"... charming, lighthearted collection of essays. ... Readers will find both her writing and the cooking refreshingly accessible."
-- Publishers Weekly [read full review]
"This collection of essays about the foods that mark special occasions in the average American's home is as reassuring as a big bowl of buttery mashed potatoes. Her belief in the power of food to bind families together and keep generations connected makes this collection of essays a delicious read."
-- Library Journal [read full review]
Most Americans don’t really eat dinners that look like they’ve been cooked by celebrity chefs. More often, home cooks use recipes handed down from great aunts, copied off of smudged recipe cards, or those they get from friends or the newspaper.
In Talking with My Mouth Full, Bonny Wolf, food commentator for NPR's Weekend Edition Sunday, writes about the country's regional and family food traditions-birthday cakes and dinner parties, Jell-O and meatloaf, crabcakes and Bundt cakes. Each chapter has recipes long used by the author, family and friends.
These are stories, however, not just about what people eat, but why: for comfort, nurturance and companionship; to mark the seasons and to celebrate important events; to connect with family and friends and with ancestors they never knew; and, of course, for love.
In his foreword to the book, Scott Turow (a longtime friend), writes:
"Most writing about food somehow fails its potential unlimited audience. It’s haughty, or technical, or arcane. This book has none of those failings--it’s funny (like Bonny Wolf’s paean to Thanksgiving--"pure gluttony with no religious overtones"), practical (look, even recipes!), and fully aware of food’s relentless presence in our lives.
Indeed, I would call Talking with My Mouth Full sneaky-serious, in the sense that it made me reconsider the huge space food claims within our lives. There are meditations here on the clever inventions that have added to the joy of eating and cooking, such as the Bundt pan, or aprons, and on the social history embedded in distinctive foods.
But what is at the heart of this book are the intimate connections that food makes in families, the ...somewhat imperturbable links that have been forged between generations of women who take vital pride in nurturing their husbands and children. Anyone, male or female, in front of a stove joins hands with ancestors going back to Eve."