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.
Have a taste of some more foody fiction…
- Meet me at the Cupcake Café by Jenny Colgan
- Cookbook Collector by Allegra Goodman
- Various flavours of coffee by Anthony Capella (audiobook)
- Way to a woman’s heart by Christina Jones
- Welcome to Rosie Hopkins sweetshop of dreams by Jenny Colgan
- Particular sadness of lemon cake by Aimee Bender
- Recipe for life by Nicky Pellegrino
- Chocolate Girls by Annie Murray
- Freedom fries and café crème by Jocelyne Rapinac
- When in doubt, add butter by Beth Harbison
- Recipes for a perfect marriage by Kate Kerrigan
- Food of Love Cookery School by Nicky Pellegrino
- Flavours of Love by Dorothy Koomson
- Season to taste or how to eat your husband by Natalie Young
- Saturday Supper Club by Amy Bratley