A daughter's exploration of her mother's life as revealed through her baking.
Hidden among the simple lists of ingredients and directions for everyday foods are surprising stories. In Baking as Biography, Diane Tye considers her mother's recipe collection, reading between the lines of the aging index cards to provide a candid and nuanced portrait of one woman's life as mother, minister's wife, and participant in local Maritime women's networks.
Tye shows that baking was a complex activity for her mother, Laurene, a reluctant but prolific cook. She reads her mother's recipes as one would a diary, reconstructing the multiple meanings of baking to show how it was at once an obligation and a way of resisting the demands of family and community. Uncovering the complex intertwining of identities involved in the production and consumption of food, Tye reveals how ordinary acts and everyday objects are imbued with meaning and memory.
A unique work that is both profoundly personal and intellectually informed, Baking as Biography reminds us of the unwritten social and material ingredients behind even the most straightforward recipes for cookies and squares.