"You know, I'm not a cook-to-impress kind of girl," Lawson says midway through the book, but she must admit there are few things more rewarding than putting a warm homemade pie or fragrant cake on the table--especially after preparing a home-cooked meal. How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking makes just such a reward possible, in fact positively enticing, with its delicious selection of easy-to-make cakes, pies, cookies, breads, even jams, presented in Lawson's chatty, pleasantly glib manner. Turns out, you don't have be a Pierre Hermé to make to-die-for chocolate confections; nor do you have to spend hours "faffing around" with hot pans and jars to have jam at teatime. You just need to try baking once, then again, and next thing you know, you'll be turning out cookies and desserts every chance you get. Many of the recipes are hand-me-downs or adaptations from other sources, be it a favorite cookbook or a restaurant in some far-off region, but all are imbued with Lawson's wit and distinctive touch. Profiteroles, My Way are "monumentally impressively better" than the original, thanks to burnt-sugar custard and toffee sauce. Her Coffee and Walnut Splodge Cookies are "American-style cookies; in other words just dropped onto the baking sheet free-form," and so on.
A sophisticated female alter ego of British mop-top Jamie Oliver, and considerably more sly and comedic than most American gourmets, Nigella is sure to convince more than a few up-and-coming hostesses that baking is indeed women's work. --Rebecca Wright
"You can watch a cake being made and become hungry at the sight of it, but Ms. Lawson finds a way for you to taste it in your mind and feel empowered to dig out the pan."—The New York Times
"Vivid and fresh . . . We would drive on the left side of the road to get her molten-chocolate baby cakes."—People