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Talking with My Mouth Full: Crab Cakes, Bundt Cakes, and Other Kitchen Stories

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  237 Ratings  ·  55 Reviews
"As reassuring as a big bowl of buttery mashed potatoes…a delicious read."
Library Journal

What and how do American families really eat? Bonny Wolf writes about the great regional and family food traditions in this country—birthday cake and dinner party food, hearty American breakfasts and Fourth of July picnic dishes. In Talking with My Mouth Full, she writes stories about
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 2nd 2007 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published October 31st 2006)
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Maura Elizabeth Cunningham
I have no idea where my copy of Talking with My Mouth Full came from—I don’t remember buying or receiving it, but one day I looked at my bookshelf and saw the book sitting there. I needed something on the lighter side to read, and this seemed to fit the bill.

Talking with My Mouth Full is a very charming book. Each chapter is a short (sometimes too short) essay in which Wolf reflects on food, memory, and family, concluding with a few recipes linked to that chapter’s topic. Although she doesn’t go
Jan 08, 2008 Claudia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wolf is a food correspondent for NPR. She visits what are usually denigrated as the backwaters of the food world--state fair fare, bundt cakes, comfort foods, etc.--reminding us why they matter(ed) and ways in which they can be enjoyed today. She finds a lot of fun and memory in middle-class American food experience in essays with recipes attached. I made the German pancake this weekend and though I almost never makes dessert, I dug out my Bundt pan to use shortly. Her joie de vivre is infectiou ...more
Apr 19, 2007 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Food lovers.
Delicious! This book was light, but fun, interesting and informative. I really enjoyed the conversational tone of the author. I especially enjoyed the chapters, "Ode to Toast" and "The Comforts of Food." I now must go dig out my bundt pan and have a go at some of the recipes! If you're a food writing fan, you'll really like this book.
Nan   at
This is a favorite of mine that I reread this month. It reads partly as a cookbook, partly as a regional eating guidebook and fully as a memoir. Wolf looks back through her life by means of the food that was created, shared and discovered with family and friends throughout her life and across the country. Her stories are sweet and funny.

I love the chapter, “Dinner Disasters”. The stories are funny of course, but I also really appreciate when accomplished chefs, foodies, food professionals, etc.
Apr 16, 2010 Maija rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
I probably read too many food memoirs, but this one just didn't stand out for me. She jumped around in time, often not telling a lot of deep stories. At times, it would have been helpful to mention dates/years, as it seemed funny she hadn't had Mexican food before visiting Mexico, so I needed some context as I am sure 20-30 yrs ago this was common.

I guess what was frustrating was that her intention wasn't clear - was this meant to be a memoir or a food history book or what? She tended to list t
Jan 30, 2009 Jessica rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: food, non-fiction
3.5 out of 5 stars
Bonny Wolf works as a food correspondent for NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday. In Talking with My Mouth Full, Wolf shares food memories and stories through a series of essays. It is a charming collection that makes a leisurely read for foodies. Wolf takes us on a nostalgic journey through the United States and its different regional foods. The essays focus more on comfort foods than on haute cuisine you find at upscale restaurants. There are essays about Bundt cakes, Jell-o, popove
Aug 13, 2014 Bess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a delightful food memoir! Bonny Wolf writes in such a way that you can almost taste the love and community that surrounds the food she's writing about. I would definitely recommend for anyone who likes "books about eating" - but I "only" gave it 4 stars, instead of 5, because the book includes recipes and I don't cook....
Mar 27, 2011 Ryan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
My mom's cookbooks - the ones she creates for her children and friends - are a bit like this. Stories of vinegar pie, followed by pie recipes, for example (vinegar pie is a tradition in my family - the story, not so much the recipe)...and lots of stories about my grandmother. Bonny Wolf is from Minneapolis so there were some overlaps with my experience of summers in Minneapolis. Pronto pups, for example, were a summer tradition.

I enjoyed most the chapter on Toast - probably because I agree with
Jun 12, 2012 Elizabeth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was sucked in by this book from the very beginning. I love to read about food and how it is a part of our culture and relationships. This book was also educational in a fun way. I learned the history of the bundt pan among other fun facts. Along with her stories she includes lots of recipes. I have already made her mother's chocolate pistachio cake and it was a big hit with my family. I enjoyed the first 3/4 of the book more, simply because I related to the stories and food more- many are also ...more
Mar 14, 2016 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A book of short food essays with recipes. As with most books like this, some I liked better than others, but really enjoyed the section related to food memories. Also a great essay on Baltimore crab culture. Quick, enjoyable read.
Apr 07, 2009 Elise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I don't get to listen to NPR anymore so I had no idea who Bonny Wolf is. Her book did not inspire me to want to find out. A fun food memoir = Ruth Reichl's book(s). This book was a weird collection of personal memories plus absolutely random paragraphs full of one person's food memory after another, with only tenuous links. Way too many times she lists people by their first names and offers some recipe or food-related information they gave her, and then moves on to another person's anecdote. Not ...more
Jan 30, 2015 Joanna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-on-food
Such a pleasant read! Wolf meanders through her family's food history with a conversational charm that makes you feel like her good friend. She has adventurous tastes and a sensible approach to feeding and entertaining her friends and family. Some of her cookbooks have recipes with a handwritten note, "not worth the trouble." Others show she's not afraid to commit herself to the effort when the results ARE worth the trouble. I flagged many of the recipes included in the book because they all sou ...more
Apr 30, 2008 Barb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I smiled the whole way through this book. Wonderful stories about food from different parts of the US including many from my hometown of Baltimore. This best chapter was on the 59 types of food on a stick from the Minnesota State Fair.
My mother sent this to my older brother with instructions to send it to me and I was to send it to my younger brother. I am going to order copies to send as gifts.
Veronica Jones
I picked this book up for my sister, a cook. Even though I'm not one, I still enjoyed the authors narratives. ( Yes, I usually read books before I give them as gifts as most people would believe I am endorsing the book by gifting it.) It brought back pleasant memories and made me ponder a few issues related to food I never would have otherwise. I am amazed that there are people so very much into food and cooking as this author.
Aug 03, 2010 Joyce rated it really liked it
TWMMF was our book group's recent monthly read. Very light-weight, as you might expect a kitchen story book to be. Nonetheless, very enjoyable to read - I want to be Ms. Wolf's neighbor, not the least to be able to enjoy the fabulous local market she's lucky enough to have nearby!

The book did prompt our group to bring great family "food stories" in addition to the great potluck that we always have for our meetings.
Jun 12, 2011 Alicia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Entertainment Weekly ran an article last fall about the best in food writing and food memoirs. Some were certainly not the best (I found Madhur Jaffrey's Climbing the Mango Trees unreadable), but several have been worthwhile. This particular book is perfectly fine - it's fun to read, has funny anecdotes and personal details, and passes the time well. It's a good summer beach book for people that like food.
Jun 20, 2008 Melissa rated it liked it
Bonnie Wolf's essays were very enjoyable. She's read an interesting life, full of lots and lots of food. It was a lot of fun to read about regional cuisines, touching to read about the place food has had in her life and the life of her family, and of course, there are recipes! In addition to her own food experiences and stories, she incorporates the stories of her NPR listeners and column readers.
Anastasia Tuckness
This book is a collection of essays drawn from the author's appearances on NPR. Each one focuses around a type of food, such as bundt cakes, for which she shares stories from her life and others' lives. The stories are vividly full of details. The recipes also look great, and many are available online. It was just what I was hoping it would be.
Dec 28, 2015 Laura rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2015
Now I like food, it must be said. I like the history of foods and I like personal stories about food. I should have loved this. I didn't. It was too scattered with random interjections and just didn't flow right at all. There are so many better food memoir books out there, this one just isn't worth bothering with.
Mar 26, 2010 Missy rated it liked it
Kitchen stories is an apt name for this book--not heavy or serious like a memoir, but stories of food and the kitchen and how they weave through life. Very comfortable and unpretentious, with assorted recipes added in (the kind you end up scribbling on the back of an envelope or taking a quick picture of with the camera phone.)
Jul 07, 2009 Melissa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: unfinished
There are a lot of recipes, almost all of them chock-full of butter, cream, etc. -- so that's no good for us. Besides that, though, I just didn't like it -- too much about her grandma's recipe book and so forth. I usually enjoy memoirs, but this one felt too personal, if that makes any sense.
Nov 03, 2008 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Got this as an impulse library book, being nearby on the shelf to one I'd set out to take home. I was a bit leery of so many recipes, fearing it'd be a jazzed up cookbook, and nothing more; I liked it so much I might get a copy for myself - the essays are right-on-target, and easy to relate to!
Nov 03, 2008 LaLa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: foodie
Do you know the feeling you get when a friend invites you over to eat and there are warm things in the oven and lovely looking things on the table and quiet music is playing and you tell all your secrets and just sink into the chair and breathe.......

This book is like that.
Feb 14, 2010 Steph rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Light, fun, essays on a wide variety of cooking topics. Bonny Wolf is a food writer for NPR's Weekend Edition. I had never heard of her before, but don't let that stop you. Each essay is loaded with interested food facts and finishes with a recipe or two.
Oct 18, 2007 Gina rated it did not like it
this was a decent read as far as food memoirs go - it's saving grace is that it has some tasty-sounding recipes that i'm looking forward to trying.
Apr 27, 2012 Rebecca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, it was like sitting down with someone going thru their recipe clippings and the stories and memories behind them. Each chapter is its own memoir followed by recipes. And now I want to make a Smith Island Cake.
Aug 31, 2010 Noreen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the essays were a little trite, but a few were really interesting discussions on food culture. I enjoyed her "Minnesota" perspective and can relate to the difficulty of procuring an eel for a "real" bouillabaisse.
Jan 04, 2008 Janet rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cookbooks
This book is great! Each chapter is about a different food group, holiday or food tradition. At the end of each chapter are recipes. It would make a good gift for a friend who likes to read and cook.
Nov 04, 2011 Kella rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Seriously, I'm going to break my bundt pan out after reading this collection of recipes and reflections by DC-based journalist, Bonny Wolf. Thank you, Jenna Leigh, for such a great gift/read.
Jan 11, 2008 Joyce rated it really liked it
If you like cooking essays, I recommend this book. Charming and lighthearted essays with a touch of nostalgia. Each chapter concludes with a few recipes. Everything from bundt cakes to gumbo.
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