Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good, Kathleen Flinn

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family

Kathleen Flinn

Category: Nonfiction: Memoir; Food & Cooking; Families

Synopsis: Flinn recounts her childhood on a farm and family life in food.

Date finished: 5 September 2014

Rating: *****

This cinches it, I’m a Flinn fan for life. I enjoy each of Flinn’s books more than the last, and this one is my favorite so far. First was The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry, detailing her experience at a student at the famed Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Then was The Kitchen Counter Cooking School, where she takes inexperienced cooks under her wing and teaches them to make simple, scrumptious dishes. Her latest, though, is her most autobiographical, and it is a top-notch memoir.

Why did I love it so much?

First off, Flinn is a Midwestern girl. She was raised on a farm in Michigan. I was raised on a farm in Wisconsin. We had common roots. Her family was like mine, strapped for cash, hard-working, church-going. They went deer hunting, ice fishing, and spent a lot of time with extended family. Flinn captures the simplicity and wonder of life lived on a farm. There are loads of funny and touching stories. I literally laughed and cried. And I’m not generally a laugher or a crier while reading.

Secondly, the memories she relates are all tied to food, and the recipes are provided. This is good, hearty, home-cooked food using ingredients they grew themselves. This is what I ate growing up and what I still crave now.

Lastly, Flinn has a genuine, honest way about her that make her stories easy to identify with. I felt like a member of her family, and many members of her family were much like members of mine.

Truly, this is the most heart-warming book I’ve read all year. I devoured it, and loved every morsel. Will you enjoy it even if you weren’t raised on a Midwestern farm? Yes, I’m sure you will. Like a good meal around a table full of loved ones, it will just make you feel good.

Would you recommend this to a friend?

You might also enjoy:
The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry
The Kitchen Counter Cooking School
Coop, Michael Perry


  1. I've always wanted to read The Kitchen Counter Cooking School, but completely forgot. Kathleen Flinn's other books sound really good too.

    1. I just love them all. There's a lot of practical advice in The Kitchen Counter Cooking School. You learn how to roast a chicken, make bread, make salad dressing (if I remember correctly)--stuff I never really learned how to do. I hope you enjoy it, if you pick it up!