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Baking Yesteryear: The Best Recipes from the 1900s to the 1980s

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by B. Dylan Hollis
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A social media star (especially on TikTok and YouTube), B. Dylan Hollis is known for his exuberant interest in vintage baking recipes. Here, in his first cookbook, he highlights the recipes he has found in community cookbooks, especially those which combine, in his own words, “ the wild, the wacky, and the wonderful.”

Hollis’s “yesteryear” may not seem so wholly yester to some of us, since he includes recipes printed as late as the 1980s. But since they’re arranged by decade, his choices do provide a sense of changing tastes.

Recipes such as cornflake macaroons and avocado pie might seem like they belong in a hipster bakery of the 2020s. A few seem chosen for shock value, like a ground pork cake or Velveeta fudge.

But others truly seem worth reviving, such as sandtorte, in which a traditional pound cake formula is lightened by equal parts flour and cornstarch for a feathery texture. And Hollis’s blackberry jam cake uses the jam in the batter, not as a filling, an idea that seems to come straight from the kitchen of a cook who put up many shelves of preserves.

The book might have been stronger if it cited a few of its sources, but if it raises interest in bygone techniques and flavors, then it will have done a good thing.

Hardcover. Color photographs throughout.

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