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trying to become a minimalist baker at the bookstore

minimalist baking book reviewI did it again. Like a bad Britney Spears deja vu, I freakin did it again. In I walked praying not to spend a dime, and out I walked with yet another "bargain bin" book. But oh my, was it ever the most joyous occasion of my life. Do you want to hear the story? Of course you do. Even if you don't, I'm here to share. I won't become the next Emily Dickinson keeping stories to myself. Right, right?

It was a beautiful evening set aside for a few errands. Apple store exchange here (why do things just stop working when you need them most?) a few groceries there, and next thing you know I finally arrive in front of Barnes and Noble. But not just any BN, my absolute beloved location in the Upper West side where the five floors of indulgence are like Alice's rabbit hole and I always jump in voluntarily. If you know me by now, you'll know that the Union Square building is my absolute fave, if not for the New York City touristy book section right at the entrance, or the fact that I can always find Lula at the magazine stand, then simply for the admirable architecture of the century old building that makes you feel part of something bigger than yourself. But the UWS locale is so much more serene and quiet... no crowds, no breathing down your back. Just empty aisles for aimless browsing and even little old ladies (well, ladies who lunch in designer get-ups no less) all gathered together in the paperback release rotunda enjoying their book club meetings (seriously, this was happening, didn't even know you could just hold meetings in BN...wonder if I can start Bakeaholics Anonymous?).

So what's a girl to do? Grab the largest browsing basket, set a timer for two hours, and head out in the Food Network Star row that's what! Not sooner did I read the sign "Food & Cooking" did I see Giada, Paula, Ina, Nigella, and even Martha for good measure, sitting pretty on cherry wood shelves, that I was jumping up and down with glee (no not internally, actually jumping up and down noticeably, and dropping things in the process). This was my first time in BN with leisurely hours to kill ever since I inherited this culinary addiction. So this was a true delight. I started off in the food biography new release aisle which is one of my true Achilles heel; refraining from placing less than five books in my basket was a dire inner battle. Kathleen Finn was really teasing me with her newbie, The Sharper Your Knife The Less You Cry: Love Laughter & Tears At The World's Most Famous Cooking School. A simple gal who leaves the corporate world (nothing new there) to seek out a professional culinary life at Le Cordon in Paris with little to no French skills, in both speaking or cooking? Sign me up! What could top that. Well, nothing other than a simple gal who started a little blog called Oragenette finding herself now as a NY Times bestselling author after releasing A Homemade Life. Ahhh, and so the wish list grew.

With a small hop and skip to the right, I was in very dangerous territory. The cooking rotunda. Oh lord help. I quickly rolled up my sleeves, set down my heavy basket (already I know) and started at the very beginning. As a girl without any cookbooks to yet call her own, all I could think was the many BN gift cards I would soon be requesting for the holidays. Everything from Martha's Cupcakes to Nigella Express was setting a strong hold on me, and even some lesser known names with alluring titles like Dorie Greenspan and Trish Deseine who come highly recommended by some of my French blog readers, so I eagerly took note. After dropping Martha in my basket, I headed anxiously towards the um...um...well, bargain bins.

Yes, the bargain bins. The enabler to my crime, the instigator to my fights, the...well you get the picture. Once you step in empty handed, there's no turning back. There will be a book there for you, and it will be calling your wallet. Lucky for me, by the time I left, I sadly realized my infatuation with food overshadowed my love for decor, and I never even ventured into the design section. So Jane Brocket's Gentle Art of Domesticity came home with me, and it was only eight bux. Cheapest date I ever had come home, that's for sure.

Well the night had to come to a close eventually, after all, The Bachelorette wasn't going to watch itself. As I headed toward the escalator with my bargain bin find, leaving the others with their $25 price tag in the dust (sorry Martha) I came across...what was this..a secret alleyway with even more food books!? Oh my, someone knew about my addiction and they were playing Inception puppetry with me. Well, I didn't want to be rude of course, whoever was mastering this little rat maze, I obliged and settled down in a little nest cove with more books than could fit in my basket. Magnolias Cookbook, Baked, Amy's Bread Cookbook and a few others were the best kind of torture. I knew I couldn't buy them all, neither did I want to (Magnolias...ughh) but at that moment I knew...this was my chance....my chance for incomparable research and a bake test experience for the ages. So yes I did read over a hundred pages of recipes in one sitting, and yes I did copy them all down along with tips and tricks straight from the horse's mouth, and yes I have them all for you and can't wait to get in the kitchen to finally find...just who has the best damn cupcake!

So I want to know, who do you guys think has the best cupcake recipe? And don't worry, the baking test and recipes will all be posted here in the next few days!

7 comments

  1. my favorite vanilla cupcake recipe comes from magnolia bakery cookbook but every recipes from baked book are big hit :D
    i love them both :p

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  2. @rookie, i know! this infamous vanilla recipe from magnolias haunts me, so i have ti finally try it and see if its dry or good. and Baked is awesome! ive heard just the same as you said :)

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  3. OMG, do I know how you feel! I'm seriously addicted to 4 things in life: fashion, travel, books and food.

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  4. I know how you feel! I have to stop myself going into book shops because I know exactly whats going to happen. (and for some reason I can only buy books in threes....some weird OCD thing, I know.)

    oooh and ps I love the phrase 'Inception puppetry'!

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  5. Magnolia Bakery is king with cupcakes!

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  6. haha i have had a very similar experience... where I physically jump up and down in a bookstore, but I like to get in and get out now {bc I tend to get carried away if I stay too long}

    as for cupcake recipes, I am kinda obsessed with http://mingmakescupcakes.yolasite.com/

    shes great and I just blogged about her lemon meringue just last week ;)

    mp
    http://www.thepinkandblueblog.com/

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  7. girl. I love.your.site.
    This is all so pretty and foodie and sweet and lovable! Definitely bookmarked!

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