by Kate Moses

I am not a foodie, although some of my best friends are.  Thus, there’s no way I would have picked up Kate Moses’s Cakewalk to read but for the photograph on the cover, which made me smile.  (See, you can judge a book by its cover!) I continued reading it because Moses is a writer of salutary talents.  And if I hadn’t read it, I would have missed not only an affecting memoir, but also some recipes that I feel sure—if I were a baker— I would immediately try out. If my oven works. Luckily, those friends of mine who do bake have—in return for lending them the book—let me try  samples of the ever-so-tasty results of several of Moses’s recipes.  Mainly focused on her life during the 1960s and 70s, her memoir is marked by parental discord and differences (her mother and father were spectacularly unsuited to one another), frequent moves, and a thorny family history.  Cooking (and reading) were her lifelines out of the unhappy situations she found herself in.  Each chapter includes a recipe, and each—from cheese cake to linzer tort, from spiced pecan cake to chocolate truffles—sounds more scrumptious than the one before.  One bit of advice I feel compelled to give:  brownies, page 209.  Thanks to my friend Jeanette, I know the first version (with walnuts) is amazing.


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