Cookbook Review: The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook by Cheryl Day and Griffith Day

by Deanna Dong
May 2012

Heston Blumenthal at Home
Author: Cheryl Day and Griffith Day of Back in the Day Bakery

Difficulty Level: Home Cook to Moderately Difficult

Fanfare: Paula Deen’s love for the Days’ baking ran so deep that she hosted her niece’s bridal shower in the couples bakery; Pastor Rod Sprauve, one of the bakery’s most devoted customers, wrote a poem (reprinted in the book) on his favorite cookie, the Pecan Sandra, to convince the Days to add it to the menu.

Chapters: Breakfast; Coffee Cakes, Quick Breads, and Sweet Yeast Breads; Cupcakes and Cakes; Pies, Cobblers, Crisps and Tarts; Puddings and Custards; Cookies; Brownies and Bars; Confections; Savories.

Located deep in the Southern hospitality belt, Back in the Day Bakery has become a Savannah establishment with soul-satisfying baked goods, nostalgic vintage décor, and infectious old-fashioned charm. In celebration of their 10th anniversary, Owners Cheryl and Griffith Day have collected their favorite recipes for their new cookbook, The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, delighting fans (including Forward author Paula Deen). The resulting book teems with 100 recipes categorized into nine chapters, accompanied by appetite-teasing photos of savories and sweets on antique china.

The book is stuffed full of Southern staples (you can’t get much more comforting than ‘Nana Cream Pie, Peach Cobbler Muffins, and Rustic Peach-Blueberry Tart). But there are also unexpected international items on the list (Guava Sweet-Cheese Turnovers, Almond-Anise Biscotti, and Bacon-Jam Empanadas). Each treat is paired with the authors’ note (i.e. the Plum Tartlet has “the cakiest tart you’ll ever eat”), and a useful section aimed at novice bakers covers everything from the importance of bringing eggs to room temperature to the right method for creaming butter. But it’s not just instruction—the Days have succeeded in injecting the spirit of the bakery right into the cookbook. Recipes are welcomingly interrupted with stories: tales depicting the spirit of Savannah, and all the sweetness and bitterness that accompanies saying “yes” to your dreams.