Paul Hollywood may want to read these books

The ‘Great British Bake Off’ features candidates competing to become the UK’s best home baker. (Photo courtesy of Netflix)

I think Guy Fieri should host the Oscars. Maybe that’s because I think no awards show lives up to the name without good food and well-meaning but equally pleasant commentary that Fieri has a lot of. It’s probably also because, during my forties, I discovered the beauty of cooking and baking shows.

There is one in particular, beyond the bright lights and strong voices of the Food Network, from another continent. Maybe you know it. There are gingham tablecloths, a certain blue-eyed judge who can see straight into your souls, two mischievous sidekicks, “bingate” and a mantra that there will be “no soggy bottoms”: the “Great British Bake Off “
(or GBBO depending on your belief). I was excited when I opened up Twitter to see Netflix announce that a new episode of the series will be released every Friday starting September 24. -recipe too complicated.

My personal culinary talent extends only to the frozen food aisle at Trader Joe’s. My own lack of expertise doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the food. In fact, it’s probably because of my limited recipe expertise that I love food so much. Of course, nowhere are food descriptions as plentiful as books (and cookbooks, I guess).

The first book that makes me want to eat is “This Time Next Year” by Sophie Cousens. It’s full of female friendship, the “where do you see yourself around this time next year?” And, of course, the food. Our main character Minnie Cooper (yes, you read that right) is a boss battling bad luck that has characterized her entire life. At a New Years party that falls on her birthday, she spends the whole night stuck in the bathroom and her rescuer happens to be Quinn Hamilton, who she says stole her chance. This book makes me want to eat because Minnie’s pie company No Hard Fillings is often praised for having the absolute best pies. It’s a sweet book that has its share of big romantic gestures, missed opportunities, and rightly so, more of a reference to GBBO.

You may have heard of poet Elizabeth Acevedo’s freshman novel “The Poet X”, but I think it’s time you also checked out her 2019 novel “With the Fire on High,” which deals with of teenage pregnancy, ambition and adolescence. culinary aspirations. Our main character, Emoni, a high school student, treats cooking like therapy. Emoni hopes to go to Spain to become a chef and cook with her culinary art class, but her child “Babygirl” has changed everything. Instead of the section dividers, each begins with a recipe such as “Emoni’s“ No Use Crying Over Spilled Strawberry Milk ”” and instructions that include “keep on the stove for the duration of three plays of a song by Cardi B “. Acevedo’s prose is as crisp and warm as the line that made up “Poet X” and the book sounds familiar – not because it’s derivative, but because I guess that’s what the food does to you. .

Whenever I hear bubblegum pop on the radio, I immediately remember that I probably have to re-read Jenny Han’s much loved “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”. I’m pretty sure you’ve probably heard this title in connection with adaptation stars Noah Centineo and Lana Condor, but I’m here to remind you (from personal experience) that the book is better! The first installment of Han’s trilogy feels like bubblegum pop, not because it’s pure plush, but because it’s brilliant while also tackling some important issues. If Acevedo’s books scream autumn, Han’s books look like a day between winter and spring. In the first chapter, two of the three sisters make snickerdoodles together, already symbolizing how food brings them together. The plot follows our main character Lara Jean and her five love letters mistakenly sent by a mysterious person and the chaos that ensues. Han writes as if Lara Jean is just talking to the reader about her day over a cup of coffee in a stylish cafe.

The Last Book To Make Me Hungry is actually a longtime favorite that I find woefully underrated. “The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender” by Leslye Walton is a multigenerational story of magical realism for young adults that deserves to grace your “BookTok” feed. He follows a family through many different eras and sorrows. Of course, the image of a French bakery with hot bread and pastries is brought to life by lyrical writing. I’ve never been able to write a consistent review of this book in part because of how it tucked away in my favorite shelf. It’s a perfect read as we head into fall.

If the upcoming pumpkin bread and hot soup season has already invited you back to the world of reading, check out the books above. Maybe by my next column, I’ll have mastered Lara Jean’s snickerdoodles.

Rachel Bernstein is a senior writer on books relating to the arts and entertainment news of the week. His column “Read a book today” is broadcast every other Friday.

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