The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan

MasterChef is one of my favorite shows, though it’s not quite as much fun without Joe masterfully deflating overlarge egos.  I have my favorites, and I have the ones whose exits make me cheer.  And so it was in the New Mrs. Eaden Baking Competition.  I liked Jennifer immediately, and just as quickly took a dislike to Karen.  And the sainted Kathleen earned my ire with this remark, written with an implied superior smirk:Baking-Blind_Vaughan

Our American friends may eat cookies, soft plates of dough studded with chocolate, and our young children may find these appealing. But the best biscuits are more delicate.  With an exquisitely curled brandy snap, a piped coffee kiss, a raspberry macaroon or a melting moment, the ordinary housewife can conjure up indulgence, refinement and elegance.

Don’t diss the chocolate chip cookie.  Soft, warm, gooey rounds of chocolate decadence.  While I’ll concede that there is nothing refined or elegant about the humble chocolate chip cookie, it has a wholesomeness not shared by its more exquisite cousins.  How can anyone not appreciate the simplicity and comfort of a plate of chocolate chip goodness fresh from the oven, accompanied by a glass of ice cold milk, or a steaming mug of hot cocoa, is beyond me.  But then, I’m one of those “American friends”.

I wanted to smack James Caruthers when he said:

But you’re lucky.  If things don’t work out quite as you’d like … well, there’s a Plan B, isn’t there?  You’ll always have your baking and your writing to fall back on.

Talk about insensitive.

It took over 25% of the book for us to finally get anything from Mike’s point-of-view, then we only get one whole scene, a couple of scattered paragraphs, and a smattering of sentences.  He was more of a plot device than an actual character, it seemed to me.  A foil for the selfishness of Karen’s hunger (which is ironic), and the healthier alternative, if you will, to the immature, devil-may-care Jay.  I would have liked to see more.

Also, this book needed recipes.  There are excerpts given from Kathleen Eaden’s cookbook, The Art of Baking, wherein she goes into raptures, even waxes poetic at times, about baking, but no where is there included a single recipe.  At the very least, there should have been one for gingerbread.

I enjoyed this book very much, and may have let out an emphatic “Suck that, Nigel!” near the end.

Rating: 4.25 out of 5 stars


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