Agate Publishing sent me a copy of Baking Basics and Beyond¹ by Pat Sinclair to review for the Home Ec 101 community. As with most households, mine is currently in the midst of a busy season. The book has been sitting on my center island waiting for me to make the time to read it and report back to you.
While some may disagree, I believe cooking and baking are crafts. Yes, some people seem to posses an innate ability that elevates them to the level of an artist, but anyone with practice can become competent in the kitchen. Baking Basics and Beyond is a useful introduction to basic skills, concepts, and recipes.
The photography of Baking Basics and Beyond caught the attention of my eight year old son, who is extremely eager to learn to cook. He’s always creating “recipes” mostly ones that involve the interesting plating of random ingredients, but hey, he’s eight. He is completely enamored with the cookbook and has been carrying it around announcing all of the things he plans on making.
On Valentine’s Day he came up to my office and announced that he was going to make muffins as his Valentine’s Day present to me. All too often I put off these projects as I may or may not completely dread cleaning up a kitchen destroyed by the kids. Due to the sweetness of his request, I bit back the no thank you and said, that it was a wonderful idea and told him he should come upstairs with any questions.
He made a batch of the Everyday Blueberry Muffins without a single question.
Later in the week he made the Chocolate Swirl Coffee Cake completely on his own.
He has performed the cookbook review. If a book is attractive enough for a child, if the recipes are written in such a way that the directions are so concise and clear that an eight-year-old, novice baker can have a successful experience, then that book belongs on the shelf in the kitchen.
Enjoy, I’ve got some New Orleans Bread Pudding with Bananas Foster Sauce to make, as soon as I get through my inbox.