Book review | Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good by Kathleen Flinn | Recipe Renovator
This is a little different than my usual cookbook reviews. I had the great pleasure of meeting the author Kathleen Flinn at an author dinner held here in San Diego. I loved the writing exercises she gave us, and couldn’t wait to dive into her latest book, Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family. Kathleen is a lovely, funny person. I am happy to report that she writes even better! I totally and completely related to her and her family’s stories, as I too grew up in the Midwest, spent lots of time in a station wagon, had a dad who fished, and our family struggled at times to make ends meet.

Book review | Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good by Kathleen Flinn | Recipe Renovator

Layout and design:

This isn’t a cookbook, but I’ll still apply my review format, as it does contain recipes. The cover design is fun and perfectly conveys the style and content of the book. The book is organized into three parts, detailing three places the family lived. Each chapter covers either a distinct period, or one family member. The font is beautiful and easy to read.


Black and white family photographs open each chapter, perfectly conveying the era and bringing the people to life.
Book review | Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good by Kathleen Flinn | Recipe Renovator


Each chapter ends with a recipe that furthers the story, often the recipe she’s been describing in the chapter. I know she has has extensive recipe testing done on all the recipes. Recipes are traditional and include: Uncle Clarence’s Oven-Fried Chicken, Morels Sautéed in Butter, Cinnamon Rolls, and Apple Crisp. Additional recipes are included in the back.

What I liked about the book:

Beautifully written, with vivid characters and some incredible stories. Reads like a novel, but all the stories are true. Many were typed up by her mother when Kathleen was a child and passed along to her to include and expand upon.

I wasn’t so keen on:

The recipes are traditional, so include flour (gluten), sugar, and salt. No nutritional analysis is provided, but it’s unlikely they are suitable for special diets, although many could be renovated if you know what you’re doing.

Recommended for:

Anyone who loves a great read, foodies, Midwesterners, farm folks

A note about my cookbook reviews: In the past, I tested at least three recipes from each book, took photos, and described my experience. Due to my dietary limitations (extremely-low-sodium for my Meniere’s Disease and trigger-free foods for migraine relief), it is no longer possible for me to test the recipes and do them justice.

Required FTC disclosure: I purchased one copy of this book from the author for the giveaway on December 12th.
Here’s the book if you want to order it for a food lover or just someone who loves to read: