Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra is the author of five books: Wrapped, Sugar & Spice, Het Nederlands Bakboek, Warm Bread and Honey Cake and Windmills in my Oven. Two of these have won major awards in the UK and in Holland. Of Indian ancestry, Gaitri was born and brought up in Guyana. She later studied in Canada and Spain and now lives in Holland with her Dutch husband. Her work reflects her colourful multi-cultural background as much as her passion for food and her insatiable curiosity about other cultures. When not researching, writing and travelling, Gaitri enjoys a fairly quiet life in the country, which includes reading, gardening, pottery-making and local affairs of various kinds. Reader participation and contact are welcomed, so do drop by her Facebook page and website to say hello. Facebook gaitri.pagrach.chandra www.gaitripagrachchandra.com
I now own all three of Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra's books that are published in English - this one, Sugar and Spice: Sweets & Treats from Around the World & Warm Bread and Honey Cake. I love her style - they are not just a collection of recipes stuck in a book, instead there is history, memories or just information about each recipe that gives a personal touch to her books. I found acquiring "Windmills in My Oven" quite difficult as I was unprepared to pay the excessive price that it is listed on this site for a secondhand copy, but I'm so glad I finally triumphed as this book is once again a delight. I disagree entirely with the previous review - the whole point of using authentic ingredients is to recreate original Dutch recipes. This is more a history of Dutch baking than a contemporary one. If you want more contemporary books, her other two books are much more modern in both the look of the books and the recipes they contain. A truly fascinating read with the added bonus of delicious recipes!
Even though this is in general a very informative book about Dutch baking, the recipes are not all that successfull. Partly this is the result of the emphasis that is placed on the use of authentic ingredients, for example rye flour, eventhough nowadays and in the past 50 years, Dutch people have tended to use other ingredients, because they taste better! Another criticism is that for most of the biscuits, cakes etc that are mentioned in the main part of the text no recipe is given. Nevertheless, the author does know her subject very well and gives some rather interesting historical insights. It's a shame that the recipes are not always equally good.