Related to: 'Great British Bake Off - Perfect Cakes & Bakes To Make At Home'

Julie Sarkissian blogs about the problems facing the protagnist of her debut novel, DEAR LUCY

Something's Wrong With Lucy - But What?

Lucy is different – that much is clear. She speaks like a child, doesn’t recognize social boundaries, flies into rages, and treasures rotten food. Her cognition is impaired, her vocabulary is very limited and she cannot read or write. But what – precisely – is wrong with her is left up to the reader. Lucy is the protagonist of my novel, DEAR LUCY, and from the first sentence of the book I ever wrote it was obvious that Lucy was cognitively different. The way Lucy describes herself is as “missing too many words.” Her mother calls her “difficult.” Readers of early drafts of the book had a few theories as to Lucy’s condition; autism, Williams Syndrome, Down Syndrome. But Lucy’s mother has kept her from going to school and Lucy has never seen a doctor. So in the fictional reality of the book there is no official diagnosis. But as the novel progressed I wondered – should I have one? I was torn. If Lucy was presenting enough symptoms to point to a real condition, was I ignoring the obvious not to fold that condition into my development of her character? Was it insensitive of me to allude to aspects of certain real, life-altering conditions but not assign a specific condition to Lucy? I worried about appropriating aspects of serious conditions without treating those conditions with proper respect and acknowledgement. And though any clinical diagnosis would probably not be explicit in the novel, I wondered if I would be ignoring an opportunity to bring attention to a real disorder when people asked me about Lucy’s condition, the way The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-time did for autism. On the other hand, I had concerns that if I chose a diagnosis for Lucy, I would be ascribing to her qualities that she wouldn’t have otherwise presented. Lucy had her own will over my writing and over the novel. I didn’t want to yoke Lucy’s expression by keeping her behavior and abilities consistent with a clinical condition. Accuracy would also become a critical issue if Lucy’s condition was named. Ultimately I chose not to diagnose Lucy, though I worry the artistic freedom provided by that decision comes at the price of being judged for being too liberal with my treatment of cognitive disorders. Now that publication is a few months away, I am apprehensive of how my treatment of Lucy’s cognitive limitations will be judged. I have yet to talk to a reader who has a learning different child, or works with learning different people, and that conversation is one I will be honored, and not a bit anxious, to have.

Hodder & Stoughton

Great British Bake Off – Bake it Better (No.7): Sweet Bread & Buns

Linda Collister
Authors:
Linda Collister

Bake it Better: Sweet Breads includes everything you need to know about baking delicious sweet bread.Whether you are new to baking and looking for simple, easy recipes or a more confident baker seeking to refine your skills, with The Great British Bake Off you can be sure you're getting scrumptious and tried-and-tested recipes.The recipes themselves include classics and modern bakes, from simple to more challenging showstoppers -Bake it Better will take you a journey from first timer to star baker. There are expert tips about ingredients, equipment and techniques, with easy-to-follow step-by-step photographs.The Great British Bake Off: Bake It Better are the 'go to' cookery books which gives you all the recipes and baking know-how in one easy-to-navigate series.

Hodder & Stoughton

Great British Bake Off – Bake it Better (No.1): Classic Cakes

Linda Collister
Authors:
Linda Collister

Bake it Better: Classic Cakes includes everything you need to know about baking delicious and beautiful cakes. Whether you are new to baking and looking for simple, easy recipes or a more confident baker looking to develop your skills and repertoire, with The Great British Bake Off you can be sure you're getting scrumptious, tried-and-tested recipes.The recipes themselves include traditional classics and modern bakes, and progress from simple through to more challenging showstoppers - Bake it Better will take you a journey from first timer to star baker. With expert advice about ingredients, equipment and techniques, and easy-to-follow step-by-step photographs.The Great British Bake Off: Bake It Better are the 'go to' cookery books which gives you all the recipes and baking know-how in one easy-to-navigate series.

Hodder & Stoughton

Great British Bake Off – Bake it Better (No.4): Bread

Linda Collister
Authors:
Linda Collister

Bake it Better: Bread includes everything you need to know about baking delicious bread. Whether you are new to baking and looking for simple, easy recipes or a more confident baker looking to develop your skills and repertoire, with The Great British Bake Off you can be sure you're getting scrumptious, tried-and-tested recipes.The recipes themselves include traditional classics and modern bakes, and progress from simple through to more challenging showstoppers - Bake it Better will take you a journey from first timer to star baker. With expert advice about ingredients, equipment and techniques, and easy-to-follow step-by-step photographs.The Great British Bake Off: Bake It Better are the 'go to' cookery books which gives you all the recipes and baking know-how in one easy-to-navigate series.

Hodder & Stoughton

Great British Bake Off: Celebrations

Linda Collister
Authors:
Linda Collister

Don't just celebrate - bake!With judges' recipes from Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, and bakers' recipes from the Class of 2015, this is a beautiful book for homebakers everywhere inspired to celebrate with their own signature bakes.From three-tiered cheesecakes to black forest gateau, vol au vents to crème brulee, ice cream roll to Spanish windtorte, this year's record-breaking series of Bake Off was a celebration of everything that's great about British Baking, and these easy to follow recipes will help you recreate that magic in your own kitchen.Discover new flavours and techniques with the helpful tips in the 'baker's guide', 'meet the bakers' with inspiring insights into what got them baking, and try cake, bread and dessert ideas from around the world.Celebrations includes recipes for every occasion, from family meals and home-cooked teas to the big dates like Christmas and Diwali, Halloween and birthdays, as well as technical challenges, showstoppers and signature bakes you will recognize from the show.Cake - Black Forest Gateau, coffee and walnut cake, madeira cakeBiscuits - Box of Biscuits, ariettes, biscottiBread - baguettes, quick breadDesserts - Three tiered cheesecakes, Spanish windtorte, crème bruleeAlternative Ingredients - dairy-free ice cream roll, gluten-free pitta bread, sugar-free cakePastry - vol au vents, flaounes, frangipane tartVictorian - charlotte Russe, raised game piePatisserie - cream hornsWhatever the occasion you're baking for, add a dash of GBBO!

Alex Hollywood

Alex Hollywood is passionate about food and firmly believes that cooking and eating should be about one thing: enjoyment, not worrying about presentation and whether your roux is made to Michelin-star standards. Having grown up in Kent, Alex's cooking has been shaped by her Norwegian great-grandmother, her French godmother, her father's love of Spain, and her time living in Cyprus. Her twitter feed @Hollywood_wife has quickly built up fans eager for recipe ideas and food tweets. Alex is a regular on ITV's Lorraine. My Busy Kitchen is her first book.

Alice Lascelles

Alice Lascelles writes about hard liquor for The Times and co-founded the award-winning magazine for bartenders and sommeliers, Imbibe. Her articles and columns have also appeared in The Sunday Times, Time Out and Financial Times. A second life as a musician has seen her tour with the White Stripes and record sessions for national radio. She lives in London with her husband, two sons and cocker spaniel Daisy.

Andrew Dargue

Andrew Dargue and Donna Conroy founded Vanilla Black in York in 2004, before relocating the restaurant to London in 2008. The restaurant is now recognised as one of the best vegetarian establishments in the country and is recommended in the Michelin Guide.

Clarissa Dickson Wright

Clarissa Dickson Wright found fame alongside Jennifer Paterson as one half of the much-loved TV cooking partnership Two Fat Ladies. She is the author of the bestselling memoir Spilling the Beans as well as many cookery books including The Game Cookbook and, most recently, Potty - her one-pot cookbook. She is also a passionate supporter of the Countryside Alliance and of rural life. She lives a little in London but mostly in Scotland.

Delia Smith

Delia Smith CBE is the UK's best-selling cookery author, having published over 21 million copies since her first book, How to Cheat at Cooking, was published in 1973. Her cookery books, including Delia's Frugal Food, Delia Smith's Cookery Course and Delia's Complete How to Cook have become instant classics and are firm favourites of cooks around the world, making Delia a household name. Awarded both an OBE and a CBE in recognition of her "contribution to television cooking and recipe writing," Delia's signature, no-nonsense approach to cooking has inspired millions of home cooks to master the culinary basics and prepare classic, delicious meals with minimum fuss.

Donal Skehan

Donal Skehan has been cooking since age four when he flipped his first pancake! Inspired by a family of passionate foodies, cooking and eating hearty home cooked food has always been a way of life. Donal is the author of seven cookbooks; Fresh was named as one of Good Food magazine's Top 10 cookbooks of the year. He's the host of Saturday Kitchen, star of cookery shows on RTE and The Food Network, and has his own hit YouTube channel. Donal was born and raised in Dublin and is currently living in LA.

Ella Mills (Woodward)

Ella Woodward is the author of must-read food blog www.deliciouslyella.com. She has created a hugely successful app to accompany the blog, opened her own deli in central London and launched her own line of energy balls. Ella's debut book Deliciously Ella was a number 1 bestseller when it was first published in January 2015, becoming the fastest selling debut cookery book since records began. It was also named as Amazon's biggest selling book of 2015. She was awarded a prestigious Observer Food Monthly award for Best Food Blog 2015. Her follow-up book, Deliciously Ella Every Day has been another hit bestseller. Ella discovered her passion for plant-based recipes after being diagnosed with a rare illness called Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS). She couldn't walk down the street, slept for 16 hours a day and was in chronic pain most of the time. Conventional medicine failed to help her, so she decided to completely overhaul her diet and overnight the self-confessed 'sugar-monster' gave up meat, gluten, dairy, sugar and all processed food. The results were incredible. Though initially far from confident in the kitchen, Ella started blogging about her new approach to food and posting recipes, and quickly amassed a huge online following.

Emma Marsden

EMMA MARSDEN is a food writer and stylist who studied at Leiths School of Food & Wine. She was Cookery Editor at Good Housekeeping magazine and is a regular contributor to Harrods' magazine. She has written a number of books including Heart on a Plate, Fortnum & Mason's Afternoon Tea and Honey & Preserves, WeightWatchers' The Smart Cook and Sainsbury's Kitchen Know-How.

George Craig

George started a band One Night Only with a schoolfriend at the age of twelve. They made the top ten - and are still going strong today - while George developed a sideline in modelling after he was scouted by Burberry's Christopher Bailey.

Giles Coren

Giles Coren has been a restaurant critic for The Times for the last ten years. Before that, he was restaurant critic of the Independent on Sunday. Before that, he was restaurant critic for Tatler. Before that, he was a journalist. In 2005, he was named Food and Drink Writer of the Year, published his first (and last) novel, Winkler and began presenting The F-Word on Channel 4 with Gordon Ramsay. Since then, he has presented a documentary series on biotechnology in the food chain (Animal Farm), a polemical film about the obesity crisis (Tax the Fat), and three series of The Supersizers Go...with Sue Perkins, who does the funny stuff whilst Coren eats his way through 2,000 years of food history with the table manners of a pig recently released from prison. His most recent television series, Our Food, aired on BBC2 in April 2012. He lives in Kentish Town with his wife, the writer Esther Walker, and his daughter, the toddler Kitty Coren, who recently developed a taste for good dim sum and will thus be allowed to stay.

Gill Holcombe

Gill Holcombe grew up before the culture on convenience and as a mother of three living on a tiny income, has perfected the art of creating delicious food from meagre shopping lists. Her first book, HOW TO FEED YOUR WHOLE FAMILY A HEALTHY BALANCED DIET WITH VERY LITTLE MONEY AND HARDLY ANY TIME . . . has become something of a phenomenon, selling 50,000 copies since its publication in October 2007.

Gino D'Acampo

Gino was born in Napoli in the south of Italy into a large family. The food they ate was very traditional - simple recipes based on fresh and healthy fruit, vegetables, fish and meat.'My grandfather said that a good recipe doesn't need many ingredients because if the ingredients are good quality and full of flavour, why do you have to cover up or change their taste'. This is a philosophy Gino has stuck to since he first started in the kitchen. After training at the Luigi de Medici Catering College, Gino came to London at 19 and worked at The Orchard Restaurant in Hampstead and then at the Cambio restaurant in Surrey.Working with Tesco on their Finest range led to his first TV appearance on Great Food Live on UKTV Food and a TV chef was born! With a cheeky smile and exceptional talent, he was well on the way to becoming one of the UKs most popular chefs.Gino is the author of several best-selling books including Fantastico!, Gino's Pasta, Italian Home Baking and Gino's Italian Escape.He is married to Jessica and they have three children, Luciano, Rocco and Mia.

Gordon Ramsay

Scottish by birth, Gordon was brought up in Stratford-upon-Avon, England. With an injury prematurely putting an end to any hopes of a promising career in football, he went back to college to complete a course in hotel management and his dedication and natural talent led him to train with some of world's leading chefs.In 1993 Gordon became chef of Aubergine in London and within three years was awarded two Michelin stars. In 1998, at the age of 31, Gordon set up his own restaurant, Restaurant Gordon Ramsay, which quickly received the most prestigious accolade in the culinary world - three Michelin stars. One of only four chefs in the UK to maintain three stars, Gordon was awarded an OBE in 2006 for services to the industry.Now internationally renowned, Gordon has opened a string of successful restaurants across the globe, from Italy to LA. 2011 has proved to be another exciting year and saw the opening of Bread Street Kitchen in London's City district, as well as a venture across the pond in Montreal, Canada.Gordon has become a star of the small screen both in the UK and internationally, with two top rated shows in the US. Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares and Hell's Kitchen are both into their third and ninth series respectively, whilst his latest show, Masterchef US, is now in its second series and is proving to be another massive hit with viewers. Gordon has also published a number of books, many of which have become best sellers across the world, notably his autobiography, Roasting in Hell's Kitchen.Gordon lives with his wife and four children in South London, along with their two bulldogs Rumpole and Romeo.

Harold Mcgee

Harold McGee writes about the chemistry of food and cooking, and the science of everyday life. He has worked alongside some of world's most innovative chefs, including Thomas Keller and Heston Blumenthal. He lives with his family in California.

Katie Quinn Davies

Katie Quinn Davies began her career as a graphic designer; then in 2009 decided to refocus her creative energies on food photography, and What Katie Ate, the blog, was born. It has since become an internet phenomenon, with a huge readership both in Australia and the United States. When she's not travelling the world eating great food and meeting provedores and producers, Katie works from her Sydney home, shooting all her food photography in natural light, and updating her blog with a variety of new and seasonal recipes.www.whatkatieate.com@WhatKatieAte

Kirstie Allsopp

Kirstie Allsopp has starred in Channel 4's Kirstie's Vintage Home, Kirstie's Handmade Britain, and Kirstie's Homemade Home and is the co-presenter, with Phil Spencer, of Location, Location, Location and Relocation, Relocation. She got her first job with interior decorator Nikki Haslam, worked for Country Living magazine before setting up a property buying business with a friend. Kirstie lives in Devon and West London with her partner Ben Anderson and their two sons and two stepsons.