing secondhand clothes.

Burnt toast makes you sing good. Be thankful; no matter how little you’ve got, someone’s always worse off than you. You cant give anything away, it always comes back. They handed down these simple life lessons to me as surely as they did their recipes.

I’m a mutt. But as they say with dogs, mixed breeds prove the most resilient. The people in my past helped make me tough, passionate, and endlessly optimistic. That’s what I want to talk about even if it happens that my grandfather wasn’t Irish after all. But a distant grandmother was from County Kerry. So I’m still Irish, at least a wee bit.

All of this, ignited by a short obituary and cheap posters in a farmhouse bedroom, let this Midwest girl to don kitchen whites as I embarked on a love affair in the most romantic city in the world.

But that’s another story.

from the Epilogue, page 247.

Kath’s quote: “I don’t have to tell you I love you. I fed you pancakes.” -Kathleen Flinn


Live simply, laugh often, love deeply.

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