Fiction for foodies

If you’ve subscribed to this blog for any length of time, you’ll know one of our most favourite topics is food, especially the cake variety. And as Mary and Paul are back on our screens with the Great British Bake-Off, we thought we’d put together some reading for the cooks and wannabe cooks out there. Fiction for foodies, if you will. Know what we found? Stories featuring cookies (The cookie club by Ann Pearlman), honey (The wedding bees by Sarah-Kate Lynch), chocolate (The Chocolate Lovers Club by Carole Matthews),and cakes (Baking cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin); stories about folks running their own bakery (The Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan) or cafe (Café Tropicana by Belinda Jones); even stories by real-life chefs (Vanilla salt by Ada Parellada); and there’s a whole sub-genre of mystery stories called ‘culinary crime’ (Agatha Raisin and the quiche of death by M. C. Beaton) – well, whoever  married ‘baking’ with ‘low-fat’ should have known that that was only going to lead to all sorts of trouble. And some lovely authors have even included the recipes for the goodies mentioned in their stories, so you can make some to nibble on while you read (Cinnamon roll murder by Joanne Fluke).

To whet your appetite, here’s an extract from a new novel, The Art of Baking Blind by Sarah Vaughan. It’s about 5 people who enter a baking contest. Sound familiar? Claire works at the checkout in a local supermarket, little knowing her mum has just entered her in the competition…

She begins to scan the items, the scanner beeping with monotonous regularity. Nappies, beep; wipes, beep; milk, beep; butter, beep; Dairy Milk chocolate, beep; beep; beep.

‘On special offer.’ The mother gives a guilty grin.

You can tell a lot about people from their shopping. You don’t just root out the bulimics or the alcoholics, but the obsessives, the ones who stick rigidly to their lists; the ones who never cook; and the ones who cook perpetually.

Take this mother. Now her haul is getting more interesting. Perhaps she was wrong to judge her over her kilo plus of Dairy Milk for here are organic eggs, icing sugar, caster sugar, mascarpone, cream cheese, vanilla essence – the expensive stuff in its tasteful brown bottle, not the extract – digestive biscuits.

‘Making a New York cheesecake?’ The question is involuntary.

Claire lowers her head in embarrassment and goes back to the scanning. Self-raising flour, beep; raisins, beep; carrots, beep; courgettes, beep – both organic.

‘Yes.’ The mother smiles. ‘However did you guess?’

I could recite the recipe, thinks Claire. Is she doing Nigella’s version, she wonders, Rachel Allen’s or Mary Berry’s? The question flies out before she can stop it.

‘Nigella’s,’ the woman replies. ‘Do you like to cook?’

‘I just read recipe books,’ Claire replies with a quick beam.

A delicious looking library cake we found on Pinterest

A beautiful and delicious looking library cake we found on Pinterest.

Have a taste of some more foody fiction…


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