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

Friday, February 13, 2015
Kathleen Flinn
Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love From an American Midw

When I read “Burnt toast makes you sing good: a memoir of food & love from an American Midwest family” by Kathleen Flinn, it reminded me of my family life growing up with many siblings in the same time period, the 50’s & 60’s. To Kathleen, meals brought back memories and cooking was a way of communicating. The author’s family struggled financially. As a result, clothes were purchased at thrift stores for the 5 children & bag lunches rather than “hot lunches” were the norm. Of course, these ways of living were fuel for the children being taunted at school. Kathleen’s mother actually told the children that the thrift stores were high end department stores. The girls in the family didn’t realize the white lie until they entered a “real” department store. Imagine their faces to look upon a sight of the multitude of choices to buy, let alone the bright lights! Another similarity had to do with birthdays. In lieu of gifts, the children got to pick out the menu for “their” day. Grandma Inez’s cinnamon rolls were always the choice for breakfast! The words of the title came from an adage that Grandma Inez used to say. She didn’t own a toaster so she “baked” toast in the oven. The children would complain about having to eat burnt toast, so grandma gave them a good reason to eat it. Some of the choice family activities included eating, camping, reading, & fishing. They would spend days fishing, whether it be ice, smelt, or motoring around a lake in a boat that was big enough for the family of seven. The family lived in California for a time helping out a relative run a restaurant. Kathleen’s parents eventually tried their culinary skills by running their own restaurant using family favorite recipes. The book includes some of the family recipes. When the family moved to Michigan, the family’s financial status improved when they were able to buy a farm. Food could be grown & stored for future consumption. At one time there was enough money to open doors for socialization. Food and fun while meeting new people. In regards to reading, Mr. Flinn purchased a set of encyclopedias from a college student. (Selling encyclopedias was a common job for college students during the 70’s, nowadays encyclopedias are a thing of the past). Mr. Flinn would read the informational books from cover to cover. Sometimes he would read aloud so who ever wanted to gain unique knowledge could listen. A good book to read if you want to stroll down memory lane or drive on Route 66. Check our Catalog

Geralyn B., Technical Services

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