Breakfast, Lunch, Tea: The Many Little Meals of Rose Bakery by Rose Carrarini Phaidon Press, 2006
Growing up, I wrote a lot: various diaries, short stories, and of course, there was livejournal. But when it comes to writing something less emotional and a little more concise I seem to pull out every trick I know to procrastinate. Yet I still have a strong desire to share some of the cookbooks I've come across. Many have been instrumental in shaping what kind of baker I'd like to be and what kind of bakery I'd like to open in the future. My hope is that these books can bring a fraction of the enjoyment they've brought me. (Plus, you can skip out on a lot of duds I've come across!)
Breakfast, Lunch, Tea was one of the first books I purchased when I started getting more serious about turning baking into a career. With a title like that, how can you resist? Rose Bakery is an Anglo-French bakery and restaurant based in Paris founded by Rose Carrarini and her husband Jean-Charles. My favorite things to eat are brunch and desserts and this cookbook is the perfect combination of the two. But it wasn't just the recipes that drew me in but the philosophy behind how the bakery is run, that "life is improved by great food and great food can be achieved by everyone."
The book is divided into three sections with (most obviously) breakfast, lunch, and tea recipes. Breakfast includes a variety of fruit salads, pancakes, and scones. Lunch offers soups, savory pastries, and some meat based main courses. And my favorite section, tea, includes a multitude of tarts, cakes cookies, and puddings. Much to my liking, this is largest portion of the book.
Right from the start Ms. Carrarini explains that she uses the least amount of sugar needed in a recipe until it's just right. There are plenty of health cook books and most certainly unhealthy dessert books, but this one straddles the line perfectly. I don't ever feel like I'm trying to fool myself into eating something healthier than it really is but I'm not getting a toothache either. In addition to these not-so-sweet treats are a scattering of gluten free and vegan options as well.
Admittedly, I have only tried the sweet recipes and have had nothing but success. Each recipe is given in weighted and volume measurements, but I would still recommend investing in a scale if you haven't already! Directions are clear and concise, never leaving you to second guess what the next step is.
One of the most important aspects of a cookbook (to me) is the aesthetics. I'm not going to be eager to open up a book if it's overwhelmed with busy images and overly designed pages. If you feel this way too, then Breakfast Lunch Tea is a breath of fresh air. As much as I love beautifully styled food photographs, it's always a pleasure to see "behind the scenes" photos. And that's exactly how I feel when I thumb through Breakfast Lunch Tea; it's as if I'm taking a peek into their bustling cafe and kitchen. In addition, the layout and design is notably clean without any frills or embellishments. Just simply and beautifully typeset.
Simply put, if the name of the title speaks to you then this book should be added to your library immediately.