Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good by Kathleen Flinn is a memoir of living poor during the depression and again during the 1950s in Michigan. It is also a cookbook of basic comfort food like bean soup, chicken and biscuits, pancakes, coffee cake, and lemon meringue pie.
Author Flinn started life poor mostly eating what could be grown and canned, or shot and frozen. She wore hand-me-downs either from her older siblings or the local thrift store, which her mother told her was a fancy department store. In this rural setting, with few friends, she spent much time reading, and with her imagination. One of the things she imagined a lot was cooking, not surprising for a hungry child.
When she grew up she followed her dreams by attending the Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and becoming a successful writer.
The book is full of nice remembrances of the 1930s - 1950s. Her mother cooked on a electric skillet, a kitchen gadget I also remember from childhood, but one of those cooking innovations that have not stood the test of time, like the pressure cooker, stove-top potato baker, toaster oven, and crock pot.
Another interesting insight was to recall that the 1950s began the transition to prepared food. Flinn traces her family's return to prosperity and along with the rest of the country, they got exchanged their chickens and canning jars for McDonalds, air conditioners, dishwashers, and supermarkets.
Even if you don't cook, this is a delightful visit to the journey out of the Depression brought on during the prosperous years following WWII.
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4 months ago