Cecelia's Reviews > Friendship Bread

Friendship Bread by Darien Gee
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's review
May 28, 2011

really liked it
Read in May, 2011


Please note that this is a secular title.

Have you ever made Amish Friendship Bread (or any other type of bread, like sourdough) that required a starter? If so, did you like it? How did it turn out?

Friendship Bread by Darien Gee

My thoughts? I can honestly say that I've never read a book quite like this, and I mean that in a good way. Julia is still reeling from the unexpected death of her ten year old son - five years ago. She blames her sister Livvy for her son's death and as a result of her grief, she becomes estranged from the residents of Avalon, as well as her husband, Mark. Mark finds that he needs to pick up the slack around their home since Julia no longer works and spends most of her time grieving. He's tired of being the good guy and finds himself somewhat flattered when a woman from the office starts paying attention to him.

Julia bonds with Hannah (a recently divorced professional cellist) and Madeline (the owner of the new tea shop). These women help Julia to heal.

The premise of the Friendship Bread is what drew me to this book in the first place. If you've been reading my blog long enough, you'll know that I love blogging about food and fiction, and this book is a unique mix between the two. This book was written in the present tense and there are about 20 (or more) points of view - but this style of writing worked for this type of book. Some of the characters only have a point of view for a few pages, and then you never hear about these characters again. The only on-going characters are the ones mentioned in the book summary above as well as Edie (a reporter), Edie's husband, and Livvy's husband.

The way the story plays out, with the community banning together, the friendship bread starter being passed on from person to person, is truly unique, sometimes funny, and emotional - causing a bond between the Avalon community.

Reading this book has made me want to do my own starter and bake a batch of Amish Friendship Bread for myself. After you do the starter, you bake the bread in ten days. During that ten-day period, you squeeze the bag of starter and add ingredients on a few of those days. The starter ferments and when you bake the bread, you pass on three of the bags of starter to friends or relatives. My only problem? I have no idea to whom I'd gift those extra bags of starter! I guess I could give one to my sister? Or maybe my mom? The town of Avalon soon became overflowing with starter bags, and I can understand how this would happen. You can find the recipes for the Amish Friendship Bread starter here. You can also use the starter to make brownies, pancakes, biscuits, as well as several variations of the Amish Friendship Bread.

The starter reminded me of the sourdough starter that was mentioned in my bread-machine cookbook.

When I do the Amish Friendship Bread starter, I'll be sure to blog about it.

As I stated earlier, this is a secular title. There was some mild cursing and a few people living together, but otherwise, there wasn't a whole lot that would offend the Christian reader.

Have you ever made Amish Friendship Bread (or any other type of bread, like sourdough) that required a starter? If so, did you like it? How did it turn out?

~Cecelia Dowdy~

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