Friday Food Reads – Ovenly

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Lissy_Serena_Bourbon_Cookie_VerticalOver the last week, I have finally taken the time to catalog all my cookbooks and get them into library software. WOW… I can’t imagine why I waited so long to do this. I don’t think I really understood the benefits of this until working at America’s Test Kitchen with their 3,000 plus cookbooks. 3,000 cookbooks really does make my 200 cookbooks seem relatively small in comparison, but I’m already loving the benefits of just going into the software and finding all my recipes in once central location when I am on the hunt to make something new and looking for ideas. While I was cataloging, I thought it might be nice to devote a post to Friday Food Reads. No sense in having all these books if I can’t share and make recommendations. Although, being a food photographer, sometimes I easily get sucked into the pretty pictures and forget why I opened the book to begin with. Hey, what’s a gal to do?

For the first Friday Food Reads, I thought I would go with the cookbook Ovenly by Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin. And I will say, this book did not disappoint. After finishing the book and testing four of the recipes, I can’t even begin to imagine why I haven’t been to the bakery! Then I remembered, they have only been doing what they do since 2010, and their New York’s Best New Bakery status only happened in 2013. Considering it’s only 2014, I don’t feel too far behind the times.

The book starts with great stories about who Erin and Agatha are and how they ended up where they are today. I love reading these stories. As someone who spent many years in corporate America doing a job she was good at, but just didn’t have a love for, I can understand someone’s needs to change careers and pursue their passions. The transition times, the hopes, the worries, the concerns and the strong desire to turn their hobby into a business, is something a lot of people can relate to.

Their story seems genuine, and you can easily feel the passion they have for what they do. You can bet on my next New York trip, when I make it to the bakery, I don’t want to just eat the food. I want to meet these two business women that bake with their hearts and don’t bother trying to fit into a particular mold. Their story is an inspiration for all aspiring bakers.

My favorite lesson learned from the book: “In every blundered recipe there is a culinary creation waiting to be discovered.” This is so true. And I think as we become more and more comfortable in the kitchen and more familiar with the ingredients, we become much more flexible with just using what you have and making something work. As Erin and Agatha say, “Cooking is an adventure!”

And after reading this cookbook, I would say, “Run with it. Create what you love and always…Eat Dessert First!”

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