One of the first things I did during my first week of unemployment was go to the local library branch and get a new library card. Its pretty high tech now. Self checkout and all!
I didn't have a particular book in mind so I wondered over to the section where they showcase the new arrivals. I found a book right away - "Confections of a Closet Master Baker - One woman's sweet journey from Unhappy Hollywood Executive to Contented Country Baker." Now, this selection appealed to me for two reasons. One being that she had escaped the Hollywood life, whereas I had escaped Corporate America. The second being that she was also a baker. I wouldn't go so far as to say I am a Master Baker, but I certainly know my way around a Bundt pan. I was interested in what made her quit her job in the outside world and begin her life over, in a new direction, as I had.
So I read. Her story is simple, really. She grew up with an appreciation and love for baking, and when she found herself unhappy in her Executive job, dealing with Hollywood jackasses, she quit. She bought a house in the country in Vermont. She baked macaroons to her heart's content. Then her famous sister mentioned her macaroons in a magazine article and she was shoved into the world of pastry shop owner by default. She tells the story of her youth, her connection to food, her family, and what it takes to run a bakery or pastry shop.
Its an inspiring story. Honestly, if I hadn't already quit my job to stay at home, this book would have pushed me in that direction. Perhaps it will only appeal to bakers, but perhaps not. It was more than a baker's story. She talks about her childhood, her relationship with her mother and her mother's death, being the child of German culinary tradition, and her time in Europe to great extent. I was halfway through the book when I realized this chick was Sandra Bullock's sister. Funny, huh? She kept mentioning a famous sister named Sandy. That didn't even ring a bell. She mentioned 'While You Were Sleeping"...nope, still didn't catch my attention. The only reason I finally figured it out was one night when I picked up the book, I saw the last name, Bullock-Prado, and thought to myself, "that's funny, she has the same last name as Sandra Bullock". Yup, I'm about as sharp as a block of clay.
Gesine has a way with writing. She loves to bake. She loves to talk about baking.There are passages in the book written so beautifully about pies, cakes, truffles, cookies and tarts that I can see them in my head, I can taste them. This is a woman who truly loves what she does.
"And when I baked, the gentle sweetness and soft sponge of a well-made sticky bun soothed my growing bitterness at God and humanity."
The next time you're at a book store, pick it up. You won't regret it! Its also available at Amazon.com and there's an E-book out there too. Also, since the release of the book, her shop has closed. But...you can buy her macarons online at her website Gesine's Confectionary. I just placed an order myself!
P.S. I almost forgot to tell you, she has a blog too. And guess what is listed on her blog? Recipes. Lots and lots of recipes.