By Jeannie Wurz
One of my tasks as a marketing intern at Bergli Books is promoting our new cookbook: Helvetic Kitchen. Besides containing recipes (obviously), the book is filled with simple line drawings and fun facts about Swiss food. It’s a cute little book, and I’ve been carrying it back and forth with me as I commute between Bern and Basel.
Initially, my being in charge of promoting a cookbook seemed a bit ludicrous. My cooking repertoire is limited to seven recipes. It took me three months to gather up the courage to put a pan in my new oven, which has a built-in microwave function.
But the more I thumb through Helvetic Kitchen, the more I realize that it’s actually the perfect book for me.
“I think many of the recipes that may seem overwhelming to people are actually really easy,” says the author, Andie Pilot. “All the recipes in the book are simple recipes, and I've tried to lay out the simplest way to make them.”
Is there really joy in cooking? On a sunny afternoon in November I set out for Langnau, outside Berne, to watch Andie cooking and to talk with her about her book.
“What I like about cooking and baking is that it’s something that almost everybody in the world does,” says the Swiss-Canadian former pastry chef. “So you can usually find a starting point with anyone by talking about food,”
The cookbook Helvetic Kitchen began as a food blog in 2015. “My Canadian friends kept asking me for my fondue recipe or my Mom’s Christmas cookie recipe, and I thought, if I stick the recipes online, then they’ll all have access,” says Andie.
The cookbook grew out of “all the interesting Swiss foods and recipes” she collected for the blog. “I thought, ‘Everybody has to make more Swiss food!’ ”
I watch Andie making Basler Schoggitorf, a brownie-like Swiss dessert. Although she does have a top-of-the-line KitchenAid mixer, it doesn't figure prominently in the recipe. And even I have to admit that there isn't much previous cooking experience required.
At the end of the afternoon, waiting for the Post bus, I hold the aluminum foil-wrapped chocolate dessert in one hand and the small book containing Andie’s favorite recipes in the other.
It’s time for me to develop the courage to cook, I resolve.
I’m not quite ready for a KitchenAid, but I’m definitely buying myself a copy of Helvetic Kitchen for Christmas!
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