I was 13 years old when I had my heart broken for the first time. Unable to console me, my mother prepared a batch of banana walnut muffins (yesteryear’s equivalent to pink frosted cupcakes) to cheer me up. Food makes us feel better – it can be a cup of soup when we are sick, a power bar after a strenuous workout or a sweet treat to put a smile on your face.
But can baking a batch of brownies help remove heartache? Several new authors believe that there is a correlation between cooking and emotional happiness, especially after a break up. In “I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti” Giulia Meluci, an Italian girl from Brooklyn, cooks her way into men’s hearts and shares her personal, often tumultuous tales of love, loss and letting go. This culinary memoire includes recipes for success and surviving that will make every woman feel better.
From Erin Bolger, a.k.a. “The Happy Baker” comes a new book “A Dater’s Guide to Emotional Baking,” which is filled with decadent dessert recipes that guarantee a happy ending. The collection includes, “It’s Not Me, It’s You Sea Salted Caramels,” “Who Needs a Man on Valentine’s Day Biscotti” plus, “Goodbye Men, Hello Dolly Squares.”
Another author, Nicole Porter, has released “The Break-Up Cookbook: Recipes for Singles Who Aren’t Getting Any … Anymore,” which opens up with a poignant line: “Food is the first thing that ever liked me back.” Like Bolger, Porter’s book is filled not only with recipes but tips on surviving a break up, catering to heart-broken friends and entertaining.
Here are some treats from Erin Bolger and Nicole Porter to cheer you up!
My Mom Didn’t Like You Anyway, Cupcake
By Erin Bolger
2 cups (500 mL) sugar
3/4 cup (175 mL) cocoa
2 cups (500 mL) all purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 mL) baking powder
2 teaspoons (10 mL) baking soda
1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
3/4 cup (175 mL) vegetable oil
2 teaspoons (10 mL) vanilla
1 cup (250 mL) buttermilk
1 cup (250 mL) boiling water
Preheat oven to 350 F (170 C).
Line cupcake tin, makes 18 cupcakes.
In a large bowl sift together dry ingredients. Add eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla and buttermilk. Beat with a mixer on medium speed for a couple of minutes until smooth and silky. Stir in boiling water until blended.
Fill muffin tins with batter; bake in oven for 22 to 25 minutes.
Mom’s best ever icing
1/4 cup (50 mL) butter, softened
2 tablespoons (30 mL) cocoa
2 tablespoons (30 mL) hot water
2 cups (500 mL) icing sugar
Combine the butter, cocoa and hot water. Gradually add the icing sugar until smooth and creamy. Ice the cupcakes and enjoy!
No Banana (I’m a Lady) Pudding
By Nicole Porter
I’m completely aware of the irony of including a banana pudding recipe that doesn’t require bananas in a book about “not getting any,” yet I couldn’t resist for two reasons. First, because I love banana pudding and I make no apologies for my admiration. Second, sometimes a girl gets tired of playing second banana to a moron. However, you can definitely put a banana in your pudding—just don’t confuse it with a commitment.
1 box instant banana cream pudding mix
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups of heavy cream, chilled
½ cup milk
1 loaf of pre-made pound cake
Blend sweetened condensed milk, milk, heavy cream, and instant banana cream pudding mix with an electric mixer until it begins to peak and stiffen.
Set pudding aside to chill for one hour. Separately, slice your pre-made pound cake into chunks and place them on a cookie sheet. Bake your cake chunks in the oven at 275 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. You’re just trying to remove some of the moisture from your cake so your pudding isn’t soggy. Allow your cake to cool then fold the pieces into your banana pudding. Serve.
Note: If you truly want bananas in your banana pudding, add two sliced bananas dipped in lemon juice to this recipe. The lemon juice will keep your fruit from browning prematurely.
EXCERPT FROM “THE BREAK-UP COOKBOOK: RECIPES FOR SINGLES WHO AREN’T GETTING ANY … ANYMORE”