I was never going to buy another cookery book. Never ever. For a start the bookshelves in my kitchen, of which incidentally I am inordinately proud of having assembled from an IKEA flat pack, are stuffed to capacity. I was especially not going to buy another cookery book with instructions for making cakes because I must already have a zillion recipes for sweet confections. And as for buying a cookery book with a saturated pink cover which has a photograph featuring a cheesecake with a lurid lime-green topping made from jelly – now that would be totally out of the question.
So why then did I end up buying best-selling author Marian Keyes’s Saved by Cake? Here’s how. Usually when I am flicking through a cookery book and indecisively mulling over in my mind whether I should buy it or not, what swings the indecision meter to purchase is discovering a recipe in the book that I haven’t come across before. With Saved by Cake it wasn’t a recipe but the unique introduction that sent me scurrying to the till.
You see, the introduction Marian Keyes wrote to Saved by Cake is an account of her formidable battle with a crippling, long-lasting and a still ongoing bout of depression. It’s an endearingly honest account of her struggle and the suicidal thoughts that plagued her. She spent time in a psychiatric hospital and tried to cure herself using a plethora of different things including: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, reiki, meditation, B12 injection … Nothing worked until she discovered baking, she points out that baking hasn’t ‘cured’ her but that it gets her through. She says in the intorduction “My challenge – everyone’s challenge – is about living through today and I find that baking passes the time. To be perfectly blunt about it, my choice sometimes is: I can kill myself or I can make a dozen cupcakes. Right so, I’ll do the cupcakes and I can kill myself tomorrow”.
I am prone, like the rest of humanity, to occasional low moods. However I am lucky not to suffer from nihilistic despair, but I can well imagine that those who do might be very grateful to Marian Keyes for outing herself and putting depression more out there as a subject for discussion. Naturally she points out that baking will not work for everyone but perhaps that it did for her might just give some solace to those seeking a distraction to get them through a fragmented day that there may well be that yet undiscovered thing that will work for them.
Saved by Cake is in no way a gloomy cookery book; au contraire it is life affirming and enhancing. And guess what despite my stash of recipes I came across a few in the book that I hadn’t seen before. I have yet to bake it but I suspect I will like a lot the Three Milks Cake (aka A hug in a Cake), described as the perfect cake for when you have had a bad shock.
9 responses to “Saved by Cake”
Wow, that’s an unusual opening to a cookbook. I don’t buy many (I think I have 3 total and one is appropriately titled, “How to Boil Water.”)
Hi Elia and thanks for your comment. It is an unusual opening to a cookbook but a very good one. I like ‘How to Boil Water’ as a title for a cookbook – it made me smile.
It was a Christmas gift… seeing as how I’ve actually failed boiling water… multiple times… with supervision.
My only attempt at baking turned into an Ode to Bill Cosby post. 😉 http://ermiliablog.wordpress.com/2011/10/29/ode-to-bill-cosby-chocolate-cake-for-breakfast/
Wow.. that’s really an unusual cookbook for sure! I think there is so much comfort in baking, I know it is for me.. when I bake it’s methodical and time slows down.. I usually have music going and it’s a huge escape and at the end you’ve created something! Good for her to write this up and great to support her by buying her book!
It is really unusual for a cookbook isn’t it – I really admire her for discussing her depression so openly so yes good for her indeed. I love to bake too (and also love to cook in general) I agree baking slows time down. The thing I need to keep in mind when I am manning the kitchen is that my waistline, such as it is, could so very easily be ‘ruined’ by cake!
Hi B – I just had to leave a comment when I read the word “cake”! Being a complete addict to baking, I can understand the merits of using it as a tool to help banish bad thoughts. I admire Marion Keyes for her frankness though I have yet to buy her book. Finding a space on my far too crowded kitchen shelves is the problem.
By the way, look no further than your own blog for a fabulous biscuit recipe! I have made the biscuits several times with great praise each time from my family. Hx
I am very pleased to get a comment from a cake-maker extrordinaire. I too greatly admire Marian Keyes for her frankness.
I had almost forgotten about the biscuit recipe I must bake up another batch: altho at the rate I am consuming ‘sweet treats’ at the moment I fear my only way of burning off the extra mountain of calories will be to run non stop around Ireland. B xo
It sounds as if it would be interesting just to read.
It is. It’s also cheering; I love some of the the recipe titles such as Defibrillator Cubes and Slightly Sinister Star Anise Cupcakes.