Caution: You will leave hungry.
In fact, at the onset of “Let Me Eat Cake,” author Leslie F. Miller tells readers it’s best to peruse the book’s chapters while wearing elastic-waist pants.
It doesn’t take long to understand why.
“Let Me Eat Cake” traces cake’s social and culinary influence.
Never miss a local story.
Miller travels to top-notch bakeries, interviews famous chefs and examines regional traditions — from King Cake in New Orleans to Gooey Butter Cake in St. Louis.
At the very least, the book makes for some good trivia.
You’ll learn about the New York socialite who celebrated her daughter’s 10th birthday with a pink cake shaped like a Coach bag filled with a dog, sandals, and a copy of People magazine — right next to a sculpted pink iPod mini.
Price tag: $1,500.
That seems like a steal when you consider a diamond-clad fruitcake in Tokyo once ran for $1.65 million.
Another central element in “Let Me Eat Cake”: recipes.
The book is cluttered with do-it-yourself sweetness, spanning the decadent (Chocolatetown Special Cake) and the “this might be healthy” (Low-Carb Chocolate Cake) varieties.
Miller even tries to uncover the complicated work that goes into prominently marketed cakes, like Twinkies.
That experiment doesn’t work out too well.
She is ecstatic when a PR person responds to her inquiry by sending her a videotape of Hostess products being made.
Unfortunately, the tape is only 23 seconds and includes no narration.
The author is obviously a die-hard cake addict, and “Let Me Eat Cake” is just as much a reminder that the popular dessert is more than just food.
Cake is an anchoring point, an emblem that is generally present at life’s most memorable moments, Miller maintains.
(Yes, that includes funerals. Among Miller’s examples: an ice cream cake decorated with black balloons and inscribed with “Deepest sympathies on your loss.”)
For Miller, the cake experience is not just about a dish and a fork.
She judges people on the way they eat cake. She anticipates cake-related events marked on calendar. She even hears cake speaking to her in a smoky Italian voice.
She’s confident she’s not alone in appreciating the delicacy’s appeal.
“Cake is not just for lunch. It’s not for breakfast like leftover pizza. To paraphrase ‘The Incredibles,’ if every day is special, no day is. And that is what it is about cake,” Miller writes.
Sonya Sorich, features writer, can be reached at 706-571-8516.