Greg Patent, recognizing that many of America's worthiest breads, cakes, and other sweets have disappeared over time, retrieves them in perfected, easy-to-follow form, while also providing a selection of contemporary favorites, in his book Baking in America
. From the first American cookbook, American Cookery
, published in 1776, to and beyond the works of influential American cookbook writers including Eliza Leslie, Amelia Simmons, and Fannie Farmer, the book serves up such temptations as Mrs. Goodfellow's Dover Cake (a fine-grained, rice flour-based pound cake); Cornell White Bread (an exemplary sandwich loaf developed at Cornell University); and Chocolate and Gold Ribbon Cake (a Pillsbury Bake-Off prize winner). Among the newer delights are Ricotta Cheesecake with Blueberry Sauce, Spicy Icebox Oatmeal Crisps, and Rhubarb Raspberry Crunch Bars. Building upon often-sketchy formulas, Patent has seamlessly bridged past and present to produce a unique collection.
The book's organization--chapters cover topics from savory yeast breads and sweet yeast breads and doughnuts to pound cakes, layer cakes, cheesecakes, fruit desserts, and more--gives some idea of the arc of American baking, which has changed as kitchen technology has advanced. (The arrival of yeast-displacing chemical leaveners, for example, made the layer cake possible.) But American bakers have always been avid experimenters, Patent maintains, and have produced singular delights like Jalapeño, Cornmeal, and Cheddar Bread; Golden Pumpkin Loaf; Persimmon Cream Cheese Cupcakes; and, of course, brownies, for which the book gives variations including White Chocolate Chunk. With amusing advice from old cookbooks and other historical asides, profiles of cooking teachers, and useful glossaries of ingredients and equipment, the photo-illustrated book makes the re-creation of our charmingly homey baking past practical for modern cooks. --Arthur Boehm
From Publishers Weekly
In this wonderful collection of baking recipes, Patent (A Is for Apple) takes classics from old American cookbooks and makes them work with modern-day ingredients, encompassing all aspects of baking from Savory Yeast Breads through Pound Cakes to Pies and Tarts. After explaining the ingredients and equipment, he moves on to the recipes, which include timeless treasures of America's baking tradition such as Parker House Rolls, Lindy's Cheesecake and Lady Baltimore Cake. Most recipes have a brief history or description along with full, simply stated instructions that make them suitable for all skill levels. Interspersed are extracts from historical books and pamphlets that add color and create windows into bygone ages. These panels also convey additional information, which, combined with step-by-step pointers at the start of each chapter, enable the cook to produce treats like the subtly flavored Spice Pound Cake or the moist but light Orange Sponge Cake. Some recipes are more modern e.g., Cashew and Golden Raisin Biscotti with White Chocolate Glaze but all have been popular at some point with the American public. By including recipes from so many areas of baking, Patent has produced a volume that will provide a full repertoire for any cook as well as providing superb insight to the traditions and influences that have made American baking so varied and rich.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.