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From her Italian-American childhood, through raising and feeding a growing family and cooking with her new husband, food writer Michael Ruhlman, Ann Hood has long appreciated the power of good food. In Kitchen Yarns, pairing her signature humor and tenderness with simple, comforting recipes, Hood spins tales of loss and starting from scratch, family love and feasts with fr From her Italian-American childhood, through raising and feeding a growing family and cooking with her new husband, food writer Michael Ruhlman, Ann Hood has long appreciated the power of good food. In Kitchen Yarns, pairing her signature humor and tenderness with simple, comforting recipes, Hood spins tales of loss and starting from scratch, family love and feasts with friends, and how the perfect meal is one that tastes like home.  


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From her Italian-American childhood, through raising and feeding a growing family and cooking with her new husband, food writer Michael Ruhlman, Ann Hood has long appreciated the power of good food. In Kitchen Yarns, pairing her signature humor and tenderness with simple, comforting recipes, Hood spins tales of loss and starting from scratch, family love and feasts with fr From her Italian-American childhood, through raising and feeding a growing family and cooking with her new husband, food writer Michael Ruhlman, Ann Hood has long appreciated the power of good food. In Kitchen Yarns, pairing her signature humor and tenderness with simple, comforting recipes, Hood spins tales of loss and starting from scratch, family love and feasts with friends, and how the perfect meal is one that tastes like home.  

30 review for Kitchen Yarns: Notes on Life, Love, and Food

  1. 5 out of 5

    Larry H

    "First we eat, then we do everything else." —M.F.K. Fisher Like music, food often has such an indelible role in our memories. Many of us can remember where and when (and in some cases, with whom) we first tried certain foods, and some of us can even remember the meals or dishes we'd consider best-ever (or even worst-ever). Some turn to food for comfort, for celebration, for companionship, while some even have a complicated relationship with food. But no matter what, we can't deny the place food ha "First we eat, then we do everything else." —M.F.K. Fisher Like music, food often has such an indelible role in our memories. Many of us can remember where and when (and in some cases, with whom) we first tried certain foods, and some of us can even remember the meals or dishes we'd consider best-ever (or even worst-ever). Some turn to food for comfort, for celebration, for companionship, while some even have a complicated relationship with food. But no matter what, we can't deny the place food has in our lives beyond simple nourishment. In her new book, Kitchen Yarns: Notes on Life, Love, and Food , Ann Hood reflects upon the connection between certain dishes and specific memories or times in her life. There are the pleasant memories of family, her first job as a flight attendant for TWA, dishes associated with her children. Then there are those dishes which remind her of times she was struggling, with grief, loneliness, despair, anger. And then there are the nostalgic recipes, which came from cookbooks that are heavily stained or have fallen apart through years of use. Each essay marks a particular time or memory, and each is accompanied by at least one recipe. "When I write an essay about food, I am really uncovering something deeper in my life—loss, family, confusion, growing up, growing away from what I knew, returning, grief, joy, and, yes, love." There's the never-fail Chicken Marbella recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook , which only failed her one time, when she was falling in love. There are the potato recipes enjoyed by two of her children, and the baked potato recipe from her new husband, the one which made her actually enjoy baked potatoes. Whether it's the blueberry muffins which remind her of the department store where she worked as a teenage model, or the various dishes her Italian grandmother and her mother afterward filled the days and nights of her childhood with, this book captures the warmth, the feeling of connection cooking brings. You know, this is why everyone winds up in the kitchen during a dinner party! This book hit so many special notes for me. I love to cook and love to read recipes, but despite my struggles with liking food far too much (especially those dastardly carbohydrates), food has such a special place in my memories. I remember the dishes taught to me by my mother and grandmothers, those I learned in culinary school, those I tried to recreate after being wowed by a certain dish in a restaurant, and the foods I turned to during difficult times. There's a reason that when families in the Jewish religion mourn so much food is served—food truly can bring comfort, albeit temporary, as well as fellowship. "That even in grief, we must take tentative steps back into the world. That even in grief, we must eat. And that when we share that food with others, we are reclaiming those broken bits of our lives, holding them out as if to say, I am still here. Comfort me. As if with each bite, we remember how it is to live." I have been a big fan of Hood's storytelling (I loved The Obituary Writer and Somewhere Off the Coast of Maine ), but her writing in this book just dazzled me. I could see the ripe tomatoes in the tomato pies, taste the richness of the cassoulet, hear the crunch of her father's Indiana fried chicken. Needless to say, my stomach growled the entire day as I read this, and I cannot wait to try so many of the recipes she included in the book. Kitchen Yarns will whet your appetite and wet your eyes from time to time. I think this is the perfect book to give as a gift to those with whom you've shared recipes, meals, and memories related to food. See all of my reviews at itseithersadnessoreuphoria.blogspot.com.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    3.5 As with music, I'm sure many of can remember when a particular song was played, food and meals can bring about the same type of memories. Favorite foods from our childhood, comfort food we still crave to this day, maybe even struggling to learn how to cook. Ann takes us through her life, associating food with her different memories. What a fantastic way to get to know a person, an author, up close and personal. She takes us through her young years, growing up in an Itslian family, always a po 3.5 As with music, I'm sure many of can remember when a particular song was played, food and meals can bring about the same type of memories. Favorite foods from our childhood, comfort food we still crave to this day, maybe even struggling to learn how to cook. Ann takes us through her life, associating food with her different memories. What a fantastic way to get to know a person, an author, up close and personal. She takes us through her young years, growing up in an Itslian family, always a pot of red sauce, called gravy, simmering on the stove. Dinner parties her mother hosted, dinner parties she later threw on her own. Learning to cook, her favorite, simple fried chicken recipe, her marriage, children, her divorce and later her second marriage, all associated with different foods, meals. Just a wonderful book, simply written, reminding me of all the meals I can remember, failures and successes to do with food and cooking. Recipes are included, and I'm so darn suggestible I went and ordered the cookbook she mentions more than once, from Amazon. ARC from Edelweiss.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Diane Barnes

    Perfect light reading for a busy time. Essays on the importance of food, family and friends. With recipes, none of which are fancy or complicated. I intend to try the tomato pie very soon.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Toni

    Yummy Cozy 4.5 rounded up to 5 Stars Update: Ann Hood fans: This book just published Dec. 4, 2018. Great read for winter! Kitchen Yarns is a casual memoir with food. Ann Hood recounts her life through its phases of learning to cook and relationships connected to those times. It’s chatty and fun, as if you and she were sitting in her family room in two big cozy chairs, each with a glass of wine, something delicious to munch on and sharing stories of your lives. She starts out describing her Italian Yummy Cozy 4.5 rounded up to 5 Stars Update: Ann Hood fans: This book just published Dec. 4, 2018. Great read for winter! Kitchen Yarns is a casual memoir with food. Ann Hood recounts her life through its phases of learning to cook and relationships connected to those times. It’s chatty and fun, as if you and she were sitting in her family room in two big cozy chairs, each with a glass of wine, something delicious to munch on and sharing stories of your lives. She starts out describing her Italian Grandma Rose, constantly cooking heavenly, fresh meals, but never once letting Ann or the other kids into her tiny kitchen. The result, Ann never learned to cook any of these meals! (I on the hand, watched and learned everything my mother made; but did not become a writer or a chef.) Ann moves on to college trying out a few meals to impress a few boys. After college she lands a job as a flight attendant for TWA (remember them?!), flies everywhere and shares an apartment in Boston with five roommates. No one cooks anything, ever. Eventually she has her first serious relationship and decides to follow a recipe, changing one key ingredient. What follows is a disastrous pesto meal for an understanding boyfriend. (Great story.) She moves on, thankfully, to the memorable, “Silver Palate” cookbook, super popular in the 1980’s. Of course, Ann marries, has two children who stand on stools and cook with her almost every day. Here is where our walk “down the yellow-brick road” ends. At five years old, her daughter, Grace dies suddenly, from a severe case of strep throat. (yes, they did everything.) Life is not the same for a long time. I’ve read most of Ann’s books, but this is the first time she can really talk about the pain and grief she went through losing a child. She worked through it, as mothers do, with seven-year-old Tommy, still at home to raise. The family was living in an old, restored, Victorian house in Providence, RI, not far from Ann’s hometown. She talks a lot about her neighborhood. Before that marriage ended, they adopted one-year-old, Annabelle from China, which brought new challenges and new joy to the family. Currently, Annabelle is fourteen years old living with the happily remarried Ann and her “sweetie” (her word), writer and chef, Michael Ruelman. Ann’s book is sprinkled with humor and many of her favorite recipes. Look for Ann’s book Dec. 4, 2018 and wish her a Happy Birthday on Dec 9th! Thank you NetGalley, W.W. Norton, and Ann Hood

  5. 4 out of 5

    mindful.librarian ☀️

    Truly, this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and it took me FOREVER to get my hands on it because my library system only ordered a physical copy in Large Print (NO GO for me) and I had to wait for the digital copy to be available. . And......well.....let’s just say that I really loved the individual essays. But. Well. Most of them were previously published in other publications and rather than heavily editing to eliminate redundancies, they just.....plopped them all in a book. So, Truly, this was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and it took me FOREVER to get my hands on it because my library system only ordered a physical copy in Large Print (NO GO for me) and I had to wait for the digital copy to be available. . And......well.....let’s just say that I really loved the individual essays. But. Well. Most of them were previously published in other publications and rather than heavily editing to eliminate redundancies, they just.....plopped them all in a book. So, for beautiful food writing, it’s great. For a book to sit down and read straight through like I did? Just okay. . Overall I’ll give this 3 ⭐️, and recommend it to people who love to read about food and want to just dip in and out. I anticipated more of a memoir, and it’s actually a cookbook with essays 😊

  6. 5 out of 5

    Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)

    In the postpartum haze after my daughter was born when I began to pick up books again between diaper changes and during nursing sessions, I found a book called The Obituary Writer.  Though all I wanted to do was sleep and eat uninterrupted, I couldn't put the book down and chose to read in those few minutes I had to myself.  I made a mental note of the author so I could look for more of her books. When Ann Hood's food memoir Kitchen Yarns recently appeared on NetGalley, I couldn't click the reque In the postpartum haze after my daughter was born when I began to pick up books again between diaper changes and during nursing sessions, I found a book called The Obituary Writer.  Though all I wanted to do was sleep and eat uninterrupted, I couldn't put the book down and chose to read in those few minutes I had to myself.  I made a mental note of the author so I could look for more of her books. When Ann Hood's food memoir Kitchen Yarns recently appeared on NetGalley, I couldn't click the request button fast enough.  I love a good food memoir and was thrilled to have the opportunity to read more of Hood's work. "Fisher said, writing about food is really writing about love. When I write an essay about food, I am really uncovering something deeper in my life -- loss, family, confusion, growing up, growing away from what I knew, returning, grief, joy, and, yes, love." Growing up in an Italian American family, Ann Hood remembers her grandmother's tiny kitchen and how there was always something simmering, usually a tomato sauce that they called gravy; an all purpose sauce to smother bread in for an after school snack or to cover pasta. Her dad's military career meant moving often, which was especially hard on her mother who was raised in a close-knit family.  Hood has many fond memories centering around food with her family, from her dad's simple fried chicken to her mom's fancy sandwiches for PTA meetings and elaborate school lunches. "My mother built lunches the way some people build skyscrapers or monuments. It wasn't until I was an adult that I realized they were her Taj Mahal-- all of that glorious food jammed into a brown paper bag, made only for me." Each essay is full of nostalgia and accompanied by comforting recipes that represent a certain time period in her life.  She isn't ashamed to admit she loves American cheese because it reminds her of her dad (a cook who didn't realize he couldn't cook well), and she recounts the history of her fail proof dinner party dish Chicken Marbella and how it factored in to her adult life and marriage. Suffering multiple tragedies over the course of her life from the sudden and unexpected deaths of her aunt, brother, and then her five year old daughter, Ann Hood uses food and memory as catharsis. With charming descriptions, funny observations, and heartbreaking honesty, Kitchen Yarns chronicles a life of family, home, love, and loss and its one constant comfort:  food. Thanks to W.W. Norton Company and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.  Kitchen Yarns: Notes on Life, Love, and Food is scheduled for release on December 4, 2018. * Quotes included are from an advance readers copy and are subject to change upon final publication. For more full reviews, visit www.rootsandreads.wordpress.com

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bree Hill

    A really lovely collection of essays reflecting on life and love interwoven with amazing recipes. I truly recommend picking it up if you’re looking for something cozy, felt like I was having coffee with Ann and she was telling me about her life while also making me very hungry!

  8. 4 out of 5

    JoAnn

    Reminiscent of Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking, I enjoyed this almost as much as Hood's earlier memoir, Morningstar: Growing Up With Books.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Julie Durnell

    A delightful book of essays, ruminations, and recipes! She is very similar to Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking, which I enjoyed just as much.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    In Ann Hood, I can recognize a bit of myself as we are of an age, lived much of our single young adult lives in the somewhat seedy New York of the 80s, and of course, love to cook. I can't say we necessarily like to eat the same foods – she loves pork, and I never touch it. I love fish, and she hates it. We both have a great respect for the food of our immigrant families, hers Italian, mine Jewish, and the childhood influence of our respective food cultures remains strong in us in our current dec In Ann Hood, I can recognize a bit of myself as we are of an age, lived much of our single young adult lives in the somewhat seedy New York of the 80s, and of course, love to cook. I can't say we necessarily like to eat the same foods – she loves pork, and I never touch it. I love fish, and she hates it. We both have a great respect for the food of our immigrant families, hers Italian, mine Jewish, and the childhood influence of our respective food cultures remains strong in us in our current decade. I read along, identifying with some of her experiences, noting to keep (and rejecting others) some of her recipes. But when I came to the last section of the book, she had me in tears as she related her love of the author Laurie Colwin's famous tomato pie, and of attending one of Colwin's readings in Manhattan. How I could have missed the reading myself, I have no idea, and I am regretful to learn this decades later. I adored (there's no other word for it) Colwin's novels, stories and food writing, and was devastated by her death, at age 48, in 1992. And so, because I enjoyed the book, and especially because of Hood's Colwin anecdote, I must give this memoir four stars.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Les

    Actual rating: 4.5/5 I loved everything about this highly readable collection of culinary essays by Ann Hood! I have so many Post-It flags marking recipes that I'd like to try that I've decided I need to own a copy of this book. Here's a sample of some of the recipes that have piqued my interested: Indiana Fried Chicken Glamourous Curried Chicken Salad Chicken Salad Veronique Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins My Perfect Spaghetti Carbonara Michael's Whiskey Sours French Scrambled Eggs Never-Fail Souffle (re Actual rating: 4.5/5 I loved everything about this highly readable collection of culinary essays by Ann Hood! I have so many Post-It flags marking recipes that I'd like to try that I've decided I need to own a copy of this book. Here's a sample of some of the recipes that have piqued my interested: Indiana Fried Chicken Glamourous Curried Chicken Salad Chicken Salad Veronique Jordan Marsh Blueberry Muffins My Perfect Spaghetti Carbonara Michael's Whiskey Sours French Scrambled Eggs Never-Fail Souffle (really more of a strata) Sam's Potatoes Mary's Peach Pie Jill's Tenderloin and Roasted Tomatoes Gogo's Swedish Meatballs with Ikea Gravy My Roast Chicken Michael's Overnight Chicken Stock Tortellini en Brodo Perfect Grilled Cheese Laurie Colwin's Tomato Pie This list is mainly for my future reference, but it gives you an idea of the broad variety of recipes Hood includes in her memoir. Granted, most of the recipes are not exactly on a clean-eating menu, but we're all allowed to indulge once in awhile, right? Moderation in all things! A friend had given me Betty Crocker's Cookbook for my college graduation the year before, and I methodically worked my way through those recipes, ruining more dinners than I can count. Soon I was clipping recipes from the newspaper and buying other cookbooks--Moosewood, Laurel's Kitchen, The New York Times 60-Minute Gourmet. Over the next few years, I taught myself to cook. Sometimes I reached too far--stuffed pork chops with apple compote, whole wheat pizza that I could have used for a doorstop. But slowly I learned how to make an omelet and scramble eggs, use leftover chicken for curried chicken salad, make stock from the chicken bones. I remember doing the same with my first cookbook, Sunset: Easy Basics for Good Cooking, which I wrote about here. A few favorite passages: I realized as, over the years, I wrote essays about food--Laurie Colwin's Tomato Pie, my father's mac and cheese--that as M.F.K. Fisher said, writing about food is really writing about love. When I write an essay about food, I am really uncovering something deeper in my life--loss, family, confusion, growing up, growing away from what I knew, returning, grief, joy, and, yes, love. and I have read that Virginia Woolf's earliest memory is of a close-up view of the pattern of flowers on her mother's dress on a train trip to St. Ives. The Scottish poet Edwin Muir's first memory was of his gold-and-scarlet baptism suit. American historian Henry Adams remembered the yellow of a kitchen bathed in sunlight. Tolstoy's first memory is of being swaddled and crying out for freedom. Me, I remember fried chicken. I love Hood's writing and conversational tone, which brought a tear to my eye as often as it made me laugh out loud. Her final essay about Laurie Colwin's Tomato Pie had my eyes brimming with tears and I hugged the book to my chest as I read the final page. Kitchen Yarns is as delightful as Laurie Colwin's culinary memoir, Home Cooking, which I loved, and they both belong on my keeper shelf for future readings.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Melora

    I've never read any of Ann Hood's novels, but I very much enjoyed this memoir/recipe book. She tells her family stories well, and several of the recipes look worth trying. Actually, I've already tried one -- her "Chicken Marbella," adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook -- a few nights ago, when my dad and his fiance came for dinner, and it was a big hit. Even my sixteen year old, an unbelievably picky eater, said it was excellent, which a really nice surprise! (And the success was especially g I've never read any of Ann Hood's novels, but I very much enjoyed this memoir/recipe book. She tells her family stories well, and several of the recipes look worth trying. Actually, I've already tried one -- her "Chicken Marbella," adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook -- a few nights ago, when my dad and his fiance came for dinner, and it was a big hit. Even my sixteen year old, an unbelievably picky eater, said it was excellent, which a really nice surprise! (And the success was especially gratifying because I had to substitute skinless, boneless breasts for the skin-on ones the recipe wanted, and I'd been worried they would get dry. Plus, I didn't have the apricots, so it really is a tolerant recipe.)

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tena Edlin

    I won this book on a Goodreads Giveaway (my first win... I was so excited!), and I loved every second of reading it. In fact, this book made me want to write, and it made me believe that if my pipe dream of writing a book is ever going to come true, it's going to be a book like this... stories about life all woven together with stories about food and the recipes to go with them. This book also made me an instant fan of Ann Hood. She writes with equal amounts of passion and matter-of-factness. It I won this book on a Goodreads Giveaway (my first win... I was so excited!), and I loved every second of reading it. In fact, this book made me want to write, and it made me believe that if my pipe dream of writing a book is ever going to come true, it's going to be a book like this... stories about life all woven together with stories about food and the recipes to go with them. This book also made me an instant fan of Ann Hood. She writes with equal amounts of passion and matter-of-factness. It felt real because it is real. Family and life experiences are bricks in Ann Hood's wall. All those bricks are memories, and every memory is tied with food. When she wrote about her daughter who died suddenly at age 5, it wasn't melodramatic, but so truthful and so full of love that I had to make the recipe for Grace's Cheesy Potatoes that very night. I felt that just making that recipe was extending Grace's memory, in some weird little way. Plus, they were wicked good. A cup of heavy cream? Um, YES. :D Life is full of emotion and events, good and bad, and we eat along with each of them. This book talks about that and gives recipes to go along with it. It's a series of individual essays, so it's easy to put down and pick up again without losing the thread of the book. I seriously loved it.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    I wanted to read this book via #NetGalley but I was not approved -- nonetheless, here is my review from a purchased copy. #yourloss :-) From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it. In this warm collection of personal essays and recipes, best-selling author Ann Hood nourishes both our bodies and our souls. From her Italian American childhood through singlehood, raising and feeding a growing family, divorce, and a new marriage to food writer I wanted to read this book via #NetGalley but I was not approved -- nonetheless, here is my review from a purchased copy. #yourloss :-) From the publisher, as I do not regurgitate the contents or story of books in reviews, I let them do it. In this warm collection of personal essays and recipes, best-selling author Ann Hood nourishes both our bodies and our souls. From her Italian American childhood through singlehood, raising and feeding a growing family, divorce, and a new marriage to food writer Michael Ruhlman, Ann Hood has long appreciated the power of a good meal. Growing up, she tasted love in her grandmother’s tomato sauce and dreamed of her mother’s special-occasion Fancy Lady Sandwiches. Later, the kitchen became the heart of Hood’s own home. She cooked pork roast to warm her first apartment, used two cups of dried basil for her first attempt at making pesto, taught her children how to make their favorite potatoes, found hope in her daughter’s omelet after a divorce, and fell in love again—with both her husband and his foolproof chicken stock. Hood tracks her lifelong journey in the kitchen with twenty-seven heartfelt essays, each accompanied by a recipe (or a few). In “Carbonara Quest,” searching for the perfect spaghetti helped her cope with lonely nights as a flight attendant. In the award-winning essay “The Golden Silver Palate,” she recounts the history of her fail-safe dinner party recipe for Chicken Marbella—and how it did fail her when she was falling in love. Hood’s simple, comforting recipes also include her mother’s famous meatballs, hearty Italian Beef Stew, classic Indiana Fried Chicken, the perfect grilled cheese, and a deliciously summery peach pie. With Hood’s signature humour and tenderness, Kitchen Yarns spills tales of loss and starting from scratch, family love and feasts with friends, and how the perfect meal is one that tastes like home. About the Author: Ann Hood is the author of eight previous books, including the best-selling memoir Comfort: A Journey Through Grief and best-selling novels The Book That Matters Most and The Knitting Circle. I LOVED this book ... I just wish that I could have shared my love on #netgalley. The stories were warm and personal and the recipes look amazing: I cannot wait to make that peach pie! I laughed, I cried, I made notes, I am so foisting this on my bookclubs ... there are eight groups that I run and chose the books for, so lots of $ales$ Five definite 📚 📚📚📚📚 ... this is a beautiful and wonderful book that would delight even the NON-cook in hour life!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Rennie

    This book has been bringing equal parts joy and tears to my eyes and I’m sad I finished it (although I already made her/Laurie Colwin’s tomato pie, which closes the book in the most lovely, poignant story and also helps to heal what ails you). I never would have appreciated her writing and her simply but wonderfully, beautifully told little life lessons when I was younger so I’m very grateful to have discovered Ann Hood’s writing when I did. This book is the essay equivalent of comfort food, suc This book has been bringing equal parts joy and tears to my eyes and I’m sad I finished it (although I already made her/Laurie Colwin’s tomato pie, which closes the book in the most lovely, poignant story and also helps to heal what ails you). I never would have appreciated her writing and her simply but wonderfully, beautifully told little life lessons when I was younger so I’m very grateful to have discovered Ann Hood’s writing when I did. This book is the essay equivalent of comfort food, such a treasure. 4.5/5

  16. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    A gem. Thoroughly enjoyed the stories and want to try each and every recipe some day.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lesa

    Ah, Ann Hood. I know she's written other books, and I've read other ones, but I identified with her memoir/essay collection Morningstar: Growing Up with Books. Now, she has given us a memoir about another essential part of her life. Kitchen Yarns: Notes on Life, Love, and Food includes recipes, but it's a book about those moments in her life when those recipes were essential. Hood turns to food for comfort, in grief, in loss of a marriage, in joy. Her memoir is not in consecutive order. It's in Ah, Ann Hood. I know she's written other books, and I've read other ones, but I identified with her memoir/essay collection Morningstar: Growing Up with Books. Now, she has given us a memoir about another essential part of her life. Kitchen Yarns: Notes on Life, Love, and Food includes recipes, but it's a book about those moments in her life when those recipes were essential. Hood turns to food for comfort, in grief, in loss of a marriage, in joy. Her memoir is not in consecutive order. It's in order by memories of the heart. No one in Ann Hood's family actually taught her to cook. Her grandmother, Mama Rose, didn't want anyone in her small kitchen. Hood's mother worked while her father was stationed at various places in the navy. It wasn't until she was an adult, working as a flight attendant, that she taught herself to cook with the help of various cookbooks. She turned herself into what she refers to as a "good home cook" by the time she was married and raising a family. M.F.K. Fisher is quoted as saying, "Writing about food is really writing about love." That's exactly what Hood does in this latest book. Yes, she writes about her father's fried chicken, her grandmother's Italian cooking, the potatoes her children made. But, mixed in with those accounts are the stories of living with her grandmother while her father was gone, the loss of her daughter, Hood's divorce, her marriage to the man she loves (a man who knows and writes of food). She shares all of those stories with the reader, allowing us to glimpse her life, her grief, her love of food and family. I mentioned that I identified with Hood's book Morningstar. I don't share that same feeling with Kitchen Yarns. I'm not from an Italian family. My father wasn't career military. I didn't have any of the same career or marriage or family experiences Hood did. But, Ann Hood and I are the same age, and there are moments of familiarity when she talks of television or fads or books, and, even at times, food. There were moments when I teared up because of that familiarity. Throughout the book, Hood mentions the authors who are touchstones of food writing, M.F.K. Fisher, Laurie Colwin, Ruth Reichl. Hood brings the reader into the "home" in home cooking, though. She says, "Each essay stands alone, but taken as a while, they make a life - mine." Hood's new book about family and home, loss and love, and food, "is really writing about love", and her book is a gift of love to every reader.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    I'm always looking for another book like Ruth Reichl's Tender at the bone, so I was excited to read this book. I should not have gotten my hopes up. I'm not familiar with any other of Ann Hood's books, but I wasn't very impressed with this one. It was repetitive, kind of dull, and I didn't really believe her to be an expert in cooking. If there was any humor at all, it was lost on me. It was a fast read especially since I skipped the chapters dealing with butchering a whole pig and omelets. None o I'm always looking for another book like Ruth Reichl's Tender at the bone, so I was excited to read this book. I should not have gotten my hopes up. I'm not familiar with any other of Ann Hood's books, but I wasn't very impressed with this one. It was repetitive, kind of dull, and I didn't really believe her to be an expert in cooking. If there was any humor at all, it was lost on me. It was a fast read especially since I skipped the chapters dealing with butchering a whole pig and omelets. None of her recipes (except those from other chefs) sounded good to me, so I skipped those too. I'm not saying it's a bad book, or that people won't enjoy it; I just didn't connect with the material.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Emily Goenner

    A good 3.5 stars for this book--I enjoyed it. I like food memoirs and this one was like sitting down with a friend, sharing stories, repeating each other, identifying with struggles and sharing recipes, all over a cup of tea. Often, food memoirs are pretentious and so "foodie" they are inaccessible to me, but this book surprised me with a great combination of homey food (pie with pudding as filling!), traditional recipes, and more elevated fare. A warm and cozy book, it was a nice way to start t A good 3.5 stars for this book--I enjoyed it. I like food memoirs and this one was like sitting down with a friend, sharing stories, repeating each other, identifying with struggles and sharing recipes, all over a cup of tea. Often, food memoirs are pretentious and so "foodie" they are inaccessible to me, but this book surprised me with a great combination of homey food (pie with pudding as filling!), traditional recipes, and more elevated fare. A warm and cozy book, it was a nice way to start the year, and included several recipes I'd like to try.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shannon

    I wanted to like this book more, but it needs a good editor. It definitely reads like individual essays that have been slapped together in one volume. How many times do we need to be told that her son’s name is Sam? Or that she worked as an air hostess in First Class and wore Ralph Lauren? But, I have to admit that I saved several recipes.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    Part memoir, part culinary delight, author Ann Hood shares, in essay format, tidbits about her life, growing up in Rhode Island in an Italian family and the loves in her life. In adulthood, the former airline stewardess and author moved some 14 times in 15 years yet describes herself as a "nester." To her it was important to always create a sense of home wherever she lived. Through heartaches and loss: the death of her 5 year old daughter, Grace, her brother and an aunt, as well as, through divor Part memoir, part culinary delight, author Ann Hood shares, in essay format, tidbits about her life, growing up in Rhode Island in an Italian family and the loves in her life. In adulthood, the former airline stewardess and author moved some 14 times in 15 years yet describes herself as a "nester." To her it was important to always create a sense of home wherever she lived. Through heartaches and loss: the death of her 5 year old daughter, Grace, her brother and an aunt, as well as, through divorce and remarriage, it was cooking and creating that has sustained her through her grief. Each essay in this book takes the reader back to a particular place and time in the author's life where food and meal prep was a comfort to her - recipes included. The recipes are mostly comforting fare, definitely not for the heath conscious as they are often cholesterol raising ingredients, heavy in fats and sugar. I smiled when she stated the American Cheese was a favorite of hers (ugh) and that Thomas' English muffins were the superior brand (my favorite). I really enjoyed this foodie memoir, the perfect book to enjoy on a rainy day or when you are feeling in a reflective mood. 4.5/5 stars https://bibliophilebythesea.blogspot....

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ginny

    Love, love, loved this book of essays that try and sum up the life and memories that make up Ann Hoods life. Growing up in a Catholic, Italian family in the east, Hood brings you into all the things that made her the writer she is today. The good, the bad, the sad and all the happiness in between, and recipes in each chapter that make you want to cook and be a part of it all. She tells the story of her life from a young girl, a wife, a daughter, a mother, a friend, losing people she loved and tr Love, love, loved this book of essays that try and sum up the life and memories that make up Ann Hoods life. Growing up in a Catholic, Italian family in the east, Hood brings you into all the things that made her the writer she is today. The good, the bad, the sad and all the happiness in between, and recipes in each chapter that make you want to cook and be a part of it all. She tells the story of her life from a young girl, a wife, a daughter, a mother, a friend, losing people she loved and trying to find herself after grief robs her of life, being divorced, finding love again, and all that happens as we try to live. One of my favorite quotes: that even in grief, we must eat. And that when we share the food with others, we are reclaiming those broken bits of our lives, holding them out as if to say, I am still here. Comfort me. As if with each bite, we remember how it is to live. ❤️ Thanks for comforting me Ann.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    I was fortunate to read a very early copy of this and absolutely loved it. It's a fabulous companion to her previous book, MORNINGSTAR: Growing Up With Books. More review to come. Publishing date: December 2018 Thanks to WW Norton for the advanced reading copy.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kristin

    memoir cookbooks are one of my most favorite things. ann writes sweet stories throughout this and food that i look forward to making. not fussy, but comfort, the book, and i think the food.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Idarah

    I love this woman. https://ginghampanda.blogspot.com/201... I love this woman. https://ginghampanda.blogspot.com/201...

  26. 5 out of 5

    Martha Reynolds

    Repetitive Because I’ve read her books and essays, because I’ve listened to her speak, maybe because I live in her hometown, I know a lot about the author. So it was disappointing to hear the same stories, the same memories (the airplane passenger she swooned over, the author who folded her legs like origami) yet again. And because this is a collection of previously published essays, the reader has characters like her grandmother Mama Rose introduced and explained over and over again. Yep, Italia Repetitive Because I’ve read her books and essays, because I’ve listened to her speak, maybe because I live in her hometown, I know a lot about the author. So it was disappointing to hear the same stories, the same memories (the airplane passenger she swooned over, the author who folded her legs like origami) yet again. And because this is a collection of previously published essays, the reader has characters like her grandmother Mama Rose introduced and explained over and over again. Yep, Italian bread dipped in tomato sauce. Got it. Still, Hood can write, and the recipes are good ones. Borrow this one from your library.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lucy Burdette

    Even before I read the last pages of this foodie memoir, the book reminded me of the food writing of Laurie Colwin. Ann Hood has a great appreciation for cooking and eating and also a great appreciation for the way that food can express love and grief, and describe powerful family connections. I read this quickly but know I'll go back to try the recipes I marked and reread lovely passages.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Esta Doutrich

    I loved this collection of essays. Beautiful, simple language around simple food. I found the food experiences here super relatable. And the recipes are just normal dishes I could easily make today. (Not how most food memoirs are as much as I love them) Ann Hood knows about sorrow but she does not sensualize it... she writes in an understated, simple way that is both comforting and startling.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    Ann Hood grew up in an Italian-American household where her grandmother lived with them and cooked all their meals. Her parents cooked some as well, but somehow in a family that loved food and cooking Ann never learned to cook until she was an adult. Once on her own she cooked for comfort or in celebration or as a way to show love to her friends and family. Once she had children she made sure they were with her in the kitchen helping and learning like she didn't get to in her own childhood. In t Ann Hood grew up in an Italian-American household where her grandmother lived with them and cooked all their meals. Her parents cooked some as well, but somehow in a family that loved food and cooking Ann never learned to cook until she was an adult. Once on her own she cooked for comfort or in celebration or as a way to show love to her friends and family. Once she had children she made sure they were with her in the kitchen helping and learning like she didn't get to in her own childhood. In this collection of essays Hood writes about all the ways food has shaped her life. Each essay ends with a recipe (or 3) that were discussed in that essay. Hood is an excellent writer and having read some of her books in the past I remembered how much I enjoy reading her. This collection of essays will definitely inspire you to get into your own kitchen and either try something new or re-create a family favorite.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ian Roseen

    A very pleasant set of brief essays on life and loss, accompanied by family recipes that have brought the author much comfort in a lifetime of upheaval. The writing is gentle in the extreme, and given the book's similarity to Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking collections, I couldn't help but think of (and prefer) that sort of daffy, effervescent wit and AUTHORITY that comes across with Colwin. Yet, there is steeliness running below the surface of Hood's writing, too; she has experienced much sufferin A very pleasant set of brief essays on life and loss, accompanied by family recipes that have brought the author much comfort in a lifetime of upheaval. The writing is gentle in the extreme, and given the book's similarity to Laurie Colwin's Home Cooking collections, I couldn't help but think of (and prefer) that sort of daffy, effervescent wit and AUTHORITY that comes across with Colwin. Yet, there is steeliness running below the surface of Hood's writing, too; she has experienced much suffering, and writes without self-pity. And I can appreciate a writer who claims proudly her love for American cheese and pudding box lemon meringue pie, those simple pleasures that not even the food writers of today who espouse the virtues of "nothing fancy" (looking at you Alison Roman) can admit sometimes are just the thing. Essentially, the book was perfectly fine: rent it, take some photos of certain recipes (like I did for the blueberry muffins), but BUY the volumes by Laurie Colwin.

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