Confections of a Closet Master Baker can be an abrasive, no-holds-barred memoir about the dark and impersonal underbelly of Hollywood, at times. At others, it is a poignant reminiscence and heartfelt cookbook by a woman who still mourns her mother.
I wouldn’t call it “hilarious.” This memoir is sarcastic and unapologetic about it.
“As a matter of fact, I have only two truisms that I apply to humanity. Never trust anyone who drives an Astro van. And never trust anyone who doesn’t drink beer or coffee unless they have a doctor’s note.” pg 17, ebook.
All the same, I felt privileged to be allowed a glimpse into the highly-introverted life of a woman who described herself as so socially adverse that she believes she’s “pathologically shy with severe misanthropic tendencies.” pg 24, ebook.
I saw the title of this ebook and checked it out of the online library without noticing the name of the author. She kept mentioning, “my famous sister” and “Sandy.” I thought, did Sandy Duncan have a sister? and then felt like an idiot when I enlarged the cover and saw the hyphenated last name. Duh, Heidi.
“Each year, I wrestled with the knowledge that no matter how well I did my job, no one looked at me as anything but “her sister” with nothing to offer but a fancy job title born of nepotism and access to a movie star.” pg 100, ebook.
Gesine carries some serious angst about her Hollywood experience. She needed a life change, so she moved to Vermont and opened a bakery.
“No road rage, no cell phones, no fake tits or tans, no prestige handbags, no billboards, no stoplights, no braking, no traffic, no nothing. Welcome to Vermont. Just heaven.” pg 13, ebook.
Serious bakers may find a lot to love as Gesine includes many of her customer favorite recipes after each chapter.
Personally, I loved learning about what it’s like to have an A-list sibling. Gesine’s story about baking Sandra’s wedding cake was my favorite.
She also includes personal details about her childhood and relationship with her mother. “I saw the devil at age three and he gave me chocolate. It changed my life forever.” pg 5, ebook.
A large part of the complicated relationship Gesine had with her mother was about food. Her mother was a German opera singer and a strict vegan. She adhered to a restrictive diet and ate foods that Gesine thought were disgusting.
Sadly, she died of colon cancer. Gesine is still devastated by that. Her mother did everything she could to exercise and eat right, and it didn’t seem to matter.
Gesine seemed to swing the other direction and celebrate sugar, butter and all manner of naughty baked goods. Part of that is because she was raised on such a strict diet as a child. The other part is, baking is what she loves to do and how she shows love to others.
Confections of a Closet Master Baker is not for the faint of heart. Don’t read it if you’re easily offended because she doesn’t hold back. I think Gesine would approve of this sentiment: if you can’t stand the heat, then get out of the kitchen.
Thanks for reading!