Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A tome.


I used to love to bake, to measure ingredients and mix them slowly or quickly depending on their need. To crack eggs and get a little on my fingers, to cut butter into small squares and sift flour making shapes on the worktops where it drifted quietly over the edges of the bowl.  And then I started using a new cookbook and that was the end of that. Ms Lawson drove me mad. Brownies that wouldn't cook, cakes that wouldn't rise, biscuits that spread over the baking sheet, everything too damn sweet. Joy was replaced with frustration, baking became a source of irritation and stress, so I stopped. Until I needed to or desperately wanted to bake and again I would get out The Book, hopefully convincing myself that as everyone else loves her and her buttery goods my failures had been flukes, my next effort would be perfect . No dice.  

I haven't quite been able to bring myself to throw out the damn thing but I will no longer use it.  Smitten Kitchen has become my go-to but I need a book. Something to dust in sugar and flour (Nye gets pissy if I do that to the laptop) with pages to peel apart at the edges where they have become bonded with butter and jam. A book for cakes. (And biscuits and breads and muffins and buns) One that won't fail me. One that will be there, a tome on my bookshelf, filled with deliciousnesses. Fancy deliciousnesses and basic deliciousnesses and comforting deliciousnesses and impressive deliciousnesses. Savoury deliciousnesses and sweet deliciousnesses and yeasty deliciousnesses and chocolatey deliciousnesses.  A book that will show me how to make perfect chocolate chip cookies when that is what I want but will also inspire me to try new cakes I have never heard of (I loved that about Nigella Lawson, when first we met, her cakes sound and look beautiful and interesting; autumn cake, nutella cake, Guinness cake... they just don't bloody work.) A baking bible if you will.  

Do you know of one?