REVIEW: Dishing with the Kitchen Virgin by Susan Reinhardt (5/08)
Dear Mrs. Reinhardt,
I started out thinking this book would be one thing – your attempts at cooking told in a humorous style – and ended up with something much different. Instead we get annecdotes of Southern life that involve cooking or attempted cooking or dodging cooking that do bring to mind the gentle style of humor I remember from Erma Bombeck books.
The chapter titles are funny in and of themselves – “Dude Food,” “When Roadkill Meets Mikasa,” “If Your Kids Like School Lunches You Suck as a Cook,” “My Alcoholic Cat” – but the stories told in them are even funnier. How you strove to stave off labor pains while cooking an Easter meal for the family, the horrible meals single men will make for themselves (I think I’ll skip all those recipes), “Drive-by-Dave’s” sake assisted cashew chicken recipe, shaving collards, your sister’s Holloween tricks, the image of your Aunt Betty in her full length mink coat picking up dinner, your stint on the cafeteria line, and pussafish.
The stories also made me nod and think of my own relatives or similar instances such as cutthroat food arranging at the October church Homecoming, my father’s own ‘single dude’ dinner recipe, memories of 1970s school cafeteria food, realizing just how much it was costing me to try and get that ‘free’ turkey from the grocery store and giving thanks that there are still other women in my family ready to put on the annual Thanksgiving feed. I’ll repeat a “thank you Lord, for my momma” in an effort to hold off on getting that delightful chore for another year.
“Dishing with the Kitchen Virgin” is a funny and fast read that will take some back to their childhood and introduce others to the delights of Southern humor. B
~Jayne – a kitchen wench