New Writing Classes: Seattle and San Diego

Kat and Damon at Adventures by the Book

Heads up on two Hungry for Words writing courses coming up in September and early October. Seattle - Sept. 21: Voice & Story First,  I'll be doing a four-hour writing class this Sunday that will debut a new area that I'm teaching. Arguably the hardest part of writing is 1) finding the right story and 2) finding your voice. This class is an introduction to research that I've been doing the past year to help all … [Read more...]

Knife Skills – The Basics [video lesson]

knife anatomy

I've interviewed dozens of home cooks and hands down (pun intended), the most valuable thing a home cook can do is to get a decent chef's knife and learn how to use it. Below, you'll find a quick video lesson. After that, you'll find basics on buying and caring for a chef's knife. A good knife is a worthwhile investment. If you buy a quality one and take care of it, you will have it for a lifetime and will easily pay … [Read more...]

Vinaigrette Basics [video lesson]

Balsamic vinaigrette

Do you have so many bottles of vinaigrette in your fridge that when you open the door it sounds like wind chimes? Vinaigrette is one of the first things that any home cook should master for a couple of reasons. One, it's expensive to buy and tends to be loaded with ingredients. I did a survey of eight popular brands of "Italian-style" vinaigrette. They averaged 17 ingredients. The basic recipe below has six.  Most people … [Read more...]

Recipe: Flint-Style Coney Islands


I don't care of if I have a fancy French culinary degree. I'll stand on top of a mountain top if need be and shout it. I LOVE A GOOD CONEY DOG! Yes! That involves a hot dog. Possibly non-grass fed beef. White bread buns. I'll say it loud and proud, for all the world to hear, as my heritage demands it. Despite the name, by all rights credit for this dish must be directed to immigrants who arrived in Michigan in the early … [Read more...]

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...]