I am both a life long baker and a life long procrastinator. I have certainly engaged in procrastibaking – the baking you do to avoid doing the things you need to do. When I saw Erin Gardner’s Procrastibaking: 100 Recipes for Getting Nothing Done in the Most Delicious Way Possible, on NetGalley, I knew I needed to read it. This is an honest review in exchange for an arc.
There is a lot to love about Procrastibaking and a couple of things I didn’t love. In this age of the internet, there is no real reason to buy a cookbook for what to bake when you are avoiding productivity. Gardner makes sure to add value by including a month by month breakdown of all food holidays in the United States and the recipes that you might use to celebrate the day and not answer emails. Her writing is fun and I enjoyed reading the parts of the books that were not recipes, which is rare for me. Gardner sings the praises of what she calls “active procrastination.” She talks a little bit about the psychology behind procrastination, the creativity active procrastination can inspire, what she learned while procrastinating, and famous procrastinators. She also talks to the kind of baker that is likely to procrastibake – the ones who won’t read her introduction, the ones who aren’t interested in shortcuts, the ones who won’t follow directions and will substitute ingredients willy-nilly. She gives you permission to do so. It’s important to note though that this is where she tells you what to substitute if you need to make a recipe gluten, egg or dairy free.
A lot of the recipes looked fun and delicious. Where I ran into a problem was mostly some of the ingredients. Firstly, some of the recipes call for coconut oil. Don’t bake or cook with coconut oil, it’s bad for you. The other two ingredients I had a problems with are issues of personal taste. I dislike corn syrup and vegetable shortening. I’ve worked in bakeries and I know they get used a lot, but I don’t like the way they taste or feel. I thoroughly dislike American style butter cream with it’s powdered sugar, and I’m certainly not going to add vegetable shortening to that (unless I am asked to accommodate a vegan). Fortunately, I feel free to make substitutions. I don’t consider this a fatal flaw in the book, just more work for me to figure out what I can substitute and what I can ignore. I didn’t love that sometimes Gardner felt like she needed to justify a recipe by calling it healthy. It’s food and food doesn’t have a moral value. I don’t think anyone is going to look for nutritional guidance in a procrastibaking book.
Procrastibaking: 100 Recipes for Getting Nothing Done in the Most Delicious Way Possible would make a great gift cookbook. The recipes range from very simple to complex, from no-bake to bake in stages. I am never going to make my own gummi bears, but the Salty Sailor Blondies are the absolute bee’s knees. I substituted regular pretzels for chocolate covered pretzels and they were delicious. I also used my own buttermilk caramel recipes because I love it and had it on hand. I am also having a great time playing with with the cereal bar recipe (formerly known as Rice Krispie Treats). I made some bars with Cheerios, cinnamon chips, and pecans. Next time I’m going for something with more color.
As I said, you don’t need this cookbook to procrastibake, but it’s fun, worth the money, and might make you a better person.
If I hadn’t procrastibaked in the first place, I wouldn’t be writing this book. If I hadn’t written this book, I likely wouldn’t have explored these new avenues, broadening my knowledge base, expanding my horizons, and improving my eye-shadow blending abilities. Ergo, procrastibaking has made me a better person. I’m confident it can do the same for you. At the very least, you’ll have cookies.