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Recipe for Life

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  1,039 ratings  ·  126 reviews
Mary Berry has shared her skills, experience and tips through a varied and fascinating career, yet few people know the professional and personal story behind her success. Now, in her inspiring, charming and life-affirming memoir, Mary tells us about her life - a life in some ways reassuringly ordinary, yet at the same time completely extraordinary.
368 pages
Published (first published September 12th 2013)
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  1,039 ratings  ·  126 reviews

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Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: audiobook

No journey, especially one of biographies, is complete without some light fare along the way, which is amply provided with this memoir by Mary Berry. For those who are not familiar with this most splendid woman, she has come to be known as the Queen of Cookery in Britain, though her journey to that pedestal was highly entertaining and captivating in a life filled with twists. Born into a modest family, Berry was the middle of three children and
As a more recent huge fan of The Great British Baking Show, I am pretty new to the Mary Berry fan club. She was a judge on that show, alongside Paul Hollywood, and she was fantastic in that roll. She remained kind, even as contestants produced less than stellar baked goods to be judged.

I became interested in Mary Berry's life. She presents, in every aspect, the very definition of the word "lady". An octogenarian, she was also named one of the Best Dressed in the UK at one time. She is neat as a
Jan 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I first 'met' Mary Berry when Pamela, my wife, give me a copy of her Complete Cookbook as a Christmas present in 2011. I had been advised by both my GP and my employers' medical advisor to take up a hobby, and I chose cooking! Since then I have purchased 2 further Mary Berry cookbooks and 2 cookbooks where she has collaborated with Lucy Young.

Now why do I tell you this? Simply because the Mary Berry I 'met' professionally in her cookbooks, is the self-same Mary Berry I have now 'met' personally
Melinda Elizabeth
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing

How can anyone give Mary Berry a bad book review? Having watched many a series of “Bake Off”, I’ve come to love her pithy comments and excitement when she’s digging in to a piece of cake – a trait I can certainly relate to! So it’s with much curiosity that I picked up Mary Berry’s biography to find out more about her chosen food path.

Mary is self deprecating and humble throughout, and with every chapter to read, a more whole, charming picture is created of what a human dynamo Mary is. From contr
Jane Ostler
Oct 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book because her positive mental attitude suffuses every page. A book to chase away the gremlins, it is a perfect 'Mum knows best' sort of read. Faced with difficulties and tribulations Mary picks herself up, keeps calm and carries on. If you are in need of a pick me up then read this. Shedding light on the '60s from her point of view, allowing us into her beautiful homes, and clearly outlining her moral codes of conduct, she has an unashamed way of celebrating her talent and those ...more
While I am aware of who Mary Berry is, I've never watched her in The Great British Bake Off, or seen her in anything else. I've not even come across one of her cookbooks. The latter maybe not so much of a surprise, as cooking is not really my thing.

This was one of those books that was given to me and I'm glad it was, as I would never have picked this up in a shop. I often find autobiographies about people I don't really know, much better than those I do. This was no exception and I loved readi
Nov 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is a very nice read, just like Mary herself. If you’re a fan of the bake off then I would recommend. It includes some great recipes as well.
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
A true pleasure, I haven't enjoyed a book this much in a long time. I cannot recommend this book enough, everyone should read it at some point - even if GBBO isn't your cup of tea. Even better listen to Patricia Hodge's flawless narration. The most comforting, soothing and heart warming read I've probably ever had. Honestly, read this book and let Mary Berry into your heart. ...more
Jun 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
I only chose this book because I am doing the pop sugar reading challenge and I needed to read an autobiography and it was in the library! However, I have really enjoyed it. It is a very honest book, Mary tells it like it is but kindly! She is frank about herself and her lack of academic achievements at school, (this would probably be a good book for any one who has failed their exams, especially considering her fantastic career). Very honest about her children, they weren't angels (are any chil ...more
Oct 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I can't believe it but I do have Hamlyns All Colour cookbook. ...more
Hannah Polley
I loved Mary Berry on Bake Off so was interested to read her autobiography. She certainly had the best start in life - her childhood home is huge! - but she has worked so hard to get to where she is. Starting out as the person that came to your home and demo'ed your electric oven, to working on a magazine, to Bake Off, she has done so well. I didn't know much about Mary Berry before Bake Off so it was lovely to read about the career she had before the programme as well.

I didn't know that she ha
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book. Mary Berry is so positive and up-beat, so genuinely nice. Her hard work and love of cooking and baking are admirable, and her recipes are ones I will be trying out for my family.
Aug 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ngl this book was ICONIC, it was v interesting so yah

Fun fact Mary berry’s first horse was called Susan
Jun 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Mary Berry's autobiography is an interesting window into the charming life of a well-bred English woman who, although she has been in the public eye on and off for 40+ years, has just within the past five years become a genuine celebrity through-out many nations. This year she turned 82; at the time of publication she was 78, so it is true that "it's never too late!"
I enjoyed learning about her early life in and around Bath. She reminds me somewhat of my own mother in her can-do attitude towards
Sep 23, 2016 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoirs
Note: I'm reading this as my bedtime book, for which it is absolutely perfect: charming, absorbing and low-tension. It's also SO distinctively written in her voice - I can practically hear her reading it out loud as I read my paperback copy.

And people who've read my own Renegade Magic/A Tangle of Magicks will completely understand why this is my favorite anecdote so far:

"Later we had a miniature dachshund that had back problems and lost the use of its hind legs, so Dad bandaged its legs in old s
Kerrie O'Neill
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am glad I read this book and enjoyed learning more about Mary and her life. Being afan of hers and bake off I expected to enjoy it. I was surprized at some of her attutides but it's important to remember she is a product of her generation and I appreciate her honesty! This one stand out as an example of her attitude "I find it incredible that people will go to their GP's surgery for the most minor things; they seem to think it is part of their rights, but it's a waste of everyone's time" (Oh M ...more
Jan Fisher
Jan 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great book. I thought it would be similar to the tv programme about her life, but it was much more, very enjoyable, at times I laughed and at times I could have cried. An amazing woman!
I think I love Mary Berry just a little bit more now. She's wonderful :) ...more
Sophie Jones
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I first discovered Mary back in 2014 when I watched ‘The Great British Bake Off’ for the very first time. She came across as the kindest and sweetest individual and I admire that she always holds herself with charm and grace. Ever since the Bake Off I have been captivated by Mary's baking skills and have consequently immersed myself in her cookery books and watched her programmes religiously. Over the past few years Mary has become one of my main inspirations. However, before reading her autobio ...more
Mar 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Naomi by: Christy Veeder
My sister-in-law gifted me Mary Berry's autobiography, Recipe for Life, and it was just a joy to read! I've been a big fan of The Great British Baking Show (that's the American title for The Great British Bake Off), so it was such fun to read about Mary's life. I knew absolutely nothing about her other than that she was a sweet but firm judger of cakes, so it was all great fun to learn.

I was really impressed by her hard-working attitude (despite describing herself and not being good at school).
Melissa Lee-Tammeus
Jan 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I purposely chose this book as my first book to read in 2018 as I wanted to start off with something inspirational, respectable, and calming. This book did not disappoint. Mary Berry is everything you think she is and more. She writes as if you are just sitting down with her and having a chat and it feels oh so welcoming, prim and proper, and is just jolly good fun. I say all this because you really can't help talking like that - and wanting to continue to talk like that - after reading this boo ...more
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: physical-books
I'm not going to do a pro/con list for this one like I normally do with reviews but instead, I'm just going to briefly touch on how I felt about this book.

I'm a big fan of cooking memoirs, cooking shows and Mary Berry in general so I know that I would enjoy her autobiography. Even if you're not too keen on the first two but just want to know more about Mary's life in general, I think she did a really good job in keeping it accessible to people who might not necessarily be overly enthusiastic abo
Joanne Craig
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Although this is simply written, this autobiography is remarkable to read. It is positively hopeful and optimistic and equally honest. Mary Berry has certainly been fortunate in her career, however I suspect her luck has be down to her kind, happy nature. Furthermore, she offers wisdom in times of tragedy. Her story allows one to adjust one's own thinking. Her charmed life has not been down to luck, it has been down to her determined yet kind personality, and perhaps a little to time and place w ...more
Mar 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There was not much surprising here. Mary Berry seems to she appears on the Great British Bakeoff. And, well, I feel a little bad rating it two stars because I'm not exactly sure what I thought it would be that it wasn't. There were lots of pictures and a pretty good detailing of her life, I guess it just didn't come across as very interesting. She lived through the war but nothing really interesting to tell there. It was very friendly, everyone seemed to be her best friend. Not ...more
Sep 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: autobiography
A delight. I love her anyway, and this was the perfect vacation read. Profusely illustrated, which was great, and entertaining along the way (with a few recipes thrown in for good measure). Since Mary Berry would point out when my mirror glaze was less than shiny or my jam too thick and sweet, I will say that at least her copy editor should've fix all the I/me errors. And here was the dumb old Yank thinking that was just an American error. Hah. But that's a small nit to pick - I enjoyed it a lot ...more
Jan 29, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this, but it was very slow. There were recipes slipped in here and there at the end of chapters which was nice, especially as many of them were old family recipes. It was interesting in that Mary Berry lived through an era which has long gone. Towards the end it was written as she was living it, which unfortunately does date, for example she's no longer doing bake off, so this could do with an update. Difficult subject matter was well written and she came across extremely likeable and ea ...more
Gill Ní Choileáin
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
One of the most heartwarming books I've read in my life. Such a wonderful first hand account of a normal persons life and the eventual rise to fame. She is so understated and shy, no over the top dramatics or stories. She has overcome huge personal loss in her life, but has continued on to become the person we all know and love today. Very heartwarming. I was in floods of tears twice while reading. The first thing I did when I finished it was ring my mam to recommend she takes it out from the li ...more
Anne Morgan
Mar 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a lovely book and I enjoyed it thoroughly. Mary describes the ups and downs of her life, living in Bath during World War II, contracting polio, getting jobs despite being shy, and many many more things- including the beginning of the Great British Bake Off. What I loved most was that the book is written just as if she were sitting there talking to you, you can hear her voice in every word. Mary's enthusiasm for cooking, love of family, and devotion to doing a good job and working hard c ...more
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Any other "British Bake Off" fans out there? This books is a breezy autobiography from Mary Berry, one of the show's star judges. Not knowing her previous careers, this book was both entertaining and enlightening. We were in London last week and the TV had a spot of her at the Chelsea garden show, which was a treat! And many familiar London tube stops were mentioned. The book is written in a very chatty style, not completely linear, but for her fans it is a treat. ...more
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mary Berry, she’s the queen of baking, a total sweetheart and very much missed on the Great British Bake off!
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Mary’s life. She’s been dealt some incredibly tough cards, from Polio at 13 to losing her wonderful son William in tragic circumstances. She is a wonderful lady who has lead a fascinating and very full life.
The recipes at the end of each chapter are a lovely touch. Definitely, another read I’d recommend.
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There are multiple authors in the Goodreads database with this name.

Mary Berry is an English food writer and television presenter. After being encouraged in domestic science classes at school, she went to college to study catering. She then moved to France at the age of 21 to study at Le Cordon Bleu school, before working in a number of cooking-related jobs.

She has published more than seventy cook

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