A Tale of Two Books for Your Consideration


The Fall of General Custards Cookbook

A while back in my career when I was a consultant to Cuisinart, I met Marlene Sorosky.  I came
to respect and admire her for her books.  So much so, that when I had my bakery, I used several of the recipes from her book, The Dessert Lover’s Cookbook in my bakery.

Well, Marlene has one of the most interesting books around for getting children interested in cooking and baking –  The Fall of General Custard Cookbook.  It’s absolutely perfect for children or grandchildren.  As Marlene describes it, the book brings to life a playful, imaginary world inside a refrigerator and a cookbook, which she wrote, based on those characters.

Marlene is my kind of person.  When, at the beginning of her career, someone reported her for teaching cooking classes out of her home she knew she couldn’t give up her love of teaching.  Undaunted, she built her own cooking school and culinary shop in the San Fernando valley.  Not only that, she worked with Julia Child, James Beard and Jacques Pepin who were all in the forefront for starting America on its love affair with food.  She has written eight cookbooks which have sold more than 2 million copies.  My kind of person for sure!

One of her books, Entertaining on the Run, won the James Beard award against none other than Martha Stewart.  And her Dessert Lover’s Cookbook won the IACP award for best dessert book.

Back to the book.  Actually, make that books.  Matt Damon (not the actor) wrote the original Indie award winning children’s book, The Fall of General Custard or the Overthrow of a Leftover.  But the story gets a little convoluted here. After Marlene wrote the companion cookbook, the publisher went out of business.  With the same spirit with which she opened her cooking school and shop, she published the book herself.  You can buy both books as a bundle or just her cookbook.

Each recipe begins with a poem.  The poem and recipe for the Bold Blueberry Cobbler Cake can be seen on her blog here.  At the top you can click on General Custard Books to order.

Marlene will do a free zoom class for the children, parents, aunts, uncles whoever wants to accompany them.  How fun will that be?  And what a great gift, the story book, the cookbook and the zoom class.  Unique and thoughtful!

European Tarts Book relistedEuropean Tarts Front CoverSince publishing Craving Cookies, I have been asked by several people about both The New Pastry Cook and European Tarts, Divinely Doable Desserts. The former is out of print.  However, I have reissued European Tarts on Amazon and it can be found here.

European Tarts is accompanied by a website that holds all the how to pictures.  While I don’t generally get into the hows and whys of  publishing, I got some negative feedback due to the

pictures being on a website.  When I wrote the book in 2010, it was with Amazon’s Creative Space.  At that time, you could only have 12 colored photos included in the price of the printing.  Every photo after that cost $25.00.  I have literally dozens of  how to photos on the website to guide you, but it was untenable to include them in the book itself.

The book itself is based on little or no baking and the tarts were among those we sold from the bakery.

So, do me a favor if you buy the book.  Please review it on Amazon.  But in any case, enjoy it.  It features easy to make and even easier to eat gorgeous tarts.

Pastry has not only been my profession, but my passion. If there is anything in particular you would like to see or any questions about baking or pastry, please let me know. Be sure to subscribe so you don't miss a post!
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4 thoughts on “A Tale of Two Books for Your Consideration

  1. Trish

    I knew I liked you already but when I read Marlene Sorosky’s name in your headline I was doubly pleased. My very first newlywed books were Marlene’s via my sister’s experience. I own all her books and have even reordered a couple because I wore them out! I always, always, received high praise when I served her recipes and became known for my entertaining prowess. I have recommended her books numerous times in the past. Cookbooks have come a long way since Marlene’s books were published (with photos which was unusual!!) but I still treasure the torn, stained and chewed up copies that are still prominent in my cookbook book case.

  2. Lynette Pruett

    Helen, thank you for the lead on these children’s books! Last Christmas, I purchased the ATK cooking and baking cookbooks for kids to give to my grandchildren, and I was satisfied. But that’s all; just “satisfied”. I ordered the bundle of these two books for Christmas, 2021, and it looks like the whole family will get a kick out of them!
    I’ve also got your European Tarts in my Amazon cart, and am thrilled that it is available again. I was lucky enough to snag one of your The New Pastry Book used copies, in perfect condition, from Amazon a month ago. Last night we had friends over for a pre-Thanksgiving dinner, and your Classic Shortbread from Craving Cookies was the perfect ending to our meal.
    Thanks again for the insight you’ve given me over the past several years into the background of baking. Wishing you and your family a most blessed Thanksgiving holiday.

    1. hfletcher Post author

      Hi Lynette, Thank you so much for this and for the very kind words. I’m thrilled you got Marlene’s book – hope enough people do that she does the zoom class. You would love that. Marlene is very clever. Good for you for finding my first book. I see the prices for past books I’ve written and am amazed.

      Thanksgiving will be special this year as we are going to Chicago for the first time in at least 3 years. I wish you the best holidays ever.


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