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How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking Paperback – August 24, 2005

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How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking + Nigella Express: 130 Recipes for Good Food, Fast + Nigella Bites: From Family Meals to Elegant Dinners -- Easy, Delectable Recipes For Any Occasion
Price for all three: $60.79

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Editorial Reviews Review

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 --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; Reprint edition (January 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786886811
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786886814
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 1 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (166 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Nigella Lawson is the British bestselling author of Nigella Express: Good Food Fast, Feast: Food to Celebrate Life, Forever Summer, Nigella Bites, How to Be a Domestic Goddess, and How to Eat, which have sold in excess of 5 million copies worldwide. Her 2005 book Feast: Food to Celebrate Life inspired 'Nigella Feasts,' which debuted on Food Network in fall 2006. The Domestic Goddess is back in her second Food Network series, 'Nigella Express,' launched in fall 2007 in conjunction with the release of Nigella Express. American audiences also know Nigella as host of 'Forever Summer with Nigella,' her popular cooking/lifestyle series that aired on style, and 'Nigella Bites,' which aired on E! Entertainment Television and style. In July 2003, Nigella launched Nigella Lawson's Living Kitchen, a range of kitchen items designed in collaboration with Sebastian Conran, to widespread acclaim in the U.S.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

224 of 231 people found the following review helpful By An honest cook on September 27, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Boy, is this book confusing. As many have stated in reviews of the hardback version, the ingredients amounts are off, sometimes waaaay off. I was hoping these errors would have been corrected in this new 2005 paperback version -- but no.

Just out of curiosity after receiving the book, I went to Nigella's official website and looked at three of the recipes from this book reprinted on the site. When you click on the American equivalent the ingredient amounts shown there differ -- sometimes dramatically enough to guarantee disaster -- from the printed book (U.S. version) in all three recipes. For instance, the Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes: in the printed version before me it calls for 1/2 cup sugar; on the website: 3/4 cup of sugar (no wonder a previous reviewer complained they weren't sweet enough). In the book: 1 cup "self-rising cake flour" (an item that American bakers don't even use -- and this item crops up everywhere in the book!); on the website: 1 cup all-purpose flour + 1 tsp baking powder + 1/4 tsp baking soda. For the icing the book calls for 1/3 cup + 1 TB heavy cream; the website: 1/2 cup.

But the scariest discrepancy is in the recipe for Coconut Macaroons. The book: 1/3 cup sugar; website: 1/2 cup. Book: 2 TB ground almonds; website: 1/3 cup. But here's the kicker: Book: 1 cup + 2 TB shredded coconut; website: 3 1/3 cups! That's not even close! Needless to say I now have very little confidence in these recipes.

So. Three stars because I like Nigella and her writing, and because the book is very handsome. But I'm returning my copy and ordering the UK version -- I'd rather deal with metric conversions than these appalling mistakes.
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89 of 93 people found the following review helpful By LBB on November 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover
While the author's first book, How To Eat, gave an overview of the entire cooking process with some desserts thrown in, How to be a Domestic Goddess focuses entirely on baking. Being a domestic goddess she says, (and I paraphrase) is returning to a basic love for cooking minus the hassles of daily life.
Lawson's trademarks are evident here with her conversational style and easy to follow recipes - (you must try the dense (fallen)chocolate cake: it is superb). Aside from the usual baking sections, there is a chapter devoted to recipes that children will have fun helping out with as well as a holidays section.
This book is hardback and printed on beautiful glossy paper. The photos are well-lighted and look so real that they jump off the page and will make you rush to your kitchen. This is definitely a better and more focused book than How To Eat (but then again, I prefer to bake!).
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84 of 89 people found the following review helpful By Abby Nardo on January 13, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I heard about Nigella from English relatives last summer. Then I caught her show on the Style Network. She's a great cook, beautiful, and she truly does flirt all the way through. It's all done with a bit of kitsch, so it's OK in my book. I ordered my copy of this book from, so the version I have has English measurements and ingredients, so be warned that that's the version I'm reviewing.
Nigella is first and foremost a brilliant writer. Even if you aren't planning on cooking anything at all from this book, it's enjoyable to have, as the prose is a pleasure to read, and the photography is beautiful.
Here in the US, we have this view of English cookery as being bland, boring, and not worth our time. Nigella will quickly put those views to rest. She is, like me, an avid cookbook junky, and she always cites her sources, so you're getting recipes filtered through Nigella from sources all over the place.
I have this book on my coffee table, and my husband and I are both always leafing through it. The Nigella recipes I've tried have always worked out, and I've been able to choose with confidence, since each recipe is described in painstaking detail. You know what to expect. And you often have a photo to check out, too.
Most recipes are intended to be easier than the resulting dish would have eaters believe. So, less work, more praise. Hell, maybe she is overcompensating for something else in her cooking, but more power to her. We're the better for it. She does it knowingly with beautiful irony, especially in the title.
Love Nigella. She's going to take on the world.
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49 of 50 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I was unfamiliar with Nigella Lawson but thought the recipes in this book looked extraordinarily good. I bought the book (American version) and tried making the Blackberry Galette. While making the crust, I thought there was way too much fat and water in proportion to the flour and cornmeal called for, and sure enough, when baked the crust dissolved into mush - really quite tasty mush, though. Knowing that the European practice is to weigh dry ingredients rather than use volumetric measure, I got on and ordered the British version of the book. A week later I repeated the recipe, and sure enough, the American version had underestimated the flour and cornmeal by about fifty percent, at least the way I measure dry ingredients. This time the recipe came out as advertised. I'm wondering if anyone actually tested the American versions of the recipes, or if they were translated directly from the British version using standard conversions. At this point I would give the British version 5 stars, and the American version 4 stars.
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