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Warm Bread and Honey Cake
Home Baking from Around the World
Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra; photography by Vanessa Courtier

published 2009 • 7 ½” x 9 ¾” • 320 pages • full-color photos
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Guild of Food Writers Award Winner COOKERY BOOK OF THE YEAR

Baking is one of life’s pleasures—few can resist the comforting smell of freshly baked bread, the warmth of spices, sticky cakes, or oozing pastries.

Containing a mix of familiar family favorites and unusual, exotic delicacies, this comprehensive collection of recipes for breads, cakes, biscuits and pastries is also a well-researched exploration of home-baking techniques and global ethnic history. Inspired by her multicultural background the author has drawn inspiration from all over the world, including Europe, the Middle East, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America.

All the recipes are simple to follow and beautifully photographed, with any unusual techniques illustrated step-by-step for ease. Try your hand at Azorean honey cake or Jamaican hard dough bread. Let your family’s taste buds thrill to Azerbaijani cream cheese baklava or Dutch brown sugar coils.

The combination of delicious recipes and fascinating historical and anecdotal text make this book a fantastic read—a must for any home cook looking to truly broaden their repertoire or with an interest in the culture of food.

Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra has a multicultural background—in her own words she is “a convent-attending Guyanese Hindu of Indian ancestry, who was educated in North America and Europe and subsequently married into a European Jewish family.” A food historian and freelance translator, she is the author of Windmills in my Oven on Dutch baking. In 2000, she received the Sophie Coe Award for Food History, presented by the Oxford Symposium on Food and Cookery. She now lives in the Netherlands.

Vanessa Courtier is a much sought-after London-based photographer specializing in all aspects of food. Her work has appeared in many books including: Pie by Angela Boggiano, Modern Mezze by Anissa Helou, Indian Food Made Easy and Anjum's New Indian both by Anjum Anand, and The Real Taste of Spain by Jenny Chandler. Her magazine work includes Observer Food Monthly, The Saturday Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph, Delicious, and Stella magazine.

Media Reviews

"Among the latest crop of new baking books, the hands-down winner is undoubtedly Warm Bread and Honey Cake: Home Baking from Around the World, by Gaitri Pagrach-Chandra (Interlink Books, $35.00). Painstakingly researched and lovingly written, Warm Bread deserves a place on the bookshelf of everyone who loves to bake. Exposed to multicultural influences at an early age in her native Guyana, Pagrach-Chandra developed both a love of baking and a fascination with investigating the cultural background of the recipes she collected. And though she is a winner of the prestigious Sophie Coe Prize (the Oscars of the food history world) for outstanding research, there is no high-handed academic prose here. She has written in a friendly and informative tone -- like a favorite cousin giving you the background of a family recipe and then accurately describing the steps to a perfect result. The dizzying assortment of recipes covers everything from Indian breads through Dutch cookies to Chilean cakes. Savory pastries occupy an important place along with traditional sweets, and there is an entire chapter devoted to leaf and thread pastries, including real Turkish baklava, strudel and shredded wheat-style kadayif. Appetizing photos of many of the recipes are styled to look homey rather than slick and are interspersed with some location shots of baked goods in their native environment. Warm Bread and Honey Cake provides not only a fascinating read but also a collection of recipes that you -- or the baker on your holiday gift list -- will return to for years to come."
—Nick Malgieri

"...just the kind of book to pull out on a Sunday morning and find a perfect recipe for lunch or brunch or dinner. It entices because it not only has a global reach, but the recipes are juxtaposed as they would be in your mind had you traveled and collected recipes and memories. You’ll find recipes from China next to Arab or Greek treats. It will be hard to decide which to make first."

"Bakery recipes go straight to the heart of a cuisine. They bookend both ends of the edible spectrum: at one end the basic staff of life, in the form of plain, everyday flatbreads or sourdough loaves, and at the other, the most indulgent and extravagant special-occasion and celebration cakes. This book brings together that whole spectrum, and layers it all richly with well researched historical reference.
The author ... ably puts this collection of recipes from the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Americas into a historical context, all the while enticing the reader with the conjured-up aromas and flavours of coconut, chocolate, honey and spices.
...carefully written recipes ... as well as sumptuous photography. An intelligent and beautiful book that rewards both reading and eating."
—Susan Low, Time Out London

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