I recently acquired a Kindle. I really love it even though I swore I would miss the feel of its printed ancestors. My Kindle will never replace my love for wandering around bookstores and it certainly won't take the place of my growing collection of cookbooks. I had added the flour bakery cookbook to my Amazon wishlist knowing that no one would ever buy it for me, so I'm lucky that I stumbled upon it on my latest bookstore bummel.
This. Book. Rules. For oh so many reasons. First of all, I love the author/baker's backstory. She's Chinese-American, graduated from Harvard with a degree in Applied Mathematics and Economics, did the whole 90's Asian kid thing (ie - had a stable, high-paying job after college) then did the whole new millenium Asian kid thing (ie - pursued what she really wanted because she listened to her parents, got a good job and now has some money to use towards her passion and is equally as successful and double-y as happy than before). A few years apprenticing at some prestigious patisseries and bakeries around the Northeast, now she's the mastermind behind 3 Flour Bakeries in Boston! And she's ran in every Boston Marathon from 1991 to 2006 to boot! She's kind of my hero in every single way.
Reason number two why this book rules: These are classic American recipes done right. They're simple with the right amount of pizazz. She explains the science behind baking which is always fun and jazzes up these American classics with yummy ingredients like creme fraiche, candied ginger and black sesame seeds. How worldly.
Reason number three why this book rules: The recipes are both in cup measurements and weight measurements! I can't even begin to tell you how big of a deal this is to me. Japan is a metric country and weighing food is faster, cleaner and more precise. It makes it easier to divide and multiply recipes. When I buy ingredients, I can read how many grams I get in one package, so I'm sure to get enough. Most American cookbooks don't use metric, so I started buying English cookbooks...which is fine. I've got a lot of great Sticky Toffee Pudding recipes but I'm an American! I want chewy cookies, fluffy frosting and pies! (Pies not filled with meat, mind you.)
Reason number 4 this book rules: It's published by Chronicle, which is one of my favorite publishers. Why? Because they always publish books from people I really like (Tartine, Martin Yan, Chiarello) and their hardbound books lie flat without weights on top of it. MONEY. And they're from San Francisco. West coast bias.
I haven't taken my nose out of this book since I got it over the weekend. I've never even been to Flour Bakery, or Boston for that matter. But I sort of geeked out over the wekend and while I was on their website, I saw a link about the cookbook asking people to email her...so I did! And you know what? She wrote me back! I swear! I mean, at least her PR team did...but it does seem pretty legit:
I'm thrilled you are enjoying the book! And even more thrilled that you use metric- so hard to get people to switch and as you know it's so much easier. I can't wait to hear about your baking- please do keep me posted.
Thank you for your wonderful email!
Real or not, it was cool to get a response and it only inspired me more to actually make one of her recipes. I started with the Oatmeal Raisin cookies tonight and the smell alone was enough to make this book worth it. It's a very simple recipe, but simple is good. I have a ton of other pages marked for the weekend. It's a good thing I started running more because me and my tummy would be in big trouble otherwise. If it isn't obvious, I high recommend this book. It has a lot of great show stoppers, everyday treats and tips you'll love. I promise!