The Art of Baking Blind, by Sarah Vaughan

The Art of Baking Blind, by Sarah Vaughan

Do you have a favourite food writer? A book you go back to, time and again, because the recipes always work, and just reading them makes you happy? For my mum, it was her Marguerite Patten, the pale blue hardback coming apart at the edges from the years of use. My first one was Delia, a Christmas present from my granddad, one I still go back to for scones and plum ketchup. There is a cookbook at the centre of The Art of Baking Blind, one that is important for different reasons to Jenny, Vicki, Karen, Claire and Mike, the five bakers who have been chosen to take part in the competition to find the New Mrs Eaden.

Kathleen Eaden, who gives The Art of Baking Blind its framework, is the wife of supermarket magnate, George Eaden. She’s missed out on the opportunity to be part of the Swinging Sixties and instead, as The Face of Eaden’s, is expected to ‘behave like the ideal, domestic woman’. Alongside her official appearances, she produces an iconic cookbook, The Art of Baking, but her public image is covering up a very personal sadness.

The present-day contestants vary widely both in their life experience and in the difficulties they have faced on the way to their moment of glory. For motherly Jenny, food is bound up with love and comfort. Single mum, Claire, struggles on her minimum wage but loves to bake traditional Cornish treats with her daughter. Vicki doesn’t want to admit how hard she finds staying at home with toddler Alfie when she’s used to managing a class-full of children, and Karen makes perfect food without allowing herself to eat it. Mike, the sole male of the group, is a widower who just wants to show he’s a good dad.

Seen through the eyes of each character in turn, the baking challenges reveal layer upon layer of the contestants’ motivations, fears and relationships. This is not a knives-out style of competition. The keynote is support, and the spirit of Kathleen is ever-present as the five discover what is really important in their lives. The Art of Baking Blind is a beautiful, big, feel-good read, and the perfect companion volume for your favourite recipe books, to be devoured in the gaps between The Great British Bake Off and Masterchef. And get your oven gloves out, because you’ll be ready to break out the mixing bowl, I can guarantee it.


You can find Sarah’s Facebook page here, and follow her on Twitter here.

And when you’ve read and enjoyed it, do take a moment to post a review on Amazon by going here, clicking on ‘Customer Reviews’ and then on the box for ‘Write a Customer Review’. You don’t have to have bought the book through Amazon to leave a review, and you don’t have to write an essay either! A star rating and a few words will mean a lot to the author 🙂





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