Kitchen Yarns: Notes on Life, Love, and Food

Norton. Dec. 2018. 256p. ISBN 9780393249507. $24.95; ebk. ISBN 9780393249514. COOKING/mEMOIR
OrangeReviewStarNovelist Hood (The Book That Matters Most) recounts the events of her life in a series of autobiographical essays that center on the foods she loves and craves and the dishes that have helped her through hardship. The author grew up in Providence, RI, in an Italian American family, where her grandmother cooked gallons of red sauce every week, and her mother crafted delicious meatballs and "fancy lady sandwiches" that Hood took to school functions. Hood details her teenage years working for the department store Jordan Marsh and subsequent 15 years as a TWA flight attendant. As her travels allowed her to explore more sophisticated foods around the world, it was the simple dishes from her childhood (e.g., her father's Indiana fried chicken made from three simple ingredients: flour, salt, and pepper) to which she always returned. Hood writes movingly about her failed marriage, the tragic deaths of her father, brother, and five-year-old daughter, and the recipes that kept her going through these difficult periods.
VERDICT This warm, humorous, touching, and wonderfully readable book will appeal to food lovers and fans of culinary biographies.
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