While the title How to Be a Domestic Goddess
may at first make a modern woman bristle, the book itself is just as likely to inspire the woman who brings home the bacon to start baking cakes. And what's wrong with that? "This isn't a dream," writes British cookery deity Nigella Lawson in her preface. "What's more, it isn't even a nightmare." Lawson--the author of How to Eat
, food editor of British Vogue
, and star of her own TV cooking show, Nigella Bites
--has been suspected of upholding the woman-laboring-in-the-kitchen paradigm, but there are lots of hard-working women out there who derive great satisfaction from cooking, even after a long day at the office. For those women, Lawson, who looks more Elizabeth Hurley than Martha Stewart, is the perfect guide to the wondrous world of baking.
"You know, I'm not a cook-to-impress kind of girl," Lawson says midway through the book, but she must admit there are few things more rewarding than putting a warm homemade pie or fragrant cake on the table--especially after preparing a home-cooked meal. How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking makes just such a reward possible, in fact positively enticing, with its delicious selection of easy-to-make cakes, pies, cookies, breads, even jams, presented in Lawson's chatty, pleasantly glib manner. Turns out, you don't have be a Pierre Hermé to make to-die-for chocolate confections; nor do you have to spend hours "faffing around" with hot pans and jars to have jam at teatime. You just need to try baking once, then again, and next thing you know, you'll be turning out cookies and desserts every chance you get. Many of the recipes are hand-me-downs or adaptations from other sources, be it a favorite cookbook or a restaurant in some far-off region, but all are imbued with Lawson's wit and distinctive touch. Profiteroles, My Way are "monumentally impressively better" than the original, thanks to burnt-sugar custard and toffee sauce. Her Coffee and Walnut Splodge Cookies are "American-style cookies; in other words just dropped onto the baking sheet free-form," and so on.
A sophisticated female alter ego of British mop-top Jamie Oliver, and considerably more sly and comedic than most American gourmets, Nigella is sure to convince more than a few up-and-coming hostesses that baking is indeed women's work. --Rebecca Wright
From Publishers Weekly
Called "England's it girl" by Gourmet magazine, Lawson (How to Eat) brings to America her second cookbook, highly popular in England. Lawson, the food editor for British Vogue, suggests ways to feel like a domestic goddess (rather than undergo the necessary lifestyle changes to become one), taking cooks back to an era of less stress and more simple pleasures. The recipes, written in Lawson's characteristic lively, witty manner, encourage this theme. The Store-Cupboard Chocolate-Orange Cake will please the nose with its rich, intense aroma and indulge the taste buds with its full chocolate and orange flavor. The Coconut Macaroons seem soft and chewy with a concentrated coconut essence (though they may need to bake for slightly longer than the suggested 20 minutes). The chapters cover categories from cakes to pies and from chocolate to Christmas. One chapter includes recipes for kid foods as well as recipes that children can follow. The book is designed to instill confidence and capability, positing that if Nigella can make these delights with ease and in a relaxed manner, so can anyone else, "trailing nutmeggy fumes." The beautiful color photos set the mouth to watering. (Nov.)Forecast: Timed to launch with her television series Nigella Bites on the E! channel and Style networks this fall, this book will bask in the warm, fuzzy and competent glow of Lawson's renown. She'll be a hit in the U.S.; her book will get ample promo and fly off the shelves.
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