Wednesday, November 10, 2010

It Weighs Eight Pounds

bon appétit’s Desserts, that is.

Yesterday afternoon, Barbara Fairchild, bon appétit’s editor-in-chief, stopped at Grand Central Bakery in Seattle on the Desserts book tour. Those in attendance were treated to several of the tome’s recipes, whipped up by Grand Central’s bakers, prior to the start of the presentation.

After tasting the goodies (I was in cookie heaven – classic chocolate chip (p. 530) and caramel (p. 547), as well as sipping some sparkling wine, Barbara treated the packed
room to everything from her favorite recipe in the book (the pumpkin cheesecake with marshmallow-sour cream topping and gingersnap crust, p. 188-89) to one of her essential baking utensils (a big Sears mixing bowl bought many years ago) to tips on how to break into all aspects of the food industry – since she’s done just about everything during her extensive run with the magazine.

Barbara’s hope for Desserts is that it becomes the go-to baking book for every baker. At a whopping 686 pages (including extensive indices), one cannot imagine needing any other baking reference source.  “The cookbook for all things sweet and wonderful" has tips on how to stock a dessert pantry,
as well as a basic techniques section to get the uninitiated … well … initiated. Jam-packed with gorgeous photos, the recipes are rated on a whisk scale: one whisk is easiest through four whisks - when one should be prepared for a baking extravaganza.

While Barbara graciously signed many, many books, those of us waiting in line started discussing the book, our own baking histories, and the current general state of cooking magazines. Personally, I am a Joy of Cooking gal – I own only five cook books (six now), so Joy is my go-to cooking and baking bible. In fact, once I had an opportunity to sit down with Desserts, I immediately looked
for a recipe I've been making the last few Thanksgivings from Joy. It’s in Desserts, so I expect the baking comparisons to begin.

Stay tuned. And happy baking - all eight pounds worth.  

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