cover image Mom and Me in the Kitchen: Memories of Our Mothers' Kitchens

Mom and Me in the Kitchen: Memories of Our Mothers' Kitchens

Phyllis Pellman Good. Good Books (, $12.95 paperback (180p) ISBN 978-1-56148-793-6

An assortment of fond kitchen memories from across the country, Good's (Fix-It and Forget-It) volume reads like an extended Mother's Day card. It is an earnest reminder of relationships forged early on and the influences our parents have, but this sentimental look back, with so many different voices in such brief shots, proves unsatisfying. Reminiscences abound of mothers and mealtimes%E2%80%94when "stuffed shells, lasagna, chicken and rice dishes, and homemade tuna casserole made many appearances"%E2%80%94of itinerant childhoods and immigrant flavors. The women discuss everything from birthdays and cooking blunders: a seven-year-old gets a sunshine cake, "three layers with a wonderful custard between the layers" and soft yellow frosting; elsewhere a teenager asked to follow a recipe that called for a clove of garlic adds ground cloves and garlic instead. What Good's book does not provide, however, is significant context for the women's stories, so we never gain a strong enough sense of who they are as individuals. The collection doesn't lack for breadth, but it's sorely lacking in depth; it presents a composite sketch of motherhood that inevitably leaves us wanting more. (May)