The Art of Baking Blind

The Art of Baking Blind

There are many reasons to bake: to feed; to create; to impress; to nourish; to define ourselves; and, sometimes, it has to be said, to perfect. But often we bake to fill a hunger that would be better filled by a simple gesture from a dear one. We bake to love and be loved. In 1966, Kathleen Eaden, cookbook writer and wife of a supermarket magnate, published The Art of Baki...

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Title:The Art of Baking Blind
Author:Sarah Vaughan
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Edition Language:English

The Art of Baking Blind Reviews

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*

    I'm going to gif the hell outta this review. So all you gif haters have something to [email protected]#ch about this week. Rejoice!

    Back in the 1960's Kathleen Eaden wrote the ode to baking. Not only did she do that but she put forth that perfect mother, perfect wife, helped her husband open a chain of upscale grocery stores. She was that perfect woman.

    But was she really?

    Now she has recently passed away and the grocery store chain needs a new Mrs. Eaden to promote their baking line and products. So they are ru

    I'm going to gif the hell outta this review. So all you gif haters have something to [email protected]#ch about this week. Rejoice!

    Back in the 1960's Kathleen Eaden wrote the ode to baking. Not only did she do that but she put forth that perfect mother, perfect wife, helped her husband open a chain of upscale grocery stores. She was that perfect woman.

    But was she really?

    Now she has recently passed away and the grocery store chain needs a new Mrs. Eaden to promote their baking line and products. So they are running a contest offering 50,000 pounds to the winner.

    Five regular people get to compete. You have your token male. Recently divorce and raising his children alone. (I liked him. Wish more of the story had featured him)

    Jenny who's children are leaving the nest and has an asshole husband. She eats to hide her pain.

    Vicki, the perfectionist. A stay at home mom who tries to please her workaholic husband, controlling mother and 3 year old son.

    Claire, a poor single mother who does her best to support her daughter. Working a low paying job dreaming of a better future. Her mom enters her into the contest.

    Then Karen, perfect Karen. Who has a image of herself that is unshakable. She seduces most men in her life as her husband is away most of the time. Trying to bury that hurt.

    Weaved through out the book you get bits of Kathleen Eaden's cookbook writings..now you know my foodie fangirl butt is going to love that part. Some of the baking is way the heck over my head. Actually, most of it. I'm not a baker. I've always wanted to be on one of those damn cooking shows though.

    Tattletale.

    Now for the book. At first you don't care for some of these women. They come across as shallow and vain. Some of them seem to think only with how the outside world judges them.

    Then the author gives you a glimpse into each of their private lives, including the goddess herself, Kathleen Eaden. I fell in love with every single character in the storyline. They turned out to all be strong women. I hate that they felt they had to hide their feelings and problems.

    The food contest was of course part I loved too. I had never heard of some of the things they were baking. So I looked them up. Lardy cake, Chelsea rolls, and a few more that of course have slipped my feeble mind.

  • Zarina

    Before I knew anything about the contents of this novel I had already fallen in love with the striking turquoise colour of its packaging and the simple yet very effective drawing adorning the cover. It begs to be oohed and aahed over, not to mention to be stroked. A lot. And once I started reading, I discovered that the story within was equally beautiful and enthralling.

    Kathleen was famous not only for being the photogenic wife of grocery magnate George Ea

    Before I knew anything about the contents of this novel I had already fallen in love with the striking turquoise colour of its packaging and the simple yet very effective drawing adorning the cover. It begs to be oohed and aahed over, not to mention to be stroked. A lot. And once I started reading, I discovered that the story within was equally beautiful and enthralling.

    Kathleen was famous not only for being the photogenic wife of grocery magnate George Eaden, but also for writing a true cookery classic in the form of

    . Even though the book was published in the 1960s, it is still extensively being referred to today and can be found in the kitchens of many British households, so even much younger generations are familiar with Kathleen's delectable recipes.

    A few months after she passes away, grocery chain Eaden and Son's is conducting the Search for the New Mrs Eaden. After nationwide auditions, the five people chosen to compete in the contest are young single mum Claire; polished Karen, who doesn't taste her own creations; Mike, a widower and father of two; Jenny, who is growing apart from her husband; and Vicky, who has stopped working so she can take care of her little boy, but isn't sure if she's happy as a stay-at-home mum.

    I always enjoy reading novels that bring together people from different walks of life. I find that having such a diverse cast of main characters means there's always at least one with which the reader is able to identify, making it easier to be pulled into the story completely rather than just watching the action unfold from the sideline. In this case, I felt myself particularly drawn to Claire and Jenny, though I did feel sympathetic towards the struggles of all of them – Kathleen included.

    Having such a large cast of characters did mean that there wasn't space to develop each one of them fully and as such I found some of the stories somewhat lacking. This was particularly apparent in the case of Mike, who was really only viewed through the eyes of his fellow contestants. I thought this was a shame as I would've liked to have known more about his life as a now single father. Similarly, the conclusions of Jenny and Karen's individual stories also felt a bit rushed.

    Nonetheless, this was a delicious read, which I devoured like a freshly baked, homemade bread. The novel was steeped in a love for baking and quintessentially British delights, from the snippets of Kathleen's famous book scattered throughout, to the detailed descriptions of the contestants' practice runs and their entries into each of the stages of the competition. The lush descriptions of the food made them so vivid that I could almost taste them on the tip of my tongue while reading. So, even if you weren't hungry before picking up this novel, you definitely will be once you've dug into it!

    , despite not taking place on television, is reminiscent of

    and will be a particular treat for those who love the British baking show. However, even if you are not a fan of the reality contest, you will find plenty within the pages to enjoy. The characters do not only struggle with dough and flavours, but also with their marriages, parenting and the heartbreak of losing a child prematurely. For all the sweetness of the sugary decadences they whip up, there is also plenty of drama and intrigue to balance it all out.

    And the baked goods mentioned within are so mouth-watering and inspiring that after finishing this novel even the most inexperienced of bakers will immediately want to grab their whisks and mixing bowls and try their hand at the recipes. From richly filled game pie with a perfect golden-brown pastry top to a delicate millefeuille layered with homemade crème pâtissière.

  • Rebecca Foster

    “While perfection might be possible in baking, in life, well, it’s impossible. The perfect wife, the perfect child, the perfect mother? None of us can be these. They’re mere fancies.” The search for a new ambassador for Eaden’s high-end supermarket chain brings five amateur bakers to a Buckinghamshire mansion for a

    -style competition. Kathleen Eaden, the author of The Art of Baking (1966), recently died, and the contest aims to find the new face of traditional British

    “While perfection might be possible in baking, in life, well, it’s impossible. The perfect wife, the perfect child, the perfect mother? None of us can be these. They’re mere fancies.” The search for a new ambassador for Eaden’s high-end supermarket chain brings five amateur bakers to a Buckinghamshire mansion for a

    -style competition. Kathleen Eaden, the author of The Art of Baking (1966), recently died, and the contest aims to find the new face of traditional British baking.

    As the contestants produce their best Battenburg cakes, gingerbread houses, bread loaves, and afternoon tea treats, we delve into the histories of Victoria, Jenny, Karen, Claire and Mike and go deeper than the shorthand stereotypes (the desperate housewife, the middle-aged woman whose husband is cheating on her, the cougar with an eating disorder, the single mum and the widower). For many of them, food is a stand-in for the love they have sought from a parent or no longer get from a partner.

    The third-person narrative switches between the perspectives of the four female participants and Kathleen Eaden herself, whose idealized image hides a painful path to motherhood. The setup – multiple contemporary stories responding to one historical one – reminded me a lot of J. Courtney Sullivan’s

    . I’d recommend this to

    watchers but also to anyone who likes cozy, food-themed reads.

  • Claire

    The Art of Baking Blind is a lovely ode to The Great British Bake Off, one of my favourite TV programmes.

    The story alternates between the competition to find the new Mrs Eaden and the competition's inspiration, Kathleen Eaden, the wife of a grocer turned supermarket magnate as she writes her best seller "The art of baking". As the book progresses we get an insight into the personal lives of both the contestants and Kathleen. Slowly the story becomes one of relationships. It shows how a relation

    The Art of Baking Blind is a lovely ode to The Great British Bake Off, one of my favourite TV programmes.

    The story alternates between the competition to find the new Mrs Eaden and the competition's inspiration, Kathleen Eaden, the wife of a grocer turned supermarket magnate as she writes her best seller "The art of baking". As the book progresses we get an insight into the personal lives of both the contestants and Kathleen. Slowly the story becomes one of relationships. It shows how a relationship that looks perfect from the outside, once the dynamic changes, changes can start to appear. The baking competition affects each contestant in different ways and makes them reassess their close relationships.

    I'd say the book falls into the genre of women's fiction rather than chick lit. It is a grown up story without the frivolity of dating and socialising. When I started this book, I was a little concerned that there would be recipes interspersed within the narrative. However my concerns were unfounded and I'm surprised once the scene was set in both time periods, how much I enjoyed it. I wanted to know more about the individual bakers and I wanted to know who the winner was and what happened to Kathleen; the sign of a good book.

    In essence it's a lovely book, a pleasant change from my usual read of thrillers and crime.

    Thanks to Netgalley and St Martin's Press for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

  • Kim

    Eaden and Sons are running a baking competition to find the new face for their baking campaigns. Mrs Eadon wrote The Art of Baking in the 1960's and the book is still very popular. The new campaign will use many of her recipes.

    Five contestants are chosen and they travel down to the family home every weekend to take part in a baking competition where the winners release a clip on YouTube. Jenny is an older lady and her children are leading their own lives and her husband has just started training

    Eaden and Sons are running a baking competition to find the new face for their baking campaigns. Mrs Eadon wrote The Art of Baking in the 1960's and the book is still very popular. The new campaign will use many of her recipes.

    Five contestants are chosen and they travel down to the family home every weekend to take part in a baking competition where the winners release a clip on YouTube. Jenny is an older lady and her children are leading their own lives and her husband has just started training for a marathon and is making disparaging remarks about her love of baking and her weight. You really feel for her. Claire has a little girl and has put her dreams on hold to look after her. Vikki has given up her job to be with her young son- but does she crave more from life? Karen presents a very polished exterior and has a very rich husband- but what secrets is she hiding to the outside world? Mike is looking after his children after losing his wife.

    Although this is a competition there is no elimination process and the contestants get to know each other and feel protective about each other. They are all juggling problems at home and wondering whether they should continue with the competition but all have reasons for wanting to win!

    I loved the relationships- both at home and between the contestants. You felt a part of the whole competition and readers will probably have their own favourite for the winner.

    Highly recommend this one and send many thanks to the publisher and Net Galley for the chance to read this one.

  • Yodamom

    Audiobook

    As a fan of The Great British Bakeoff this was too temping to pass up. I don't think I even read the books description all the way before I was purchasing it. "What a joy" see I sounded like Mary there didn't I ? LOL

    So this book takes you into the live of a cooking contest and into the lives of the contestants. What is driving them, who is behind them, where did they come from, where are their hearts ?

    I could hear "bake" and see the people scrambling to get their crusts and rises done

    Audiobook

    As a fan of The Great British Bakeoff this was too temping to pass up. I don't think I even read the books description all the way before I was purchasing it. "What a joy" see I sounded like Mary there didn't I ? LOL

    So this book takes you into the live of a cooking contest and into the lives of the contestants. What is driving them, who is behind them, where did they come from, where are their hearts ?

    I could hear "bake" and see the people scrambling to get their crusts and rises done in time. It is about the bakes, and so much more. *Warning do not read while hungry. There are cakes, biscuits, pies, pastries and things I've never seen but would be more than willing to taste. Life does not begin and end in the test kitchen for these people, they have a home life. Each contestant has a life, some filled with drama, abandonment, self-esteem issues and more. Baking and stepping out into the spotlight changes each of them, brings things left in the dark for years to the surface. Emotionally charged, changes each better than when they started. I cheered for each of them through the contest and I felt the truly best baker won in the end. Woot Woot ________ !

    I really loved listening to this audiobook. The narration was fantastic. It was a feel good read about good realistic people and baking.

  • Bianca

    I recently read

    by Sarah Vaughan, so when I saw this on the library overdrive, I immediately borrowed it wanting to experience more of her writing.

    This was a well-crafted story, with very relatable characters - although, they're stereotypes of sorts: Karen, the well-off, super fit, perfect looking woman; Claire, the young single mother, working as a cashier; Jenny, the epitome of the stay-at-home fifty-something wife, who's an empty nester; Vicky, the new mother, a teach

    I recently read

    by Sarah Vaughan, so when I saw this on the library overdrive, I immediately borrowed it wanting to experience more of her writing.

    This was a well-crafted story, with very relatable characters - although, they're stereotypes of sorts: Karen, the well-off, super fit, perfect looking woman; Claire, the young single mother, working as a cashier; Jenny, the epitome of the stay-at-home fifty-something wife, who's an empty nester; Vicky, the new mother, a teacher, who's at home with her three-year-old and doesn't find it fulfilling as she thought it would/should be. These three women and Mike, a widower with two young children, come together in a baking competition for the New Mrs Eaden - the author of the famous "The Art of Baking", which had inspired many homemakers over decades. (She's a fictional character, I Googled her).

    The four bakers can concoct the perfect cakes, bread and other baking delights. While they can bake to perfection, unsurprisingly, their lives are far from perfect.

    I particularly liked how Vaughan interspersed the four people's stories with that of the famous Kathleen Eaden, who appeared to be not only the perfect baker but also the perfect wife and mother.

    This novel should come with a warning:

    People who enjoy the cooking shows will probably appreciate

    even more than I did.

    I enjoyed listening to the audiobook, even though it sounded familiar.

  • Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

    The Art of Baking Blind is pleasant debut novel for British journalist Sarah Vaughan.

    In 1966, Kathleen Eaden, cookery writer and wife of a supermarket magnate, published 'The Art of Baking', her guide to nurturing a family by creating the most exquisite pastries, biscuits and cakes. A year after her death, a competition is being held to find the 'New Mrs Eaden', where the winner will receive a £50,000 contract to advise the supermarket on its selection of baked products, take the lead in an adve

    The Art of Baking Blind is pleasant debut novel for British journalist Sarah Vaughan.

    In 1966, Kathleen Eaden, cookery writer and wife of a supermarket magnate, published 'The Art of Baking', her guide to nurturing a family by creating the most exquisite pastries, biscuits and cakes. A year after her death, a competition is being held to find the 'New Mrs Eaden', where the winner will receive a £50,000 contract to advise the supermarket on its selection of baked products, take the lead in an advertising campaign, and write a monthly magazine column. Four women and one man have been chosen to compete, striving for the perfection in the kitchen, that has eluded them in their real lives.

    The novel unfolds through the viewpoints of Vaughan's four main female characters intertwined with Kathleen Eaden's story, and excerpts from 'The Art of Baking'.

    Vicki, mother to three year old Alfie, is finding being a stay at home mother difficult and is excited by the challenge of the competition. Jenny has given all of herself to her family, but with her daughters having flown the nest and her husband disinterested, baking is all she has left. Karen strives for perfection in all things and views the competition as a way to prove herself. Claire is a hard working single mother who hopes that winning the contest will give her and her daughter a chance to better their lives.

    While the contestants strive to turn out perfect pastries and pies every weekend, Vaughan slowly reveals the challenges each woman is facing at home. Jenny, for example, is almost certain her husband is having an affair, while Claire's daughter's father makes an unexpected return. There is depth here, though I think perhaps Vaughan spreads herself a little too thin and some of the characters, and their stories, are truncated. Karen's story finishes quite abruptly, and Mike, the fifth contestant, is little more than a token.

    The competition to become the next Mrs Eaden bears similarities to the television show, The Great British Bake Off, though this contest is not televised and there is no weekly elimination. Sadly there are no recipes included in the book, but the descriptions of the contestants offerings, ranging from Chelsea Buns to a Springtime Quiche, are ambrosial and I couldn't resist baking a simple after school treat for my children when I'd finished the last page.

    A story about family, relationships, and the art of baking, I enjoyed this engaging novel.

  • Laurie • The Baking Bookworm

    My Review: It shouldn't come as a shock that I picked up this book. First off, the cover was beautiful (I adore teal) and it caught my attention right away. Second, it's about baking, y'all! I thought this book was a no-brainer for me but unfortunately I found this book lacking in a few areas.

    The book deals with five competitors as they try to win a coveted British baking competition. The problem was that I had a hard time remembering who was who among the competitors - except for the one male c

    My Review: It shouldn't come as a shock that I picked up this book. First off, the cover was beautiful (I adore teal) and it caught my attention right away. Second, it's about baking, y'all! I thought this book was a no-brainer for me but unfortunately I found this book lacking in a few areas.

    The book deals with five competitors as they try to win a coveted British baking competition. The problem was that I had a hard time remembering who was who among the competitors - except for the one male competitor, Mike who was barely in the story at all and was only viewed through the eyes of the four female competitors. It got so bad that I actually had to write a cheat sheet listing each of the four female characters and their characteristics/issues so I could keep track of them. Not a good sign. With all this energy being used to remember characters it shouldn't come as a surprise that I didn't get attached to any of them.

    While I did love that baking was the connection between the main characters, sadly one cannot live on descriptions of delicious cupcakes alone. The depictions of delicious baked goods and baking techniques was interesting but the plot and characters fell flat for me and didn't develop as much as I would have hoped.

    Overall, I wasn't impressed with this book. While it's filled with descriptions of interesting baking techniques and treats, the low energy, lackluster characters and predictable plot left me hungry for a lot more from this author.

    My Rating: 2/5 stars

    ** This book review, as well as hundreds more, can also be found on my blog, The Baking Bookworm (

    ) where I also share hundreds of my favourite recipes. **

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