Dispensing Happiness

A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.-Elsa Schiapirelli

That's me, the magical good cook.

Borrowing from my friend Dexygus, I've created my own food blog.

Read of my exploits in the kitchen! Salivate over the descriptions of fabulous desserts and savory meals I've concocted!

No, seriously...go ahead. It'll make my day.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Cookbook Spotlight: Deborah Madison's Seasonal Fruit Desserts


Well, hey! I'm only slightly late this time. Go me.

Despite my current blogging malaise, I was happy to hear from Cath (Ok, I'm always happy to hear from her) about the prospect of a new Cookbook Spotlight.

A caveat: I'm not a fan of cooked fruit. I want it as nature intended, or with as little doctoring as possible (a little mint, spice, etc). Matt isn't much of a fruit-eater at all.

Alex...will eat just about anything. Fortunately, so will the in-laws.

I found the recipes to be simple, which is always a plus. Not a lot of two-day operations or heavy on the 'meanwhile' steps.

And while I can appreciate the recipes in terms of 'I know so-and-so would enjoy this', I did find the recipes to be a bit...privileged, I suppose.

Each ingredient section would call for organic flour, organic sugar, organic cornstarch. You get the idea. Now, I fully support the organic movement. I'd fill my refrigerator & cupboards with nothing but if I could. Of course, I'd need to find a sugar daddy first, so I could afford it.

And that was my issue with the book. The almost...elitist attitude. Yes, organic is great. But to assume every person who purchases the book has stocked their shelves with only organic baking supplies is kind of presumptuous. I respect Madison, mostly for her vegetarian offerings in the past, but I don't like feeling I'm somehow not living up to my culinary potential because I buy the Target-brand sugar.

Ingredient branding issues aside, the recipes would make any fruit-desert fan happy. Interesting varieties & pairings.

I made the Berry Galette for my in-laws, using a mixture of blueberries & blackberries. They finished it off in two days! And in an interesting twist of fate, that very day they received a copy of Seasonal Fruit Desserts from one of Matt's brothers!

So, to sum up: simple but tasty recipes, if you like fruit. Can't shake the feeling it was written with an agenda. It's a good agenda, but the casual cook may find him/her/itself being taken along for a ride he/she/it didn't sign up for.

8 Thoughts for food:

At 11:04 AM, Blogger Joanne said...

I definitely felt similarly to you while reading through the cookbook but just forged ahead with my Domino sugar and non-organic KAF flour. I feel like this is one of those books, though, that you buy knowing what you're getting yourself into. Maybe not ideal for the average American but good for those with Sugar Daddies. Great review!

At 6:02 PM, Anonymous Mrs. L said...

How many folks, especially in this economy can afford (much less spend the gas trying to find) all the organic stuff? I'm with you guys, I'll make it with my regular baking supplies and "if possible" and it's economical, I'll use organic. That being said, I love cooked fruit so I'll have to try this.

At 4:59 PM, Anonymous Jessica said...

Thanks for the great (and honest) review. It is always important for a cookbook's author to know his/her audience and write for them. If "non organic" substitutions would do, then by all means let your reader(s) know!
That said...bring on the fruit, cooked or no! LOL


At 7:35 AM, Anonymous Elizabeth said...

This looks so beautiful. Very nicely done. thanks for sharing your ideas...

At 2:51 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Joanne; thank you. I know enough of Madison to not be terribly surprised, still...seemed a bit too pushy with the ingredients.

At 2:52 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Mrs. L; the recipes look wonderful. IF you like baked/cooked fruit, you won't lack for things to try. But yes...more realistic options should have been mentioned, in my opinion.

At 2:54 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Jessica, exactly my point. I will buy organic whenever I can, but that rarely extends to my baking supplies. And I truly believe the recipes are good; my main issue was the emphasis on specialized ingredients.

At 2:54 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

No problem, Elizabeth...thanks for stopping by.


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