Recipe: Bread and Butter Pickles

Bread and butter pickles

I'm not going to lie, nor do I think that I should feel shame at the confession I'm about to reveal. Mom fed us Velveeta when we were kids - and we liked it.  Who could blame her? The stuff was marketed as a superfood in the 1960s and early '70s. Only later did people begin a collective wonder whether a shelf-stable "cheese food" was a particularly good notion. It's hard to argue against one thing: Velveeta melts … [Read more...]

Recipe: Blueberry Jam Like My Grandpa Charles’

Blueberry jam

"Who are you?" Mike asked me last week.  "What are you talking about?" I replied. He waved his hand over the counter and dozens of jars of canned jams, jellies and preserves. "Have you become your grandmother? You're  canning like a maniac." "No, I am not becoming my grandmother," I sniffed indignantly. "You read the book. This is all about my grandfather."  Until this summer, as an adult, I made jam exactly twice, … [Read more...]

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: Excerpt, Tour Dates and Special Thank You Gift!

Order Your Copy Today

I'm thrilled to offer a sneak peek at my new book, Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good: A Memoir of Food & Love from an American Midwest Family (Viking/Penguin). The book has just gone on sale and this is one of the few places you'll be able to get an excerpt.  In this first chapter, my Irish and Swedish parents from Michigan travel across the U.S. to go work in my uncle's Italian restaurant in San Francisco's Mission … [Read more...]

Recipe: My Uncle Clarence’s Corn Flake Crusted Oven-Fried Chicken


My Uncle Clarence debuted a deep-fried recipe that became so popular in my parents' Italian restaurant in the 1950s that they had to put it on the regular menu. After their restaurant went out of business, Mom adapted it to an “oven-fried” version to capture the same flavors but with an easier and (marginally) healthier variation for home cooks. The key is to lightly glaze the top with some kind of fat over the chicken … [Read more...]

Tickets on Sale for the fabulous ‘Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good’ release party


Viking/Penguin and  Elliott Bay Book Co. are thrilled to announce the official launch party for Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good, by author Kathleen Flinn (that’s me!). Join us August 14th atop the Swedish Cultural Center overlooking Seattle's beautiful Lake Union. Take in sweeping views of the city and mountains, hang out with Seattle’s culinary and literary crowd, enjoy food, music and entertainment of the 50s, 60, and … [Read more...]

Recipe for heat: Chilled soup


Chilled soup carries a stamp of posh. "Oh James, prepare the vichyssoise and the champagne for dinner, will you?" The first time that I can recall having chilled soup was as a impressionable 20-year-old college student at the home of a wealthy older man that I was interviewing for a story in the Chicago Sun-Times. His private chef served a wide, shallow bowl of soup of cucumber and melon. The flavor was so delicate, … [Read more...]

Learn to Cook in My Kitchen – Summer 2014

Kat teaching cooking

Did you read "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School" and wish you were among the volunteers? Well, here's your chance. Come build your kitchen confidence in a rare opportunity to take classes right at my very own kitchen counter. I will be offering a handful of classes this summer that will be videotaped and photographed so that others can be taught the same skills online. The live classes will be limited in class size -- … [Read more...]

Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good

High Resolution Burnt Toast Cover

"I'm Swedish, which makes me sexy, and I'm Irish which makes me want to talk about it." That's the first line from Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good, my third book debuting this summer on August 18.  I'm delighted to report the first official review from Kirkus is overwhelmingly positive, summing the book up as "a warm, quiet poignant treat." You can read the full review here. They also did a bang-up job of summarizing … [Read more...]

How to Write a Book Proposal in Four Weeks

Typewriter with paper scattered - conceptual image

This summer, I'll be teaching a four-week Master Class at the Richard Hugo House. Normally, I focus on food writing but so much of what can be said about food writing and the process of story and book development applies to general non-fiction as well. When trying to sell fiction, the industry expects a completed manuscript. With non-fiction, about 95% of titles are sold via a book proposal. A good proposal is part … [Read more...]

Recipe: Fragrant salmon cakes with avocado basil sauce


If you live in Seattle, it’s nearly required by state law to eat wild salmon during the summer. Lately, I’ve been grilling more than we need in order to use the leftovers for these fragrant salmon cakes that I developed last year when faced with a pile of leftover salmon after a rained-out BBQ.  They’re simple to make and freeze well, and offer a healthy alternative to fish sticks. They’re easily dressed up by a simple … [Read more...]