Butter and sugar have taken a beating in the news lately. Southern cooks are fair game too. East and West coast chefs just know better; be discreet rather than brag about the copious quantities of same such ingredients they employ to create those towering cakes spackled with buttercream bows and blooms.
So with that said, I heartily recommend reading the new Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook. You might even bake from it too. I know you won't make a steady diet of the scrumptious goodies contained within. But every now and then, a little treat that summons up the edible equivalent of a warm, pillowy grandma hug is just what a body, and soul needs.
Cheryl and Griff Day (Griff's a great cook originally from NE Mpls) of the cleverly named Savannah bakery know that too. They serve up delightful creations with the express purpose of evoking that essence of grandma's kitchen. That family feeling is surely behind the success of their venture. The bakery keeps them so busy they even got married there in between baking shifts.
Pastel pink sprinkles hand-tinted to match the frosting on all the cupcakes.
However more than likely, you're like me and you read cookbooks like lit, more yummy memoir, more ambrosial biography than how-to tutorial. Written by my daughter's friend, the lovely and talented Amy Condon Paige, their voices shine through sharing sweet tales of learning to bake at their grandmother's sides.
Back in the Day Bakery braved the urban frontier of lower Bull Street in Savannah Ga, taking a run down corner store and transforming it into a community jewel with vintage baking kitchenalia; easy-bake ovens, stand mixers and bread boxes. Retro-kerchiefed young women, most likely local art students, serve up unique savory sandwiches and buttery baked goods on sturdy, well-worn, cute crockery.
That's the neighborhood mounted police waiting for their colleague to bring out the goodies for eating on-the-hoof.
I will personally vouch for the banana pudding, it's otherworldly. The lavender cookies have just the right touch of herb-flavor without getting perfumy. The coconut cream pie is solid gold. The bread pudding is heartwarmingly satisfying. The cupcakes are way better than the ubiquitous cupcake store fare found nowadays. Need I go on?
It's available for order at local bookstores and at Amazon and all the usual online sources.
For another great read, go over to The Garden Buzz to see my review of The Dirt on Jane, by Jane Fishman. So much more than a garden-variety memoir, it's a story about aging, fear of aging and forgiveness sensitively written by this self-described folk gardener.