**ARC provided by the publisher for review**
Save your fork, there’s pie!
Louise Miller’s City Baker’s Guide satisfies like the best apple pie – sweet and a little spicy, but not cloying. It’s about creating family where you find it and finding your place in the world. Oh, stop rolling your eyes. While that might sound schmaltzy, City Baker’s Guide strikes the right balance, never veering off into oversentimentality. If there’s just more book to squeeze in on your summer TBR list, it’s this one.
Olivia Rawlings is a legit baker (ahem, pastry chef), a culinary institute grad with 15 years under her belt. Although baking is about precision and detail, her life is somewhat in chaos. She’s behind on her rent and sleeping with an older married guy and doesn’t seem to have much guilt about it. And then, one night a flaming baked Alaska sets fire to her career in Boston and she runs off to her bestie in Guthrie, Vermont. All this in the first chapter – I love a book that throws you right into the action.
Guthrie is full of characters who all know each other’s business, and it wasn’t long until I started casting the movie in my head. Mae Whitman or America Ferrara as Olivia, one the dudes from the Avett Brothers, or Taylor Kitsch as Martin. Allison Janney as Jane White? Make it happen, Hollywood. Make.It.Happen.
While there’s only a touch of romance here, there is full-on food porn. From the apple pie Olivia has to make on the spot at a job interview and all the way through, she is baking breads and muffins, creating amazing desserts for guests at the Sugar Maple Inn and pulling out her secret weapon cookies for the town bake sale. City Baker’s Guide is a dessert-lovers dream when it comes to sweets – all described in deliciously vivid (and accurate) detail.
“I measured the almond paste, sugar and cocoa powder into the bowl of the stand mixer and set it in motion. The mixture began to make a swish-swish sound like maracas being shaken. The inside of the bowl sparkled like a black sand beach as the tide went out, the almond paste perfectly cut by the sugar and cocoa. After adding egg whites that had been whisked together with instant espresso powder and a drop of rum, I stopped the mixer, pinched off a piece of raw dough, and popped it in my mouth – the mixture melted on my tongue. All right, Guthrie bakers. Bring it on.”
While I’m nowhere near the baker Olivia is, I might just have to try a pie once apples start coming in. There’s even a recipe included in the book. In the meantime, black bottom from the Joy of Cooking will have to do. City Baker’s Guide comes out August 9.