In this warm collection of personal essays and recipes, best-selling author Ann Hood “connects food with memory in delicious ways” (Jane Ciabattari, BBC).
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.
In this moving collection of essays, Hood (The Knitting Circle), now in her 60s, looks back on her life through the lens of her love of food and cooking. Hood grew up in Providence, R.I., in an Italian-American family that loved food, with her grandmother doing the cooking. Hood's father, who was in the Navy, loved to cook but his rather pedestrian repertoire ranged from runny mashed potatoes to lopsided cake; her mother, who worked for a time in a candy factory, was more adept in the kitchen, making elegant "fancy lady" sandwiches and pies (her lemon meringue pie and meatball recipes are among the many included here). The essays reference major life events, revealing how preparing food helped Hood deal with the death of her older brother and the death of her five-year-old daughter from virulent form of strep ("Now I was cooking to keep from losing my mind from grief," she says while making pork roast with garlic). Cooking also inspired such happy memories as baking with her children or preparing meals for friends. Hood covers her teens as a department store Jordan Marsh girl, her early adulthood as a TWA flight attendant, motherhood, and her recent marriage to food writer Michael Ruhlman. Hood's sharp essays emphasize food as emotional nourishment, bringing family and friends together both to celebrate the joys and to heal the wounds of life.