Kitchen Table Stories
edited by M. Jane Ross

Story Circle Network, 2007. ISBN 978-0-9795329-2-4.
Reviewed by Doris Anne Roop-Benner
Posted on 12/04/2007

Anthologies/Collections; Nonfiction: Food/Cooking/Kitchen; Nonfiction: Memoir

Kitchen Table Stories is a community cookbook, an anthology of sixty-some stories and recipes contributed by nearly 75 women and compiled by the Story Circle Network, a nonprofit organization that encourages women to write about their lives.

What a deliciously attractive way to put together a cookbook! Not only are the recipes calling me to try them, but the stories and poems make the book so personal. In addition, there are tips with the recipes, telling how to make them with as little angst as possible--good for those of us who need literal directions. But there's more: a page of writing prompts is included (for instance, remembering your favorite food and where you first experienced it), so we can all put our own stories and recipes together.

Having been brought up in the city, I love hearing about how others grew up. Many of the stories also gave me insight into other cultures.

There are so many good reasons to read this book. Some of my favorites are: Sally Lunn Bread and the tale of the bread dough eating Irish setter; Carrie's Date Nut Bread and her Grandmother's secret recipe; Linda Wisniewski's pierogi and remembering her ancestry; Grandma Lilly's Molasses Cookies and the Great Depression; and of course, Chocolate Soufflé.

The Story Circle Network has created a unique way of blending family lore with food and giving us something for everyone. This would be an ideal gift for family and friends. Or maybe you could start your own story/recipe collection. It's a great conversation piece.

Kitchen Table Stories is a collection of food stories and poems by members of the Story Circle Network. Each story and poem is accompanied by the beloved, tried and trusted recipe that's behind the tale. This book is a community effort by SCN's members in the Network's tenth anniversary year. It celebrates the stories and the important role that food and cooking plays in our lives. Visit the book website.

Editor M. Jane Ross is a freelance writer and editor based in Austin, Texas. She is a member of the Story Circle board of directors and is editor of the organization's quarterly Journal. Visit her website.

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