When Suzan Colón was laid off from her dream job at a national magazine, she needed to cut her budget, and fast. That meant dusting off her grandmother Matilda’s old recipe folder and learning how to cook cheaply and simply. But Suzan found more than just amazing recipes—she found a new appreciation for the strong women in her family and the key to their survival through hard times.
Full of heart, Cherries in Winter is an irresistible gem of a book. It makes you want to cook, it makes you want to know your own family's stories, and, above all, it makes you feel rich no matter what.
Excerpted from Cherries in Winter by Suzan Colon. Copyright © 2010 by Suzan Colón. Excerpted by permission of Anchor, a division of Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Suzan Colón has written for O, the Oprah Magazine, Marie Claire, Harper's Bazaar, Jane, Rolling Stone, and other magazines. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, Nathan.
“Delicious. Delectable. Truthful, funny and poignant. . . . A treat to share with those you love.” —Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Big Stone Gap
“Perfectly in sync with today’s tough times. . . . Cherries illustrates the difference between broke and poor, using recipes—simple, sturdy, inexpensive—as well as family wisdom to show that when poverty looms, your best weapon may be a well-nourished soul.” —People
“Colón’s warm, poignant, honest voice and down-home, mouth-watering recipes make me want to go over to her house for dinner immediately.” —Kate Christensen, author of PEN-Faulkner award-winning The Great Man
"I love this book. . . . One of the best reads I’ve had all year.” —Julie Morgenstern, bestselling author of Shed Your Stuff Change Your Life
1. Do you remember your grandmother, mother, or another family member cooking for you? What was that person's signature dish? Is there one meal or dish that has been passed down through the generations in your family?
2. Suzan has strong emotional connections to food. What foods bring back pivotal moments in your life?
3. Suzan's family has a motto that describes how they get through difficult times—"Put up soup." Do you or your family have a similar motto? If so, does that saying have a different resonance for you today than it did when you were growing up?
4. How has your family handle adversity? What did that experience teach you about dealing with challenging issues and times?
5. What examples in the book show that good things can come from tough times? Have you found this to be true?
6. There are a lot of emotions tangled up in money. For example, do you think Matilde, Suzan's great-great-grandmother, was being irresponsible when she spent her family's food money on vases, or do you feel that sometimes it's okay to splurge on something meaningful, even if it means going without for a while? How does this relate to America's credit card crisis?
7. What foods traditionally served in your family help you trace your origins?
8. In what way do you pass your family's stories down to your children and grandchildren? Do you have photo albums, recipe books, or a written history? If you pass the stories down orally, would you want to tape record them or be videotaped so that your family's history could be preserved for future generations?
9. There are plenty of songs written about overcoming adversity. If Suzan's life and Cherries in Winter were to have a soundtrack—what songs would be appropriate to add to its track list?
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