My Mary Berry Fascination

Hail Mary.  Berry.

My new favorite person
I’m late to the Mary Berry phenom


You lucky Brits have cherished her for decades.  But I just found out about this 80-year-old British treasure.  And not a moment too soon.

First of all, the name.  How can you not sit up when you hear the name Mary Berry.  Especially in combination with her new sidekick, Paul Hollywood.  Yes, that’s Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, as in the judges of The Great British Bakeoff.  And this is not just another cooking show.


You get nervous when Mary tries your bake
You get nervous when Mary tries your bake


A Sunday afternoon in May.  Channel surfing.  Came across a baking show.  I was sucked in because this is a baking competition for amateurs (as most of us are)  involving all my favorite things:  British countryside, grand estates,  history of wonderfully curious things,  scenes of ducks, squirrels, swans, rabbits, sheep nibbling in a field — interposed with 12 badly dressed, no makeup Brits from all parts of the U.K. with their accompanying different accents.  Is there such a thing as baking music?  Yes, there is!  A brill soundtrack underscoring the drama of:  baking. This show “ticked all the boxes for me.”


Mary always says something nice.  But not Paul.
Mary always says something nice. But not Paul. Here she inspects the bottom of a pie.


Paul makes baking sexy fun.

Baking is sexy fun
This is exactly how I bake


Fifth season about to start of Britain’s new obsession: The thrills, the heartbreak, the joy, the frustration, the tears — of home baking.  You can watch all seasons online or on the BBC.


Her macarons flopped
Her macarons weren’t shiny enough


Sent home because her Baba au Rhum failed
Sent home because her Baba failed


Whilst watching there were days when  I had to “pause” the episode, run into the kitchen, throw on an apron and get my hands into some flour, butter, sugar.  Not kidding.  Smelling a chocolate roll baking in your oven whilst watching a baking show:  good idea.





The first part of my summer will be a Bake-ation.   I  ordered myself a copy of this.  Hurry Amazon, hurry!

My summer Bake-ation
Definitive Brit Baking


The thing about serious baking is this:  you need a lot of friends to eat the goods.   My daughter’s art college is very happy when I walk in with a tray.   If you are lucky enough to ring my doorbell at the right time, you might receive a chocolate roulade, an upside down cake, lemon curd tartlets, savory scones or maybe a mini trifle.

I’ve learned baking is not something you do if you have a dinner party or a charity function.  It’s a passion that can be perfected only through lots of practice.  I now toss a bad bake into the trash as a matter of course, learning immensely from my mistakes and start again.   Hence there is Sacher torte week, and macaron week and croquembouche week.

Baking is chemistry, drama, art, sculpture, poetry, memories and magic.  Most important: it makes people very, very happy.

Do you bake?  What’s your specialty?  Share a recipe.  Spill, readers, spill!

xo Liza

P.S.  Here’s one of Mary’s most loved recipes:  Lemon Drizzle Cake.

P.P.S.  Two memorable quotes from the show:  “Ready.  Set.  Bake!”  and “Get your Bake On.”


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3 thoughts on “My Mary Berry Fascination

  1. I, too, love to bake but usually don’t since I haven’t got crews of people to eat what I bake. Ah, the problems of over-abundance. I find it so interesting that you can cook in a rather swashbuckling way, récipe-be-damned, but you must bake with serious attention to measurements as described in the récipe. I think it is a sign of true maturity when you can look at something you’ve baked, declare it a disaster and chuck it in the trash! The lemon drizzle récipe looks marvelous, by the way. I will, indeed, try it.

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