Friday, March 12, 2010



by Suzan Colón is available here on Amazon.

I give this book***.

CHERRIES IN WINTER: MY FAMILIES RECIPE FOR HOPE IN HARD TIMES is a delightful read. I picked up this book at the library because I'd seen it listed on another blogger's reading list. It was the title that first caught my attention. I have been craving some fresh cherries, though they are no where to be found at the moment. I'll have to wait till late spring.

I read this book on a Sunday afternoon. It is light and easy and thoughtfully written. CHERRIES IN WINTER is about finding one's inner compass during difficult times. It's about reaching back to find the stories of our families, both the struggles and the triumphant times. But it is also about learning to accept one's situation and make the best of it with a positive attitude.

The author, Suzan Colón, now a contributing writer and editor for O, the Oprah Magazine, suddenly found herself laid off during the economic downturn of 2008 from her six figure dream job at a magazine. Her husband was employed, and she was able to work as a freelance writer, but with significantly less income it was necessary for the couple to cut back on expenses. Cooking from her grandmother's recipes and eating at home was one of Ms. Colón's solutions to living on a tight budget.

The book is laced with humor, such as Suzan's Rigatoni Disoccupati, or the "Pasta of the Unemployed". Her recipe consists of 1/2 lb. pasta and a jar of prepared spaghetti sauce. The various recipes that Colón found in a file among her grandmother's things are interspersed throughout this book. As a young child, Colón spent much time with her grandparents, but it is while cooking these family recipes along side her mother, that she begins to learn the stories of the strength of her grandparents as they struggled through difficult years during the Great Depression.

My parents also struggled through the depression and the frugal times of WW II. Much like Ms. Colón's family, my parents have shared their stories of lean times and sparse means that many suffered during this period in history. I've watched my mother live her life as if she were still dealing with those difficult times. Her mother had taught her that thrift was vital in all things. She lived by the motto: "Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without."

CHERRIES IN WINTER is not a recipe book, but rather a story about three generations of women who find comfort and stability through cooking and the solace that comes from eating good, simple food. It's also the story of how a positive attitude, a sense of humor, and a splurge now and then can make one feel rich, even when there is little money.

One of the clear messages of this book is that cooking and baking provide excellent therapy for dealing with stress. Toward the end of the book when struggles with infertility are revealed, Ms. Colón turns to her Nana's recipe for lemon meringue pie.

Though Suzan ends up pouring a liquid meringue down the sink, she and her husband then settle for a lemon tart. Suzan realizes that she and her husband already share a wonderfully satisfying life together, even without children. She wants for nothing and feels rich.

Imperfections happen in cooking and in our day to day life. It is best to accept things for what they are and move on in life.

My motto has always been:

"When life gives you lemons . . .

make a lemon meringue pie!"

Food for Thought is the delectable blog created by Jain @ Once in a Blue Moon and Food with Style. Be certain to visit these links for more edible book reviews and amazing visual treats.


The summer we married, my husband was in graduate school, and I was employed as a teacher. We took a portion of our savings that summer and purchased a sailboat. We christened our Catalina 22, “Hyacinths For The Soul” after Saadi’s poem. Our "Hyacinths" provided years of pleasure.


  1. Your posts are so entertaining and share so much information! I would enjoy sitting in a cafe, drinking coffee and talking about life with you...but since I teach everyday I am content to read your thoughts on your blog. Isn't technology a glorious invention, who would have believed that we would have such limitless opportunities!

  2. A great review Sarah...
    The book does sound like a good read and the Lemon M. Pie...Oh My!

    Have a delightful weekend,

    xoxo~Kathy @ Sweet Up-North Mornings...

  3. oh i love reading your blog! i have not had time to be online for weeks, but i relish food for thought, you always do such a knock out job! i was thrilled to see this book, i had just added it to my list to my reading last week~

    i love your pics, so much care with details, always delightful to my senses, like your darling apron! love seeing your recipe cards too... and that pie, oh yum, i want to read the book just so i can make my own right now!

    beautiful basket of lemons too, just the kind of visual i crave~

    wonderful review, thank you so much for sharing, the days may be busy and net time non existent, but i will always love food for thought, it feeds my soul!

    oh, and you asked about the chickens, they are a couple of years old...

    can't wait to see what you read next, i really share your same tastes in reading and i love how you present them all!

  4. It sounds like a book I would definitely enjoy!


  6. what a lovely review! i enjoyed reading it and the photos are so pretty! Love the cherries and of course the lemon meringue pie looks sooo good.

    It sounds like a good book to relax over the afternoon with! tq ..ur post was very refreshing. :)

  7. Such a delightful post Sarah. Your props for this book review are perfect (love the apron with cherries). Sounds like a good read. Hope you have a great weekend! laurie

  8. Sarah, this is such a delightful post & I'm so glad you found time to not only read the book but capture the essence of it beautifully.
    The old family recipes are priceless. I have my Mom's handwritten (in pencil) recipe for her sugar cookies. I need to frame it for display.

    I've been sick with a cold & now it DH's birthday & my DGD is sleeping overnight. Too busy this weekend to get a FFT entry completed.
    I certainly enjoyed yours!


  9. "Rigatoni Disoccupati" LOL! I love books with humor, especially when they are about hard times or subjects! LOVE the recipe cards, the apron, the sunlight on the meringue of the pie...thanks for sharing :-)

  10. What a beauftiful post! I loved your review of the book and am definitely going to read it. (I love to read!.) Thank you for stopping by my post and the nice comment.....Michelle

  11. The recipe cards:) And vintage illustrations :)Along with your wise words make this a very heartfelt post.
    I agree that cooking and baking is so therapeutic..if you have a worry.. a concern..or just to get lost and then happy:)
    Pretty photos too.

  12. I truly enjoy reading your posts...They are so heartwarming.
    This book sounds like one I would enjoy. Thank you for sharing it with all of us.

  13. Thank you for sharing this book. Sounds like a perfect read for many.

  14. I could reach right through my computer screen and have a slice of your lemon meringue pie!

  15. Hello Sarah! Enjoyed your book review! We all need uplifting reads like that! Your pie looks quite yummy! Have a wonderful week!


  16. What a great post Sarah! I love that Motto during the depression. Unfortunately this generation didn't learn much from their parents and grand parents. It is more like if you want it get it and if you can't afford it borrow it : ( It sounds like a great book! And that pie looks amazing. I'm especially liking that plate underneath! I think I recognize my new found love courtesy of you!! Have a great week! Sherri : )

  17. I am so intrigued by this book. I love the title and what the book is about. This is just about the most entertaining book review I have ever read. I am for sure chekcing this out.

  18. Sarah- your story weaving through this post is so beautiful and profound. I will have to read this book you so highly recommend. My Nani and Mom were both affected by the depression and the affect that it had on their lives could be seen in thier lifestyles. They were both frugal, content, confident and although they had money, lived modestly and were so generous to others. They were wonderful examples to me.

    I have loved my visit with you! Thank you for recommending this book and your story!

  19. Good Morning Sarah, I just love coming to your blog...Always so uplifting....You have some wonderful pictures today...Love the cherries pic...

  20. I saw this on the Simple Abundance site and thought you might like it:
    "Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow."
    -Melody Beattie

  21. Made me think of my own 'splurge' :when I travel to London I travel around by taxi. I hate the underground (subway) and you miss so much - so thats my luxury....
    Luckily I don't go to London very often ;-)

  22. Another very lovely post. I want to read this. :)

  23. Lovely post ... especially the Lemon Meringue pie! I'd love a piece with my tea this afternoon. Thanks for the nifty book review. Happy belated Pink Saturday ;-)
    Hugs and blessings,

  24. Sarah,
    Thanks for such a lovely post today.
    I love reading about all the wonderful recipes from the past.
    I remember my Grandmother making the most wonderful lemon pies.

    That little book looks like a great read.


  25. What a wonderful premise for a book! I will have to buy a copy, and your lemon meringue pie looks scrumptious!

    Kat :)

  26. Sounds like a good read. Putting it on my library list. Not the best post to read before breakfast...I'm so hungry and all I want is lemon pie!
    Thanks for stopping by to see my coffee table makeover. It does have great legs, that's why I was thinking of a Mary Englebrite paint job. Maybe next time.
    Monday Blessings for a great start to your week ;-)

  27. What a lovely "spot" I've found. I, too, am longing for cherries but it will be awhile before they appear in our midwestern markets. We are fortunate that, when they do appear, we have a large selection living so close to Michigan. I'll be dusting off my cherry recipes in a few months. They and asparagus herald the beginning of spring and summer for me.


  28. Hello Sarah,
    And a big thank you for recommending my book on your beautiful website! What a lovely surprise, and a great way to de-"feh" this rainy Monday.
    If only my lemon meringue pie had turned out as deliciously gorgeous as yours did! Ah, but then again, I wouldn't have gotten a chapter out of the failure ;)
    I'll return to your site again and again for the smile-inducing writing and photos. If you send me your address at, I'd love to gift you with some official (ta-daaa!) "Cherries in Winter" recipe cards.
    Many thanks again for reading my book!
    All the best to you and your visitors,
    Suzan Colón
    Author of "Cherries in Winter"

  29. Hi Sarah,
    Thank you so much for stopping by and entering my giveaway. I always enjoy when you visit!
    What a lovely review. The book sounds wonderful! I always enjoy my stay here. Thank you for posting bout this book,I will for sure check it out.
    Also your pictures are so pretty!

  30. Sarah, I so enjoyed your post. The pics are beautiful and your review of the book moved it to the top of my reading list. Whenever I visit your blog it always makes me smile and today was no different.
    How nice Suzan Colón took the time to visit and comment.
    Thanks for the recommendation and the sheer joy of your post!

  31. Hi Sarah! This book sounds really interesting! Having been raised by parents who went through the depression, I was taught the value of being frugal. I think it is something that stays with you forever. Love having a peek at your family recipes! Happy week!...hugs...Debbie

  32. What a wonderful post..the pictures are so sharp and clear. I love being able to read the old recipes. I have so few of my mom's...
    And yes, I was raised the same way as that is how my parents were.
    It is a hard habit to break...
    Sarah, stop in at the party when you have a minute...very green..:)

  33. Hi Sarah, this sounds like a great book. My aunt made the best lemon meringue pies ever! She also made great biscuits that she would just mix up on the counter didn't even use a bowl. Thanks for helping me to remember a special lady.


  34. Sarah:

    Thanks for the review. This books sounds so timely. I keep hearing reports that things are turning around in this crazy economy, but I've yet to see it. Might have to crack open a page or two of this book.

    - The Tablescaper

  35. Book sounds wonderful! I love lemon meringue Pie! So much! I love those plates where it sits! Thank you for stopping by my blog! I love hearing from you. I started a Tea Time Tuesday to help me follow my dreams. I am so enjoying it, I am still recovering from my surgery and more things to come. But for now I loving it and exhausted by the end of the day. lol But it gives me so much to look forward to!


Thank you to each of you who take the time to leave a comment. I read and appreciate each and every one and will respond to any questions. Your notes are the only way I know who has stopped in for a visit.