Synopses & Reviews
"These marvelous recipes are so well articulated that you know you're in the best of hands. But they are also a cultural gift, one that reminds us that America's colorful forms and flavors come from those who left their countries, but not their baking traditions. This is a close and joyful look, aimed through the lens of baking, at who we are as a nation."
—Deborah Madison, author of Local Flavors
"A Baker's Odyssey is a fascinating book. Not only is this an amazing collection of heirloom recipes, but there are master lessons in baking. Pastry chefs as well as home bakers will adore this book. These are priceless authentic recipes."
—Shirley O. Corriher, author of CookWise
"What a wonderful trip into the heart of America through the hands of immigrant women baking memories of all the places they came from in their own American kitchens. Greg Patent's detailed explanations in words and photos allow us the luxury of travel without moving a foot from our stoves."
—Betty fussell, author of Masters of American Cookery
"Don't miss this opportunity to join Greg Patent on his extraordinary pilgrimage to discover the marvels of ethnic baking in the melting pot of America's kitchens. He showcases bakers whose generous spirits and unique recipes inspire us to pass on the traditions of our own worlds of baking."
—Flo Braker, author of The Simple Art of Perfect Baking
"Greg Patent is to American baking what Elizabeth David was to English—a thorough scholar, evocative writer, and, most of all, a first-rate baker."
—Damon Lee Fowler, author of Damon Lee Fowler's New Southern Baking
"I would go anywhere with Greg Patent. I know I am going to learn something interesting about food, not just how to cook something very delicious. But this odyssey is exactly the kind of trip I dream about. He takes us into the kitchens and cultures of so many different people, Americans who are often keeping up traditions lost even in their ancestral countries. Thank you, Greg."
—Arthur Schwartz, www.thefoodmaven.com
After his successful, award-winning Baking in America
, Patent, an immigrant himself, now features recipes from others who journeyed to the United States. Included are bakers from Germany, Italy, Norway, Portugal, and even Australia, Slovenia, Wales, and West Africa; Patent traveled the country to work with over 60 home bakers. The majority of the baked goods are sweet, but there are savory pastries, yeast breads, and pies. An introduction to each recipe includes information about its origin and the current baker. The instructions are clear, with alternate versions for mixing by a stand mixer or a food processor, or by hand. The accompanying DVD (not seen) gives instructions for making strudel, pretzels, cannoli, Swedish saffron rolls, and more. Much of the baking is not for the calorie-conscious and contains lots of butter, sugar, eggs, and heavy cream. This is a marvelous resource for bakers interested in the cultural heritage of our immigrant nation. Recommended for all cookbook collections. (Library Journal
, February 1, 2008)
Patent, a baker, teacher and James Beard Award winner (for 2002’s Baking in America), examines the baking traditions of Iraq, Norway, Germany, India and other countries in order to illuminate the ways in which different cultures bake alike. Recipes are organized by cooking style instead of nationality, allowing home cooks to see the connections between regional specialties; for instance, New Orleanian Calas, fried puffs traditionally sold on winter sidewalks, are grouped with sweet Nigerian Chin-Chin and Italian Zeppole, the sugar-dusted fritters traditionally dished out at St Joseph's Day celebrations. Other baked goods share more complicated techniques: Hungary's Rigo Jancsi is a triple chocolate cake filled with thick chocolate cream and iced with semisweet chocolate glaze, while its cousin, French Gateau Basque, comprises an egg-rich pastry stuffed with thick vanilla cream. Those who like their baked goods on the savory side will delight in treats like Kleecha, delicious Syrian rolls flavored with clove, caraway and anise. More simple, but no less satisfying, are Norwegian Whole Wheat Oatmeal Loves, which smell like toasted joy coming out of the oven. This cookbook also comes with a DVD featuring useful show-and-tell examples of pretzel-making and cannoli-stuffing. (Jan.) (Publishers Weekly (Online Edition), January 2008)
"In this book, I'm embarking on a different path, focusing on finding recipes that preserve the tastes and memories of a long-departed place."
A Baker's Odyssey is a rich collection of recipes and culinary history, all gleaned from Patent's exhaustive research in the American home kitchens of immigrants from around the world. Through his travels across the country, Patent learned the secrets to traditional baked goods originating from thirty-two different nations. From Scotland and Austria to India and Thailand to Mexico, Norway, and West Africa, the recipes represent the best of each culture's beloved culinary traditions. Chapters are organized by categories of baked goods, and include Fried Pastries and Doughs, Flatbreads and More, Savory Pastries, Sweet Pastries, Savory Yeast Breads and Pies, Sweet Yeast Breads, Cookies and Cookie-Like Pastries, and Dessert Cakes, Tortes, and Pies. Patent provides detailed information on the origin of each recipe and its ingredients, and gives a real sense of the cultural heritage behind each dish. Recipes are easy enough for home cooks of any level to master, and include everything from Jewish Matzoh, Eastern European Rugelach, and Sweet Irish Soda Bread to Russian Meat Piroshki, Italian Pignoli Cookies, and Chinese-Style Almond Sponge Cake. The book is accompanied by an hour-long DVD in which Patent provides hands-on instruction in making Strudel, Pretzels, Cannoli, Kransakake, and much more.
In his James Beard Award–winning Baking in America, Greg Patent brought to life the 200-year history of American baking. Now, in A Baker's Odyssey
, he celebrates the living traditions of America's immigrant bakers. Preserving recipes is one of the most important ways that immigrants maintain their cultural identity, and even families that came over generations ago still prepare cherished recipes handed down by grandmothers.
Visiting the kitchens of more than five dozen master home bakers around the country, Patent discovered the baking secrets of thirty diverse cultures, from Austria, Norway, and Italy to Mexico, India, and Nigeria. He observed techniques, recorded recipes, and learned the cultural significance of each baked good he saw prepared. The more than 130 recipes he shares in the book represent the best of each culture's beloved culinary heritage—and pay tribute to the marvelous gastronomic diversity of America today.
With this book as your guide, you can embark on a grand tour of baking around the world that will delight your family and friends. You'll encounter sweet and savory favorites such as Eastern European Rugelach, Sweet Irish Soda Bread, Chinese-Style Almond Sponge Cake, Italian Pignoli Cookies,Indian Chapati, Syrian Savory Bracelets, the Original Shoofly Pie, and Portuguese Empadas, to name just a few. To help you get started, Patent includes a special one-hour DVD that demonstrates key baking skills, including general baking techniques and the step-by-step methods for making Cannoli, Matzoh, Thai Shrimp and Bean Sprout Fritters, Apple Strudel, Pretzels, Swedish Saffron Rolls, Krumkaker, Kransekake, and Hungarian Walnut Torte. Complete with detailed notes on the origins and significance of each dish and thirty-two beautiful color photographs, A Baker's Odyssey is a bountiful gift that will open up a world of baking possibilities.
About the Author
was born in Hong Kong, spent his early childhood in Shanghai, and immigrated to the United States with his family when he was eleven. He earned a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and became a full professor of zoology at the University of Montana before leaving to pursue a career in cooking, his first love. He is a veteran baker, cooking teacher, and cookbook author whose books include the James Beard Award–winning Baking in America, which was also named "Best of the Best" by Food & Wine magazine. He was a longtime contributing editor to Cooking Light
and also has written articles for Gastronomica
and Fine Cooking
. He lives in Missoula, Montana, with his wife, Dorothy.
Photographer KELLY GORHAM began his professional career in 1995 after earning a bachelor's degree in photography from Montana State University. He has since worked as a staff photographer for newspapers in Montana and Nevada and as a corporate photographer in the Seattle area. Since 2003, he has been a freelance photographer based from his home state of Montana.
Videographer DAVID McLEAN has worked in film and video production for more than thirty years. He has worked in broadcast television as a production manager and producer. He has also filmed footage for CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS, and the ZDF network in Germany and worked as a freelance producer for wildlife and outdoor programs. He produced, shot, and edited a series of twenty-six half-hour cooking shows for TV sponsored by Cuisinart.
Table of Contents
The Bakers and Their Contributions.
1. Fried Sweet Pastries and Doughs.
2. Flatbreads and More.
3. Savory Pastries.
4. Sweet Pastries.
5. Savory Yeast Breads and Pies.
6. Sweet Yeast Breads.
8. Cakes, Tortes, Pies, and Other Desserts.
9. Basic Recipes.
Index of Recipes by Country or Region.
Index of Mail Order Sources by Company.
Index of Mail Order Sources by Specialty Ingredient.