It is almost impossible to believe that books on yet another cupcake, chocolate chip cookie and Victoria Sponge gets reviews in the tens and hundreds and yet this masterpiece of research, execution, of flavour and finish has escaped through the net. That might be a good thing, as it's a book that is made to be treasured and I jealously guard who I gift it to.
This is the kind of cookbook I gift to a discerning foodie friend, someone who I know will appreciate it's worth. From it's finely designed pages and clean, inviting photography, you are whisked into an eclectic world of filo pastries dripping in syrup, moon cakes with intricate embossing, flaky flatbreads, spiced breads, spiced cakes, rolls and coconut cakes to tempt even the most reluctant. The book highlights 'ethnic' baking, or rather baking that so indigenous to their place of origin that it's rarely seen outside it's borders. Till now.
The writing is evocative but never drippingly sentimental, heartfelt and she paints the landscapes of the recipes she has collected from the world over. Gaitri has a talent as a food historian and if you like to know more about what you are eating from a historical point of view, then this book will charm your mind as well as your palate.
I have delved into this book with gusto. Chocolate Hazelnut Rolls, Krentenwegge, Spiced Cardamom bread, Pan de Queso, Parathas, Coconut Cakes and Breads and much, much more besides have been given a thorough work out and none, NONE have failed. I have also enjoyed a good read through without the intention of baking, but inevitably find myself hurtling towards the kitchen to turn her words into reality. The instructions are clear, precise and true to experience. This isn't a slap dash, all-in-one, bung in the oven sort of job. There is time here to immerse yourself in a bake and it gives majestic results. See the photos.
This is one hefty piece of work, printed on thick paper, with a matte finish and is the kind of work that you will find yourself discovering more of time over time. In short, if the house was burning round my ears and the kids were out, I would grab this book and none else. I might try to hurl her next book Sugar and Spice to my husband through the window as well!
WBHC is a masterpiece. A true collection of the best cookbooks would be woefully incomplete without it's presence.