- Hardcover: 448 pages
- Publisher: Random House Canada (Oct. 29 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679312749
- ISBN-13: 978-0679312741
- Product Dimensions: 24.9 x 3.4 x 28.7 cm
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 Kg
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #586,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
HomeBaking: The Artful Mix of Flour and Tradition Around the World Hardcover – Oct 29 2003
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In HomeBaking, Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid take the reader on a world tour of the remarkable daily custom of transforming flour and water into food. The authors previously won accolades for Hot Sour Salty Sweet and its culinary tour of southeast Asia. In this collection, the journey stretches across six continents, with stunning landscapes and fascinating characters. The reader can almost see the steam on the windows of a Montréal bakery as customers line up for bagels fresh from wood-fired ovens. That ritual is repeated around the world--in the bazaars of Tashkent, for example, where local shoppers form a line to buy flatbread from wooden wheelbarrows.
More than 200 recipes--many accompanied by superb photography of their region of origin--are grouped into four big sections: Pastry, Bread, Smaller Breads, and Cakes and Cookies. Suggestions for serving fall under 15 themes such as "Our Household Staples," "For Those Who Can't Eat Gluten," and "Exotic Flavours." The glossary and index provide easy reference. Alford and Duguid favour the artisan-style loaves and homey tarts and cakes that people have been making for centuries over elaborate modern confections. There's a honey cake from the Ukraine, onion tart from Alsace, steamed dumplings from the Himalayas, and calzone from New York. One particularly good recipe to try is Irish Soda Bread. And banana-coconut bread is ethereal--saturated with dark rum and lightly sweetened with demerara sugar. Each recipe is self-explanatory and emphasizes the simple pleasures of working the dough over achieving the perfection of the professional baker. "Pastry's happiest being handled little and lightly, without the heavy hand that anxiety often produces," the authors advise.
In our culture of bread-making machines and fast food, we often forget how restorative the simple pleasures can be: Head into the kitchen and bake some bread. Enjoy. --Carolyn Leitch
“This latest tome is as visually stunning and rich in text as their earlier books…. HomeBaking is also a travel book about people and the bread they eat — all around the world.”
—The Gazette (Montreal); Times-Colonist (Victoria)
“HomeBaking represents visits to households on every continent on Earth except Antarctica. Indeed, their book is the product of decades of organized wanderlust…. Like [their] earlier books, HomeBaking is a tribute…. HomeBaking pays homage to flour as used by non-professional bakers around the world…. To the average non-baking North American, this book may actually seem more like a museum catalogue than a cookbook. HomeBaking is as gorgeous as any fine-art monograph, and, just like a museum door, open its enormous covers and we see the sort of rich cultural life many North Americans have surrendered to ‘progress’”
—Quill & Quire
“A good cookbook should give you a physical sense of the food, either through the writing or the photos. Smell what’s cooking (and encourage your other four senses) by reading award-winning Canucks Jeffrey Alford and Naomi Duguid.”
“Your ticket to a trip around the world through the art of home baking. Known for their insightful photographs and wonderful anecdotes about the people and places they discovered in their travels, it is indeed a trip to read one of Alford and Duguid’s award-winning books.”
—Bonnie Stern, National Post
“This is more than just a big, beautiful book about baking. It’s a discussion of culture and the ties that connect people around the world, people who turn flour into food and make local specialties of the ingredients they have at hand. It’s a statement on urban living and the loss of home baking traditions in favour of commercially bought. It’s also a well written guide to the art of baking…. Baking is a work of love, from the heart, and it shines through in the stories, recipes and photos in this book.”
—The Hamilton Spectator
“Utterly magnificent…. It’s a book tremendous in both size and scope that — like their preceeding volumes on flatbreads, rice, and spices — mixes recipes, anecdotes, and photography to transport you inside kitchens around the world…. Think Saveur meets National Geographic. From Montreal bagels to tahini swirls — flaky and flattened — from Beirut, this is an absolute feast, intriguing, enthralling, the perfect gift for greedy armchair travellers. It deserves to be first on anyone’s list.”
—The Georgia Straight
“I would pay three times for this award-worthy book that makes one homesick for countries one never even dreamed of visiting.”
—The Toronto Sun
“One of the best baking books of the season is from the calm and knowing hands of Naomi Duguid and Jeffrey Alford…. For Duguid and her husband, the spur to their innovative cookbook style is their innnate curiosity…. The end result is a book that presents recipes within their cultural contexts, and reflects ‘the labour and the landscape, the time and the care’ that are the essential, but often invisible components of all cooking.”
“[A] treasure of recipes, anecdotes and gorgeous colour photographs….With camera, notebook and children, they’ve slipped into the most fascinating and exotic countries through the kitchen door — always the best route to that elusive authenticity we all look for on the road. To call this a cookbook is not enough.”
—The Edmonton Journal
“HomeBaking offers a wonderful combination of travel and great tastes.”
—The Ottawa Citizen
“The travel shots … are exquisite, finding earthy beauty in everything from a tray of New York street pretzels to a Tibetan Herder’s tan and wrinkled face.”
—Quill and Quire
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While the home baker may find new ideas in this wide-ranging collection, he or she may also find frustration in actually attempting to follow these directions. The authors appear to have some strange (in some cases unworkable) ideas on ratios of dry to wet ingredients, and on what constitutes an effective quantity of flavouring herbs and spices. I found substantial modification necessary the majority of the times I tried to follow these recipes, before I more or less gave up on using the book as a practical guide.
In sum, if you are new to home baking or want to expand your repertoire and are not fortunate enough to have friends, relatives and acquaintances to teach you, try one of those books from the fifties and sixties with the boring line drawings of actual baking technique, and for colourful pictures of men in Tblisi holding pears and the like, try a subscription to National Geographic.