Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good {ThrowBack Book Review}

“I don’t have to tell you that I love you. I fed you pancakes.”
I know, I know, I said burnt toast made me sing…and it did!

Author Kathleen Flinn returns to the literary scene with her new memoir “Burnt Toast makes you Sing Good: A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family”
This memoir is as mouth-watering and finger licking, as it is heartwarming and funny. This book will make you laugh, and it will make you cry, but most importantly it will give you courage to fight any obstacles in your life.
I couldn’t put this book down, it was like a walking down memory lane….from my first slice of pizza to my first TV dinner. Although, I am an island girl at heart, I can definitely identify with many of the characters throughout the various stages of my own life. I was left with a deeper appreciation for the trials and tribulation my own family went through leaving the islands to move to New Jersey.  
This author wrote in such a way that you felt like you were given first row seats to the life of this Midwest family, allowing you to watch the trial and the tribulation of three generations. Each generation’s story was more inspiring than the generation before them, each showing love for one another through food and cooking.
Every chapter in this book made me just want to run to the kitchen and put my chef’s hat on. Although I couldn’t make every single recipe in this book, I couldn’t give you a book review without trying one recipe and I couldn’t decide on which one and so I tried three recipes from this book. The first recipe “Morels Sautéed in Butter” and the “Cinnamon Rolls” with the “Cream Cheese Frosting” and I felt as special…as the characters in the book …my taste buds definitely had a love affair with the cinnamon rolls…delicious.

However it was Uncle Clarence’s Corn Flake Crusted Oven-Fried Chicken that stole the show. I absolutely love this book, it’s like comfort food on a cold winter night, and “Burnt Toast makes you Sing Good:  A Memoir of Food and Love from an American Midwest Family” made its debut on August 14, 2014. If  you were in the Seattle area then you probably attended the release party at the Swedish Culture Center. I guarantee you…. the only problem you will have with this book is deciding to keep it in your kitchen or on the bookshelf in the living room. If burnt toast does not make you sing Good…it will definitely make you sing with joy and laughter… even if you’re a little off-key. So get your kicks on Route 66 and buy this memoir today. And while you’re getting your kicks on Route 66….why don’t you try this amazing recipe.

Excerpted from: Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Love and Food from an American Midwest Family (Viking/Penguin 2014)


6 tablespoons (90g) margarine or butter, melted
About 11/2 cups (375ml) buttermilk
11/2 cups (200 g) all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons (10g) coarse salt
1 teaspoon (5g) ground black pepper
1 cup (125 g) crushed corn flakes
1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml) poultry seasoning, or dried thyme and/or sage
3 ½ lb. chicken, cut into 8 to 10 pieces (about 1.5kg)
1 tablespoon (8g) paprika, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 375˚F/190˚C. Using about 2 tablespoons (30ml) of the margarine, coat the bottom of a roasting pan or a baking dish large enough to hold the chicken pieces in one layer without touching.
Place the buttermilk in a shallow bowl or dish. In another bowl, mix the flour, salt, pepper, corn flakes, and poultry seasoning. Dip each chicken piece into the buttermilk. Shake off excess and roll in the flour mixture to coat. Place the chicken pieces in the prepared roasting pan, skin side up.

Drizzle the rest of the margarine evenly over the chicken. Dust the chicken liberally with paprika. Put the roasting pan on the middle rack of the oven, uncovered. Bake for about an hour, until the chicken is golden and cooked through. (Small pieces may be done at 45 minutes, so check.) To confirm, push an instant-read thermometer into a meaty section; it should register at least 165˚F (74˚C). Serve warm. Leftovers reheat nicely in a toaster oven.

Note: If you don’t have buttermilk, you can make your own by adding a tablespoon (15ml) white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup (240ml) milk and let it sit for about five minutes.

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