Cakes and pies for good old boys drinkin’ whiskey and rye
‘American Pie’ is a new Danish-language cookbook by two American expats in Denmark, filled with loads of mouth-watering recipes and photos that will transport you back to all those warm and fuzzy Kodak moments from your childhood. It’s the perfect stocking-filler for a taste of home this Christmas.
One glance at this deliciously designed book − with its sumptuous recipes and images of homemade pies, cakes, cookies and sweet treats − and don’t be surprised if you feel like you’ve died and gone to heaven. ‘American Pie’ is all about the love of baking − and giving.
It conjures up memories of Christmas, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, your birthday − hey, any excuse to immerse yourself in the flavours, smells and other sensations of home sweet home.
Authors Grace Wilson Løvig and Erin Eberhardt Chapman are walking-talking success stories, having already made a name for themselves in Denmark. Løvig is the owner and producer/creative director of her own production company, GraceLand Productions. And Chapman is the owner and creative director of her own ad agency, Sweet Creative. Their passion for culinary arts led to the co-creation of this cookbook, which has just been featured on Danish TV and is appearing in other high profile venues as we speak.
Løvig hails from Hawaii and is a trained sous chef. She’s worked at upscale hotels like the Ritz Carlton on Hawaii, was the catering director at the Campton Place Hotel in San Francisco, and earned a reputation as the coolest coffee shop baker in Seattle.
“I grew up with a mom who rarely followed a recipe,” she explains.
“She has this incredible, innate ability to combine ingredients and make the most outrageously delicious creations, like bread pudding with whiskey sauce, chocolate fudge and the Mauna Loa coconut cream pie most kids only dreamed of. She taught me how to use my senses as a ‘GPS’ for baking. I was also inspired by my grandmother, who owned a family-style restaurant, where I had the privilege of working as a teenager under her watchful eye. When I later moved to Denmark and met Erin, we both missed authentic American food. We also missed something else – the true spirit of giving.”
Chapman grew up in the farmlands of Illinois and the north woods of Wisconsin.
“My earliest memory of wanting to bake my own goodies was the feeling of extreme jealousy when my friends next door got a new ‘Easy Bake Oven’ – a popular children’s toy that ‘baked’ small cakes with the heat of a light bulb,” she remembers.
“For some reason, I never got one and felt really frustrated. In our house, we equated food with love. Especially pies. The women baked it, the men ate it, and the men loved the women for it. When I was little, my mom let me ‘help’ her in the kitchen, which meant that I got to lick the spoons when she was finished mixing. My biggest baking accomplishment was when I met my future Danish husband. I quickly discovered he had a major sweet tooth (yay for me!) and after about three weeks of dating, I made him a deep dish, double crust apple pie. Let’s just say it definitely ‘sealed the deal’.”
Løvig and Chapman’s mutual affection for baking has been the single most important ingredient in their friendship. “Baking has been our virtual way back home during the long, dark winters in Scandinavia,” claims Løvig. Their gift for giving has proven to be the key to opening the hearts and minds of everyone they’ve encountered.
‘American Pie’ is their response to the overwhelming joy and enthusiasm that their gifts of pies, cakes, cookies, cupcakes and other goodies have brought to their Danish recipients. “All of our recipes have been tested by our friends, tasted by our children and then added to our ‘American Pie’ recipe box to share with Scandinavia,” smiles Chapman.
If the mere mention of lemon meringue pie, rocky road bars, peanut brittle and snickerdoodles brings a nostalgic tear to your eye, then run don’t walk, and order a copy for yourself – or as a gift. And if your Danish partner has never really experienced iconic American treats like apple pie, key lime pie, New York cheesecake, triple layer dark chocolate cake or Mississippi mud pie, now’s your chance to enlighten the uninitiated.
Be warned though, particularly if you’re from the States. All the quantities are given in metric, although there are some handy shopping tips as to where to find the ingredients locally. And while the language barrier won’t prohibit you (with perhaps a little help) from using the recipes, many English speakers might struggle to appreciate their endearing introductions, anecdotes and short references to the cultural roots of each treat.