A Passion For Baking


A Passion For Baking
By Jo Wheatley
Constable & Robinson – £18.99

Like ye olde adage, there are cookery books and there are cookery books.
Just ask Jamie Oliver.

Some are obviously more inviting than others, by which I mean, some will coax you into cooking – or in this case, baking – more than others. A lot of which depends on the prime information behind the book itself, the layout, the photography, the structure of the recipes, the cookery tips, the ingredients needed, and dare I say it, the actual menus themselves.

As Winner of BBC2’s Great British Bake Off, Jo Wheatley’s A Passion For Baking is more than aptly titled.

It simply drips with an enthusiasm that goes way beyond the norm of most cookery books, as the following quote hopefully shows: ‘’Baking is about memories, old ones and ones yet to be made: a favourite auntie’s bread pudding; a Nan’s apple pie; eating the most amazing croissant with a loved one; madeleines that remind you of the most romantic dinner; a birthday cake shaped like a fort for a special four-year-old… I could go on forever! I’d love to know all your baking memories and hope that A Passion for Baking will bring you lots more.’’

The authoress is absolutely right in that there’s a lot about cooking and baking that is essentially entwined with memories; especially among misty-eyed Italian men of a certain age. For how often have you not heard the winsome grumble: ‘’not like Mama used to make?’’

In some instances, this may be a good thing, as perhaps not all mothers were of a similar persuasion to that of Wheatley – who Nigella Lawson has admitted being ‘a huge fan of.’’ It’s easy to ascertain why.

Along with such sumptuous sections as ‘Family Baking,’ (which includes one of my favourites, the ‘Victoria Sandwich’), ‘Celebration Bakes’ (which goes some way in deciphering the variables behind the making of mincemeat – which I found really handy) and ‘Afternoon Tea’ (‘Mini Mississippi Mud Pies?’). There’s even a section on ‘Baking With Children,’ and if this doesn’t show conscientious foresight, then I don’t know what does: ‘’I think baking with children is such an important thing to do: not only is it a wonderful sharing experience but it’s also an invaluable lesson for the future; it gives independence. An ability to bake is a wonderful skill, one that I’m eternally grateful to my nana and aunties for.’’

Along with the rather reflective tonality of the book (‘’eternally grateful to my nan and aunties for’’), A Passion For Baking depicts exactly what it’s succinct tile suggests.

In other words, with this book in your midst, you won’t ever be lacking for ideas in the baking department.

David Marx


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