Wednesday 3 June 2015

The Art of Baking Blind - Sarah Vaughan


There are many reasons to bake: to feed; to create; to impress; to nourish; to define ourselves; and, sometimes, it has to be said, to perfect. But often we bake to fill a hunger that would be better filled by a simple gesture from a dear one. We bake to love and be loved. 

In 1966, Kathleen Eaden, cookbook writer and wife of a supermarket magnate, published The Art of Baking, her guide to nurturing a family by creating the most exquisite pastries, biscuits and cakes. Now, five amateur bakers are competing to become the New Mrs. Eaden. There's Jenny, facing an empty nest now that her family has flown; Claire, who has sacrificed her dreams for her daughter; Mike, trying to parent his two kids after his wife's death; Vicki, who has dropped everything to be at home with her baby boy; and Karen, perfect Karen, who knows what it's like to have nothing and is determined her facade shouldn't slip. 

As unlikely alliances are forged and secrets rise to the surface, making the choicest pastry seems the least of the contestants' problems. For they will learn - as Mrs. Eaden did before them - that while perfection is possible in the kitchen, it's very much harder in life. 

What did I think?

I loved this book and gobbled it up in one day. The book was cleverly set out like a recipe book with sections called Cakes, Biscuits, Bread, Pies & Pastries, Puddings and a Celebratory Tea, to coincide with each section of the baking competition.

I felt like I was living a series of the Great British Bake Off whilst getting to know the contestants and being privy to their innermost thoughts and feelings - why each one is compelled to bake and why they have each entered the competition.

The icing on the cake was the little snippets of Kathleen Eaden's story that were slipped into each chapter.  Kathleen Eaden - the perfect baker that all the contestants aspire to be.  I found myself looking forward to Kathleen's story as I raced through each chapter - as she becomes more of a real person with a less than perfect life underneath the fa├žade of the perfect Kathleen Eaden.  Kathleen's story was heartbreaking at times - will she ever get the family she craves or will a gingerbread family be all that she can create?

A lovely story that will have you reaching for your mixing bowl and favourite baking books.

I received this e-book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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