|I want a piglet.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry about it.
Today Dorie Greenspan restored class and order over at the Piglet with her gracious concession (it's in the comments) to Alice Medrich, whose outstanding Flavor Flours won out over her own superb Baking Chez Moi.
I love both these books. Flavor Flours is probably the only gluten-free baking book on the planet that doesn’t shout “gluten-free!!!!” on the cover, spine, and every single page, which is why it is the only gluten-free cookbook I will have in my kitchen, at least until I’m diagnosed with celiac disease. Medrich’s approach suggests that there is more to recommend these flours -- sorghum, buckwheat, chestnut, etc. -- than just their nutritional profile. I have baked only the teff brownies and they were great, though I’m not sure I could tell the difference between a teff brownie and a wheat flour brownie, which is either good or bad, depending on your point of view. Rosie Schaap’s review has convinced me to tackle the carrot cake which, “made with rice flour and oat flour, is the best I’ve ever made, the best I’ve ever eaten, just the best: moist but solidly constructed, intensely fragrant and full-flavored.”
Actually, not sold. Library copy, so I’d better get cracking. This is one I might buy.
I’m a Dorie Greenspan completist and bought Baking Chez Moi within days of publication. At Christmas, I made Greenspan’s crispy-topped brown sugar bars for the cookie boxes we gave away and they were lovely. I made her sables last week and they were beyond lovely.
Two terrific books. I only wish they were both advancing in the Piglet, but it would come to a showdown eventually, so might as well be now.
On another subject completely, let’s talk about My Struggle, the multi-volume magnum opus of Karl Ove Knausgaard. Ha ha ha. Not kidding. Are you with me? Anyone? No? Knausgaard is a brooding Norwegian memoirist/novelist who writes in granular detail about his everyday life and I feel like I’ve been reading this blasted series forever. One of Karl Ove’s trips to a coffee shop can last a dozen pages and he never even talks to anyone at the coffee shop, let alone witnesses a murder, robbery, or alien invasion. And yet he keeps pulling me along. I’ll be trudging through an endless stretch in which Karl Ove discusses the breasts on the leader of his daughter’s boring playgroup and I want to throw the book across the room, then suddenly I’m in the middle of one of the most spellbinding scenes I’ve ever read. His account of cleaning out the bottles and alcoholic detritus from his dead father’s home will never leave me.
During idle moments, like when I’m driving or whisking pastry cream, I find myself trying to capture my feelings about this singular work in a few words. Options always boil down to:
engrossing but a slog
a slog but engrossing
engrossing and a slog
Even if I never decide on the perfect combination of adjectives, I think you have a sense of how I feel about My Struggle and can probably gauge whether it is right for you.