An award-winning nonfiction writer and journalist’s recipe-packed memoir of her Midwestern childhood and how she came “to [her] love of the kitchen.”
Even before Flinn (The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks, 2011, etc.) was born, cooking defined her family. In the late 1950s, her parents left Michigan to help her Irish uncle run an Italian restaurant in San Francisco. When they returned a short time later to care for her father’s dying sister, they went to live on a run-down farm. The family lived a hand-to-mouth existence, and the Flinn children “never had new clothes, fancy bikes, or enough money for hot lunch at school.” However, between the chickens they raised and fruits and vegetables they grew, the Flinns never lacked for good food. In fact, cooking was the conduit through which previous generations of her working-class family expressed their love for each other. Her maternal grandfather courted her grandmother “not with flowers but with food,” and Flinn’s paternal grandmother kept her children from starving during the Depression with the soups she made from just about anything she could find. When the author’s parents married, her father took his new wife on a fishing honeymoon. After the family’s finances improved, they indulged in the more expensive convenience foods more prosperous families took for granted. Longing for homemade food, Flinn began to experiment in the kitchen and discovered “there was nothing better than feeding people.” Cooking eventually became the way she could forget her status as a social outcast and bond with her dying father when the family moved to Florida. As a young adult, Flinn aspired to attend her culinary idol Julia Child’s alma mater, Le Cordon Bleu. More than a decade later, following along the well-worn path of a family love affair with food, she lived out her dream.
A warm, quietly poignant treat.