THE FANNIE FARMER BAKING BOOK by Marion Cunningham

THE FANNIE FARMER BAKING BOOK

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KIRKUS REVIEW

An undistinguished omnium-gatherum of cookies, cakes, pies, yeast and quick breads, and homemade crackers--marketed under the venerable Fannie Farmer label (in the train of the 1979 Fannie Farmer Cookbook, edited by Cunningham and Jeri Laker). On the plus side, things are geared to a fairly canny Middle-American guesstimate: food for ordinary housewives with the usual American sweet tooth and a modest hankering after laurels in the baking department. The selection of recipes includes many basics (angel food cakes, apple pie, American white bread), some regional or historic classics (the Southern sugar-pie family, ""Scripture cake,"" Boston brown bread), some ethnic specialties (German Lebkuchen, Swedish limpa bread), and a few fairly advanced pastries. But it is rather more heavily weighted toward the modern middlebrow: chiffon pies, upside-down cakes, bran-pineapple muffins, zucchini quick bread, oil-based cakes. Most unsatisfying is the variability of Cunningham's taste and judgment, as exemplified in peanut butter cream pie, mayonnaise chocolate cake, creamed oatmeal-walnut pie, and teething biscuits sweetened with honey and sugar. There are also various eclectic inventions--e.g., poached pears baked in a tart pan between layers of ""polenta"" (actually a short crust incorporating both flour and cornmeal)--and many recipes aimed at the health-minded (whole wheat bran carrot cake, triticale bread). Background information is presented pleasantly enough but without great acumen or thoroughness. (The unsalted-vs.-salted butter question is summarily dismissed; regional variations in flour are not mentioned.) Altogether, an uneasy pastiche of elements.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1984
Publisher: Knopf