Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Baking is About More than Creating a Cake

Eaden's Grocery Chain sponsors a contest looking for a new Mrs. Eaden since the original Mrs. Eaden recently died. Kathleen Eaden, the wife of George, the first owner, was photogenic, a wonderful baker, author of a cookbook, and an asset to Eaden's Grocery Chain. The new Mrs. Eaden will have a larger than life image to live up to. Five contestants are eager to try: Jennifer, the wife of a dentist faces an empty nest; Vicki, a stay at home mother misses teaching; Karen, a bored housewife looks for a challenge; Claire, a single mother wants a better future for her daughter; and Mike, a widower raising two children wants some recognition for his role.

Each chapter is devoted to a participant, including chapters about the original Mrs. Eaden. Each woman uses baking not only to feed her family but to release tension and find an outlet from her problems. The stories are the kind most women can relate to and perhaps find some clues to how to deal with a problem of their own. The contestants all believe that the first Mrs. Eaden was perfect. They don't see how they can live up to her image. However, as Kathleen's story progresses it's clear that her life was far from ideal.

I enjoyed the scenes at the baking competition. Although this isn't a recipe book, it contains hints about making bread, cakes, biscuits and puddings. Since the novel takes place in the UK some of the measurements are unusual, as are the dishes, but there a plenty of hints on how to work dough and create fillings that are helpful.

If you enjoy baking, this is a delightful book, but it's much more. It's an exploration of the problems that beset women and how they can find an outlet in baking. As Kathleen points out, baking is about love.

I reviewed this book for the Amazon Vine Program.