Cultural Writing. Essays. Sustainable living. In this follow-up to LETTERS TO THE VALLEY, what pervades David Mas Masumoto's essays is a rooted, proud sense of community, family, and craftsmanship, and tales of toil and triumph over the land that produces the food in our groceries, farmers' markets, and restaurants. When he describes the ecstasy of taste of a remembered peach, he reminds us that some of our most indelible memories are of food and family. "Mas Masumoto's honest and poetic voice informs the reader gently but emphatically about the values we need to create a sustainable society" Alice Waters.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Heirlooms is a beautiful tribute to the "other California," the great central valley. The letters in this book all come from Masumoto's column in The Fresno Bee and demonstrate his love for the valley, his affection for his family, and his connections with his Japanese and farmer roots. I didn't find the letters quite as moving as those in the preceding volume Letters to the Valley, but they were still thought-provoking. My background is very different from Masumoto's; his family came over from Japan a century ago and dealt with internment during World War II, even as one of his uncles fought and died for America in France. However, we have much in common: grandparents who fought with the land and loved the battle, and memories of a quaint valley upbringing that can't be replicated anywhere else in the country. It made me especially happy to see my hometown of Hanford mentioned several times, too. I've been living all over America in the nine years since I left California, and it's comforting to my true home celebrated and acknowledged.Doug Hansen's watercolor illustrations brighten each of Masumoto's letters. I wouldn't mind owning some of his prints. I'm already eagerly anticipating Hansen's children's book Mother Goose in California that is set to come out in April.