November 4, 2009

Confections of a Closet Master Baker by Gesine Bullock-Prado:Review

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Confections of a Closet Master Baker is the day in the life of a popular bakery owner. Gesine Bullock-Prado never imagined herself as a professional baker. When her sister, Sandra, hit the big time and started her own production company, Gesine headed to Hollywood to help out. She was successful, making big deals and meeting celebrities, and also unhappy. She felt incomplete.

So Gesine started doing what she loved. She baked. And baked and baked. This didn't make her popular in the land of liposuction. So after a trip to Vermont, she decided to move there and open her own bakery. There were bumps along the way but she found happiness doing what she is most passionate about.

My confession: I requested this book from Shelf Awareness because of the cover (chocooooolate!). I had no idea what it was about. I think I was into the second chapter before I realized that the author is Sandra Bullock's sister (duh) even though she talks about her in the first chapter. I was hooked though by Gesine's breezy writing style. It was like talking to a broad at a bar who just happens to have a killer cheesecake recipe.

Gesine recounts her childhood obsession with sweet confections. Her mother was a fabulous baker of German goodies but believed they should be enjoyed only on special occasions. Gesine couldn't understand why her mother was so against the chemical filled treats from the supermarket until she opened the bakery. It's not just a snack, it's an experience. There ain't nothing like the real thing, baby. Running a bakery has been bittersweet. Many of the goods she makes were made by her mom who died of cancer a few years ago.

Confections is an interesting mix of memoir and cookbook. While Gesine tells us how she got where she is, she offers us her recipes to try ourselves. She's unapologetic about her ingredients. It's butter and eggs or nothing. Although I sometimes found the narrative meandered a bit, it's forgivable when the writer has such a passion for the topic. And she's funny. For me, that's the best kind of non-fiction.

I'm going to put this one on the cookbook shelf. I really want to try that Espresso Cheesecake recipe. Be warned. If you are on a diet, you will be tempted.

Recommended

PS- I liked this Book Trailer. I got to see the bakery I had been reading about.


Confections of a Closet Master Baker Trailer from Raymond Prado on Vimeo.

18 comments :

  1. i forgot about this book!! i had heard about it a while back while in on vacation in vermont and meant to put it on my list! thankyouthankyouthanyou for reminding me about it!! i love memoirs...especially ones that have recipes. ruth reichel's also great at this genre-she's a former NYT food critic.

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  2. I'm really looking forward to reading this book! It looks delicious!

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  3. Mmm, baked goods!
    I like the title.

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  4. Yum, baked goods. I have to pick this one up. Espresso cheesecake?

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  5. This is so unlike anything I ever read, but you have absolutely sold me! It sounds positively delightful! And if your review hadn't done it, that trailer would have...I want to move to Montpelier now. :)

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  6. Kathy- I was hungry reading it.

    She- I liked the title too.

    Carrie- Coffee and cheesecake, two of my favorite things.

    Debi- It was really well done wasn't it? It looks like such a homey place to hang out.

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  7. Yay! I now have two gift ideas for Christmas all wrapped up thanks to this post. I had seen this book somewhere else, but didn't pay much attention to it until I read your review and it sounds fabulous. Thanks so much!

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  8. This looks PERFECT for me. I saw it on Shelf Awareness and didn't request, because I was going through one of my "I don't need more books" phases. Shoot. But now I can buy it.

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  9. Sandra owns a deli-type restaurant in Austin, TX called Watsons. From what I understand, her sister (from your book review) helped set up the pastries. I just saw this book in her restaurant. It's delicious, by the way!

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  10. Oh my. That is quite possibly the most gorgeous book cover EVER.

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  11. sounds like a fun book. I ddidn't catch the name either so I wouldn't have realized it was Sandra Bullock's sister either!

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  12. 1st Daughter- I'm always happy to help people with their shopping. ;)

    Beth- I have a hard time not requesting from them :(

    Sydna- Now I know where to eat if I'm ever in Austin, TX.

    Court- I know, isn't it?!

    Rebecca- It went right over my head.

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  13. I LOVE foodie memoirs and just added this to my Christmas wish list after reading a review on another blog! Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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  14. P.S. Have you ever read this book? http://www.stephanieswrittenword.com/?p=292 I read it awhile back and really enjoyed it - you may also!

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  15. I've been wanting to read this book though I had no idea the author was Sandra Bullock's sister. Thanks for the review.

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