Save Room for Dessert and Snacks   Leave a comment

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I’m a cooking magazine and cookbook junkie. I like discovering new recipes and techniques, but I especially enjoy the narrative accompanying them. Ovenly is an excellent example of a cookbook with delectable recipes and engaging storytelling. It’s also the name of the authors’ New York City Bakery.

Agatha Kulaga and Erin Patinkin are self-taught bakers. In her introduction, Patinkin writes, “… (recipes are) not just about food of a certain time, but also about relationships, culture and tradition.” Kaluga also shares her own insights. Many of the bakery items were adapted from recipes handed down from their grandmothers.

The pair met through a book group. Ovenly’s early days were auspicious relying on a borrowed kitchen and an old Ford Explorer in which they made deliveries. Slowly, they built their brand, established relationships with neighborhood artisans (including a local dairy and brewery, among others).

Except for the first chapter which offers baking tips with suggestions for equipment and ingredients to have on hand, subsequent chapters focus on specific baked goods: biscuits, muffins, cookies, you get the idea. While most are sweet, as the subtitle implies several are also savory like cheddar mustard scones and bacon and blue cheese quiche.

The chapter on bar snacks is a surprise given that everything else, even the non-sweet goods, are associated with bakeries; for example, flavored popcorns.

Most of the recipes, rest assured, appeal to sugar cravings. Easy-to-follow instructions, impressive color photographs, and personal stories introducing each chapter make this enjoyable and sweet tooth appealing!

Ovenly: Sweet and Savory Recipes from New York’s Most Creative Bakery

Park Row, 2021

Four Bookmarks

272 Pages

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