Evidently cookbook clubs are a
A rather silly thing. If I know a group of people who all have the SAME cookbook, I’ll borrow it. And then I’ll just check out the dishes they’ve been dishing and maybe shop it a little more…..But every one cooking from the same book, at the same time …. unless they’re planning to cook their way through the book, which has done with assorted classics, books by Julia Child
or by Marcella Hazen
or other assorted sorts who have stood the test of time. But with something new?
So I hereby decree another sort of cook book club – the
Cook Book Club Chair.
I’ll sit in the chair and read the cook book and write about the cook book. Eventually, some one will get hungry and get up and cook, and we can talk about that, too.
Confections of a Closet Master Baker
by Gesine Bullock-Prado. 2009, Broadways Books
1st read – July 2013; re-read Dec 2015
The timing of the first read tells me I bought it 2nd hand at a really great used book store that was next to my most frequently shopped supermarket. The store had great selection and fantastic help and was around for less than a year. Why does Plymouth have such a hard time keeping a book store open????? A lament for another day.
I had to double check the title more than once because my memory kept mangling it :
Confessions of a Closet Baker
Conversations of a Master Baker…..
Close, but no cigar. In subsequent reprinting, it has a new title: My Life From Scratch – not poetic, but easier to remember
Off the top – Bullock is yes, that Bullock – this is Sandra’s younger sister, who is proud to take her Big Sista’s ‘Sandmedowns’ but is also a trained lawyer in her own right. She worked in her sister’s production company, met the man she married (and seems to still married to) and felt wholly out of place in Hollywood.
The Book is not really a cookbook, it’s a memoir with recipes, and an essential run through of her typical workday, so the first chapter is 3 am… and at the end of the chapter there is a recipe for Golden Eggs, one of the confections that was an early hit and has a family story, too. Her website G Bakes! has many of the recipes (and more!) as well as videos.
19 chapters and 17 recipes. (3 am – 6pm from getting ready in the morning to arriving back home again at night)
She actually writes well, and her German opera singer mother, as well as her movie star sister, keep things lively. And the ins and outs of starting a business aren’t exactly dull, either, and the fish out of water aspects…..there’s plenty going on to keep your attention, but with the bakery day as the framework, it’s also pretty focused.
The recipes she shares all have backstories, too.
The recipes often call for food processor, blender and /or stand mixer, and instead of down home and Grandma versions (or in her case Oma versions), they seem like scaled back production versions.
There’s a cheese cake and a cream pie that each have a different kind of cookie crust – one Oreo that I will definitely be trying…especially since Marnie from work made me a chocolate ice cream pie with an Oreo crust for my birthday… because if birthday’s aren’t an excuse to eat ice cream, why bother? and Oreo’s re-imagined as pie crust is GENIUS.
There is also an apple pie where the apple filling is cooked down somewhat, hence no empty dome with skim of apples at the bottom pie later that made me wish it were still October to get really good apple…
Although I thoroughly enjoyed eating – READING – this, I wasn’t sure that I’d actually be making anything from it. Lots of butter and cream, natch, and good doses of spice and sugar and high quality chocolate but…it made me think about the kitchen, but it didn’t get me out of my chair to check and see if I had any this that or the other thing.
There’s probably a reason I do the more folksy brownies/slumps/plain ole cookies then
I have earmarked the apple pie and the cookie crusts.