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The reviews are coming in for Pot Luck.
The Midwest Book Review offers this assessment of the book:
What makes "Pot Luck: Random Acts of Cooking" stand out is not only the quality of the recipes, the 'kitchen cook friendly' style of organization and presentation, but cookbook author Tinky Weisblat's engaging commentary throughout. Nicely illustrated, the recipes are seasonally organized. Of special note is the inclusion of 'A Musical Coda,’ an elaborate recipe for Turkey Tetrazzini, and two essays: 'Supper Time with Ethel Waters' and 'A Cup of Ambition.' …. With palate pleasing, appetite satisfying dishes ranging from Mardi Gras Jambalaya, Grandpa Jim's Peanut Brittle, and Cinco de Mayo Tortilla Soup, to Sour Cherry Upside Down Cake, Peach and Goat Cheese Salad, and Taffy's Succotash, "Pot Luck: Random Acts of Cooking" is a fun and unreservedly recommended addition to personal and community library cookbook collections.
This is from Emily-Jane Hills Orford’s Reader’s Favorite Five-Star Review:
Tinky Weisblat’s book Pot Luck is a real treasure for all cookbook connoisseurs and cooks and bakers everywhere. The author pays tribute to good wholesome home cooking, always maintaining that the best ingredients are both fresh and grown or produced locally. She has divided her book seasonally, strategically placing the recipes in the sections featuring ingredients of that season, like maple syrup recipes in the winter section. Each recipe is accompanied by a story, a tribute to the recipe itself, its relevance to the title given, and the seasonal section in which it appears. Each recipe is well organized with a clear list of ingredients, quantities, and the procedure for preparing the food.
With musical interludes like intermezzo and coda to identify parts of the seasonal sections, the reader can easily see the connection between music and food, the author's two greatest passions in life. There are some recipes in this collection I’d love to try, particularly the Maple-Baked Feta. As I love both maple syrup and maple sugar as well as feta cheese, these two combined sound quite divine. Photographs of the prepared foods, the source of the food ingredients, and timely food-related advertisements from years gone by add a distinctive educational and entertainment value to the already mouth-watering collection of recipes.
Here is an excerpt from Kirkus Reviews' assessment:
Weisblat’s tone is warm and conversational…. [her] down-to-earth approach is endearing.
And Amazon Hall of Fame Top 100 Reviewer Grady Harp wrote:
Tinky writes in the most conversational manner (this is her fourth book and each are treasures) that she makes us feel as though she has nestled into a comfy chair to chat about her passion, cooking. She fills her book with colorful photographs of the people in her life as well as the delicious recipes for dishes she shares here….. [T]his is not a cookbook per se. This is a sharing time in the kitchen – a wonderfully warm lady speaking to us... Highly recommended as a source of recipes and a source of the joy of living.
Here is a piece that ran in the Greenfield (Massachusetts) Recorder when Pulling Taffy came out. Photographer Paul Franz made me giggle when he took the picture of me with my mother's ashes and a plate of cookies. (There were no ashes IN the cookies!)
Here are some of the fun reviews of Pulling Taffy........
A touching account of a daughter turned caregiver to her dementia-afflicted mother.
Jan Hallett Weisblat—aka Taffy—was a fairly accomplished woman. Born in 1918, Weisblat enjoyed many interesting adventures, including a less-than-cordial meeting with President Calvin Coolidge when she was a child. After she married, Taffy Weisblat traveled extensively, living in India—an experience that prompted her to write and publish a book of poems—before making her foray into the antiques world. Her daughter, author Tinky Weisblat (The Pudding Hollow Cookbook, 2004), portrays Jan “Taffy” Hallett Weisblat as an endearing, vivacious woman. After Taffy was diagnosed as “pleasantly demented,” Weisblat and her brother set out to give Taffy the best care possible, which ultimately led to her living with Weisblat. Weisblat’s firsthand experience provides an excellent, compassionate supplement to books about Alzheimer’s. The well-written diarylike entries offer a cohesion that enables a smooth transition from one entry to the next. The author’s account of her final year with her mother provides a candid look at an emotionally wrenching time that included laughter, tears, cooking, singing and dancing. Also included are recipes of traditional family meals or dishes that simply provided a memorable moment. Recounting her year of caretaking with honest humility, Weisblat created a forum for the author to forgive herself for her perceived shortcomings, and her book may help relieve the pressure for readers who find themselves in similar circumstances.
A poignant, heartfelt memoir that offers support and inspiration.
-- Kirkus Indie Reviews
A self-effacing author pays tribute to her mother who defied convention.... Pulling Taffy is truly an enjoyable read, which made this reviewer smile a lot. Tinky's conversational style and ... humor [are] a welcome counterweight to the strength of her late mother.
-- Brenda Avadian, The Caregiver's Voice
[This] experience might have made for a sad story. But Weisblat, a freelance writer who lives in Hawley, focused instead on the moments of grace, love, acceptance and even humor....
Weisblat’s narrative voice through all of this is conversational, sometimes funny, sometimes sad.... What emerges most strongly is a loving portrait of her mother— and of her father, who died in 1998, as well as other family members.
“In the end, (my mother) taught me a lot about patience and living in the moment,” Weisblat said. “And for that, I’m truly grateful.”
-- Steve Pfarrer, The Amherst Bulletin
Pulling Taffy, by Tinky Weisblat is a lovely little gem of a memoir. It covers one year in the life of a mother who is living with Alzheimer's, and her daughter who is determined that "living" remains the operative word. Make no mistake, these are no ordinary mother and daughter. Jan Weisblat lived an accomplished, interesting and full life most of us would envy. It ended with grace and dignity. If you need something funny, poignant, sometimes sad, but always uplifting, this is the ticket.
-- The Curious Reader
No shrinking violet, the self-described “chanteuse” who often performs with renowned composer and fellow Hawleyite Alice Parker … goes straight to the heart of the matter…. In probably the most challenging part of Weisblat’s life, she nevertheless retained her unsinkable Molly Brown attitude—sometimes through tears—but always returning to sunny-side up somehow. She tells her and her mother’s story with candor, compassion, and humor.
-- Virginia Ray, The Shelburne Falls & West County Independent
And here are a few kind words about my Pudding Hollow Cookbook:
The bottom line is that Weisblat knows just how to convey home and family to anyone, regardless of whether they live in Elizabeth, Clark, Maplewood, Peoria, Ill., or Los Angeles.
Her book, more than anything else, evokes thoughts that transcend things like time, place on earth, age, or even station in life. Weisblat brings us home, to a place of comfort, warmth and love, things that we all need.
-- Maplewood News Record
This is one cute book with some wonderful drawings and paintings, as well as friendly food with a friendly touch.... With illustrations by the late Massachusetts painter Judith Russell, this little book can make a wonderful gift or become a source of peace in anyone's kitchen, especially those in need of a break from today's breakneck pace.
-- The Star Ledger
The straightforward, almost casual instructions will be easy to follow, and Weisblat's generous chapter introductions give a strong sense of a close-knit community whose members continue to be drawn together by a love of good food.
The Pudding Hollow Cookbook has some charming and delicious local recipes in it. Beyond that though, this is one of those cook books we like to read. Tinky paints in recipes and head notes a portrait of her town of Hawley, and the neighboring communities, and the good people who filled them without being sticky-sweetly sentimental either.
-- Food History News