This is a pleasant collection of short essays, many of which were previously read by the author on NPR. Pinkwater waxes eloquently on his boyhood, his weight, writing and art, teaching writing and art, and loving and living with dogs.
No surprise here, but my favorite essays involved food and memories of great meals shared.
Here Pinkwater talks about an eatery from his youth:
"Grease was the motif at Fred's. Instantly I would enter the place, a fine mist of grease suspended in the air would adhere to my eyeglasses--diffracting the light--so I always remember Fred's as a pointillist painting."
And here is the story of a trip he and his father made to a Jewish restaurant in Warsaw, where they were served an eight-course meal:
"First there was scalding hot chicken soup--minimum fifty percent fat. Delicious."
"Chopped liver, glistening with schmaltz. My father inhaled it."
"Third was some kind of herring. I dropped out after that. I knew another bite would kill me. Roast chickens followed. Carps' heads, jellied calves' feet, stuff I'd never seen before. The two old guys worked steadily. They took on more cholesterol than the average Greenland Eskimo gets in a month. They both lived through it. Afterward, my father and I were in the street. He was chewing a toothpick. "Dat vas good Jewish cooking," he said. 'Don't tell your mudder ve vent here.'"
I'd rate most of the essays between 3 and 4 stars, but because Pinkwater makes me want to pinch his cheeks (all four of them!), I'll award him the higher score.