As I try out my new format, I've been trying to consider what ties my recent reads together and how to group them for review. This batch was easy, as they all focus on baking (and life).
Set in post-genocide Rwanda, Baking Cakes in Kigali: A Novel by Gaile Parkin is the story of cake baker Angel. Everyone around comes to her for her brightly colored cakes (it's funny that the characters think our traditional white wedding cakes are BORING!) when they have a special event. Parkin tells her story through Angel, she is a natural sounding board for her clients and we get to know the various characters and how their lives have changed since the atrocities. Parkin has the ability to write about horrible subjects with a light hand, making this an accessible book. It is simply a novel, one that happens to be set in Rwanda. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it. Many thanks to Bantam Dell for this review copy.
Confections of a Closet Master Baker: One Woman's Sweet Journey from Unhappy Hollywood Executive to Contented Country Baker is Gesine Bullock-Prado's memoir of how she left the Hollywood rat race (she worked for her sister...get it...Bullock) to open a small bakery in Vermont with her husband. I enjoyed Bullock-Prado's voice, her straight talking, no-nonsense style appealed to me and made for a quick and fun read. While the greatest appeal of this memoir is probably for those who enjoy time spent in the kitchen (there are recipes!) , Bullock-Prado speaks to all who wonder if they dare to follow their dreams. Many thanks to Broadway Books for this review copy.
Fellow blogger, pastry chef, and Paris resident David Lebovitz has written a funny and charming book, The Sweet Life in Paris: Delicious Adventures in the World's Most Glorious - and Perplexing - City, encompassing a few of my favorite subjects - food, cooking it, eating it, shopping for it, and Paris. I've read a number of 'American moves to Paris and is surprised by how different things are there!' books, and had high hopes that this one would cover some new ground. I was happily satisfied. I loved Lebovitz's dry sarcasm and stories of his adventures in Paris, foodish or not. Lebovitz has included recipes at the end of each chapter and I'm looking forward to trying his dulce de leche brownies and chocolate yogurt snack cakes.
These folks are not the only ones who bake cakes! I do too. We have a birthday coming up next week, number 8, and The Girl wanted Molly's lemon yogurt cake. That's my girl. But. Can you imagine if I serve this to a bunch of second graders and they !gasp! didn't eat it and I had to throw it away? I would cry. So we have agreed on cupcakes for friends and lemon cake for the household. Good plan.