Since Rosie Daykin launched Butter Bakery and Cafe in Dunbar in 2007, she has become known for delicious sweets like whoopie pies, sandwich cookies, buttercream cupcakes, peach-raspberry pies, and Dream Bars.
Then there are her house-made marshmallows. The fluffy square pillows, which come in several flavours, like strawberry, lemon, and matcha, can now be found in hundreds of stores throughout North America and Japan.
Given the former interior designer’s knack for all things sweet, it’s no surprise that Daykin’s cookbooks Butter Baked Goods: Nostalgic Recipes From a Little Neighborhood Bakery and Butter Celebrates: A Year of Sweet Recipes to Share With Family and Friends went on to rank as bestsellers. But a person cannot live on sugar alone. And Daykin’s third cookbook is a departure.
Let Me Feed You: Everyday Recipes Offering the Comfort of Home focuses on breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes. The hardcover book features more than 100 recipes, from Butter’s Granola and Mushroom Pancetta Soup to Roasted Vegetable Lasagna and Iron Skillet Halibut.
While Daykin includes dessert recipes for good measure (Pink Grapefruit Cupcakes and Chocolate Cherry Cookies among them), this time out she prioritizes the kinds of food that keep her and her family fuelled.
“This book really seemed like a natural evolution,” Daykin explains in a phone interview. “Book 1 and Book 2 were written under the umbrella of Butter Baked Goods. But there’s more to me than Butter. I first thought, ‘Oh no, everyone is going to find out I don’t live in a pink and pistachio house!’
“Butter is very much a part of my life, but it’s not my life,” she says. “Before I had Butter, I was cooking and baking every day. It made sense to me as a logical next step to share that side of things with people. My love for baking and my love for cooking just stem from my love for food.”
As a working mom, Daykin developed a knack for simple dishes, meals that require little in the way of technique or time, factors that are just as vital for professionals and entrepreneurs. Consider her Damn Good Meatloaf, for example, or Tomato Casserole. (Her grown daughter now runs her own business kitty-corner from Butter.)
“I am not a complicated person by any stretch of the imagination,” Daykin says. “I’m not inspired by a recipe that has 100 steps. Life is so busy. I like to streamline things right across the board.
“I look at life in general that way: why would I choose to complicate something I don’t need to complicate?” she adds. “A lot of people shy away from cooking and entertaining and baking; I think through the power of the cooking channel, it can be intimidating. I’ve heard it a million times: ‘I don’t cook; I don’t know how to bake.’ I just don’t believe that of anybody.”
In fact, one of her recipes is for croissants, which are something a lot of people would turn the page on out of self-doubt. Daykin has read those folks’ minds; underneath the title, in brackets, she writes “Trust me, you can do it,” also noting, “Oh yes you can!…The only thing really challenging about making croissants is setting aside the time to do so.”
To help conquer the mighty croissant, the book has multiple photos of the process (by Janis Nicolay); Daykin has also made the pastries from scratch in one of her Instagram stories, breaking things down step by step, for beginners to refer to for guidance.
Daykin includes a handful of personal stories in Let Me Feed You, giving readers the chance to get to know her a little bit better, which lends the book some warmth. She likes putting weird objects like hand-carved wooden toy tops on her coffee table, for instance, and has an excessive amount of vintage porcelain and fine china. And you will never, ever see her make mushroom lasagna. She sprinkles the book with puns, wisecracks, hacks, and tips, making it lighthearted and practical. As with her other books, Daykin says her greatest wish for Let Me Feed You is that it will encourage people to cook one of her cherished recipes and maybe even adopt it into their mealtime repertoire.
“I’ve been making my spaghetti sauce, which I learned from my mom, forever,” Daykin says. “The idea that somebody might go make my spaghetti sauce and that they’ll keep making it forever… I love that. That’s a cool legacy.”