Messy Baker, The Paperback – 16 Sep 2014
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About the Author
Charmian Christie is the author of the food blog TheMessyBaker.com. Her writing has been featured in publications like Natural Health, Relish, More, Edible Toronto, and the Globe and Mail, and she is a founding team member of Taste Canada, the Food Writing Awards.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The aforementioned quote is the introduction to The Messy Baker by Charmian Christie, which is a warm and touching tribute to her mother, the ‘Kitchen God’ in Charmian’s eyes as a child. Charmian further shares, “Never trust a person with a clean kitchen. Baking is a messy art….it means she’s baking….creating…..Be messy with me.” Now begins the journey turning ‘baking messy’ into something good and tasty.
There are the lists of essential items needed as most cookbooks have, and the “I’m-a-baker-and-I’ve-earned-it-items, which includes a stand mixer and candy thermometer. If you are willing to roll up your sleeves and let the flour and sugar fly, you are ready for this baker’s cookbook.
What I like in a cookbook is section titles and how creative they are. The sections in Messy Baker are Pastry, Flaky, Crumbly, Dippable, Sloppy, Smudgy, Gritty, and Drippy. Each recipe has two or three sentences explaining what your baking experience should be, giving it a personal feel and touch.
A few recipes I believe worth the messiness are Lime-Cilantro Dipping Sauce, Spinach and Dill Pockets, Fig and Apricot Newtons, Balsamic Roasted Strawberries, Smoked Paprika Corn Fritters, and Dill Zucchini Fritters with Lemon Tzatziki.
Charmian Christie delivers her recipes in a relaxed and humorous fashion. I recommend this cookbook to the true baker at heart, who does not mind a messy kitchen. This would also be a great gift to a happy chef with baker’s hands.
I received this book free from Rodale Books through the Net Galley Review Program for an honest and unbiased opinion.
I love the tone of the book and I am wowed by the recipes including all of these I have marked for making:
Mushroom, Leek and Gruyere Tart, Moroccan Lamb (or Beef) Bundles, Cherry and Lemon Macaroon Meringues, Basil and Aged Cheddar Scones, Herb, Olive and Parmesan Biscotti, Rosemary and Black Olive Grissini, Smoky Mushroom Crepes, Chicken, Corn and Cilantro Empanadas, Bacon, Cheddar and Thyme Waffles, Peppery Pear and Smoked Gouda Dutch Baby, Dill Zucchini Fritters with Lemon Tzatziki, Orange Walnut Blondies with Maple Caramel Sauce, Burnt Caramel and Sea Salt Sticky Buns, Many Seed Lavash Bread, Rosemary Apricot and Pistachio Crisps, Citrus Topped Poppy Seed Bars, a chapter on sauces and caramels.
This is not your red velvet cupcake and basic baking book but it is not complex and difficult either. If you are looking to jazz up your savory and sweet baking - this is the book for you. It was off my radar until a couple weeks ago when Amazon recommended it -and I'm really glad it did. Rodale provided me with a copy of this book - but the bakers on my Christmas list will be getting a copy from me.
But this book is so much more than the cover would indicate. Charmian Christi's The Messy Baker includes savories as well. Think Leek and Gruyere Tarts, Sweet Potato Filled Samosas, as well as Raspberry-Stuffed French Toast, that is simply divine. You want divine? This book contains over 75 sweet and savory recipes, each one of them begging to be tried. While I do not move my lips when I read, I do tend to talk to myself, a lot, and believe me, there was a lot of exclaiming going on while reading this book, not to mention note taking, and ingredient buying.
Informative, conversational in tone, and perfect for the experienced and novice baker alike, it is unique in that is it sectioned by description, read: Pastry, Flaky, Crumbly, Dippable, Sloppy, Smudgy, Gritty, and Drippy. I tend to crave pastries, so I liked that I could turn to this section and find exactly what I wanted. An added plus is the comprehensive list of substitutions at the end, worthy of the price of the book alone. Flour-covered thumbs up for this one.
Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review via Rodale Inc./Netgalley.