Thursday, November 05, 2009

Cherries in Winter by Suzan Colon

Suzan Colon loses her dream job in 2008 as the economy is tanking, and part of her economizing includes learning to cook. She digs out her grandmother's recipe file and finds the sturdy, inexpensive recipes that have seen her family through generations of hard economic times. This slender volume is interspersed with those recipes and stories from Colon's family history. At first, I wondered how I would be able to identify with a woman whose idea of economizing includes skipping the $20 sushi lunches and plucking her own eyebrows instead of paying $40 a week, but Colon is humble and grateful and constantly recognizes that others are much worse off than she is. She also realized that her days at the magazine were numbered as the economic downturn began, so her economizing begins well before she loses her job. The recipes are meat-heavy and old-fashioned and didn't appeal to me, but they tell a good story. The title refers to the exorbitant price Colon's grandmother, Matilda, spent to have cherries in winter, despite the family's financial troubles, referring to the idea that to survive hard times, sometimes you must act rich, even for a moment, by indulging in a small luxury.

This was an inspirational little book, and a fascinating look at generations of women who have suffered through hard times without losing their positive outlook on life.

Source disclosure: I received a bound galley courtesy of Doubleday.

1 comment:

Suzan said...

Hi Allison,
Thanks so much for this great review of my book! I agree: the recipes were a bit meat-heavy (hey, I used to be a vegetarian!), but they're honest. This is the classic American comfort food of my grandparents. But thanks for focusing on the important part--I wanted this to be a combination of Recession therapy as well as comfort food. I'm grateful!
All the best,
Suzan Colon