Secrets of a Hutterite Kitchen: Unveiling the Rituals, Traditions, and Food of the Hutterite Culture

Mary-Ann Kirkby. Penguin Canada, $28 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-14-3184-78-2
In an effort to reclaim her culture and discover what life would have been like had she not left her Hutterite colony as a child, Kirkby (I Am Hutterite) went back. For more than two years she visited colonies, listening to storytellers, baking pastries, getting her hair done in the traditional manner and taking notes. The result is a beautifully told account of the inner workings of the Hutterite world. Kirkby's outsider/insider status means she can portray her subjects with the sensitivity and understanding of one of their own, yet with the curiosity and questioning of a stranger. The unpretentious writing is a canvas for wonderfully real characters who present their lives in such an honest, gritty, charming way that readers are immediately drawn into the community kitchen, the kindergarten and the goose barn. It's a women's world, but the women are not feministic – their power is their femininity. All manner of Old World, Eastern European goodies, and even some more modern treats like Rice Krispy Squares, are churned out three times a day by the head cook and her assistants. With numerous recipes and photographs, this is an unforgettable visit with one of Canada's most obscure peoples. Agent: Rick Broadhead & Associates. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 06/02/2014
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