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Your favorite 'Cake Bible' recipe?

I have made a dozen cakes from this books, each multiple times, and I honestly adore each and every one of them. My very favorite cake in it is the Cordon Rose Cream Cheesecake. But, because that's not the traditional cake you probably mean, my favorite flour-based cake is the Buttermilk Country Cake. Right on the heels of that one are: Chocolate Domingo Cake and Cordon Rose Banana Cake.

Feb 08, 2010
sgardner in Home Cooking

Which Biographies and or profiles?

I just have to add to the list of excellent ones: "Clementine in the Kitchen" by Phineas Beck (aka Samuel Chamberlain), Peter Mayle's "A Year in Provence," Laurie Colwin's two books, "Home Cooking" and "More Home Cooking," and John J. Pullen's super-fun "The Transcendental Boiled Dinner."

Nov 11, 2008
sgardner in Food Media & News

Which Biographies and or profiles?

I see that I am two years too late on this one, but I would have to weigh in and suggest the "Alice B. Toklas Cookbook." I read it a few months ago and was moved by its depth and its story. The parts covering the Second World War in France are chilling in a way that other writing about civilians in war time is not. Even with the descriptions of the War, the book is delightful from start to finish. Toklas is a person I would have liked to have known--good sense of humor, an impeccable sense of propriety but not at all scolding, intelligent, loyal, and loves, loves, loves good food and loves to cook. She did not abide bad food, and I love that.

I have not enjoyed MFK Fisher's books. I love her writing but she is so mean-spirited that I cannot read her work. The Gael Greene book is definitely terrible, and I did not enjoy the Reichl books. Mimi Sheraton's autobiography was very meager in terms what we learn about her--there was no richness to her story--but it was enjoyable enough. I have liked Amanda Hesser's books, though her writing is not outstanding. I liked Linda Ellerbee's "Take Big Bites." She presents herself in a likable way and her story is multifaceted. "Pass the Polenta" by Teresa Lust and Patricia Volk's "Stuffed" were middle-of-the-road selections--not great literature but fine to read. Jacques Pepin's autobiography is delightful, and "My Life in France" by Julia Child and Paul Prud'homme is insightful and a new take on the Grand Dame of Americanized French cooking. "Service Included" by Phoebe Damrosch is interesting for the parts about service at Per Se, but the parts about her personal life were not compelling to me in the least. Anthony Bourdain's books are occasionally irritating, and even infuriating at times, but they are overall entertaining and enlightening.

The Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford books have autobiographical tidbits in each one, and I adore their books. Their travels are so inspiring. What respectful, inquisitive, industrious people they are. I would definitely love to meet those two. Rose Levy Beranbaum also includes autiobiographical information in her books and I find that sets her books apart from others in a great way.

I will read "Stand Facing the Stove" about the creators of the "Joy of Cooking" next. A reader here did not like it, but I read another review that raved about it, so I am curious what I will think about it.

Nov 11, 2008
sgardner in Food Media & News