Light Reading for Heavy Times (#1): Kitchen Yarns by Ann Hood

Thursday, July 23rd, 2020

Many of us are reading more, gardening more, eating more, etc. during this strange Twilight Zone time. My reading choices have changed somewhat from mysteries, difficult memoirs of Holocaust survivors, and sad love/family stories to ones that are more uplifting. My real life has enough issues to worry about that I don’t need dark stories. Here is the first one with a lighter touch and a good followup from the book titles in my previous posting.


Kitchen Yarns by wonderful writer Ann Hood consists of essays, or what she calls in the subtitle: Notes on Life, Love, and Food. Going one step further she quotes  M.F.K. Fisher, a well-known food writer, who tells us that food, security, and love are our basic needs. Hood states that these three “are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others.”

Hood goes on to say that when she does write a food essay, “I am really uncovering something deeper in my life —loss, family, confusion, growing up, growing away from what I knew, returning, grief, joy, and, yes, love.”

Her relationship with food peppers all her relationships. Her essays seem to speak to those of us also caught up with a love of food. Hood includes some of her favorite recipes from other cooks as well as her own specialties. Each essay has at least one recipe to enjoy. There is some sadness in her essays, but Hood seems to be able to overcome her sadness and come out making something delicious!

The book is a memoir as well as a cookbook, so you get a double treat!

Kitchen Yarns is published by Norton Publishing with prices ranging from $8.00- $28.00, depending on where you purchase it. It was published in 2019. Enjoyable reading!


Owl Hour: a poem about love, by Barbara Crooker

Thursday, February 15th, 2018

Yesterday I published a review of Barbara Crooker’s book MORE. If you scroll up on the Home Page or Poetry category, it will still be there. This second book, GOLD, is a more tender selection of her poems, many of which are sad but lovely thoughts about love, death and dying, especially her mother’s. The cover is lovely and is perfect for the contents.

I like her poems because they are not esoteric, with lots of hidden meanings that I can’t fathom. Rather, these poems stir my heart and  help me identify some of my own feelings, such as the one below, “Owl Hour,” because, like the author, I remarried later in life. And since I met my husband right before Valentine’s Day, 15 years ago, I picked this as my first poem from this book to post. (I hope to post more in future blogs.) Actually, I think the whole month of February can be devoted to “Heart Matters,” the title on my Home Page.

GOLD is published by Cascade Books, Eugene, Oregon, an imprint of Wipf and Stock publishers ( and costs $11.00 on Amazon. ( The cover is an excerpt of a painting by Klimt, one of my favorite artists.




I don’t know why I get so cold at ten o’clock, but that’s when I’m drawn,

like some sort of nightbird, to our nest upstairs in the flannel sheets,

once the color of pinot noir, now duller, patinaed by the silver

of our skins. I need to pile on the blue blanket, the heavy woolen

one from Ireland, the Broken Star quilt, before I stop

shivering. Sometimes the house itself quivers in the wind.

Then you come up, and we arrange ourselves like a nest

of measuring cups. Some of our friends now sleep alone, half

the set missing. I’ve told you you’re not allowed to die first;

I don’t do numberscheckbook, taxes, bills. My breasts

press into your back; my hand with the numb fingers stretches

over your heart. How lucky we are to have found each other;

what if I hadn’t gone to the party that night? The second time

for both of us; we know how it can all go wrong. Even

when I can’t sleep, I listen to the hoots and calls

of your breathing, which both keeps me awake

and will be the first thing I’ll miss when all the nights

are silent. We know there’ll be an afterwards;

we’re not that young anymore. I turn, and turn again,

the way a dog circles before he lies down. And though

we can’t see them, the stars twirl overhead, each one nested

in the place in space it’s supposed to call home.