Book Review: A Half Baked Idea by Olivia Potts

I’ve absolutely been slacking with my book reviews on the blog (and other content, to be fair, but I’ll get back to that!) but, as of today, I’m bringing you all up to date with my reading. Unfortunately this means we’ll have to go (slightly) back in time, with one of the books I read back in March.

As much as I love a cheesy romance novel, I’ve found in my not-quite mid twenties, I have a new appreciation for non-fiction. There’s something about learning about peoples lives, and taking lessons I’ve learnt from these books into my own life, that I enjoy.

I’d seen this book, Olivia Potts’ A Half Baked Idea on a few people’s blogs and Instagram pages and wanted to read it. It’s by no means the easiest book I’ve ever read but it’s certainly insightful.


At the moment her mother died, Olivia Potts was baking a cake, badly. She was trying to impress the man who would later become her husband.

Afterwards, grief pushed Olivia into the kitchen. She came home from her job as a criminal barrister miserable and tired, and baked soda bread, pizza, and chocolate banana cake. Her cakes sank and her custard curdled. But she found comfort in jams and solace in pies, and what began as a distraction from grief became a way of building a life outside grief, a way of surviving, and making sense of her life without her mum.

And so she concocted a plan: she would begin a newer, happier life, filled with fewer magistrates and more macaroons. She left the bar and enrolled on the Diplôme de Pâtisserie at Le Cordon Bleu, plunging headfirst into the eccentric world of patisserie, with all its challenges, frustrations and culinary rewards – and a mind-boggling array of knives to boot.

Interspersed with recipes ranging from passionfruit pavlova to her mother’s shepherd’s pie, this is a heart-breaking, hilarious, life-affirming memoir about dealing with grief, falling in love and learning how to bake a really, really good cake.

My Thoughts

Reminiscent of Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner and Everything I Know About Love by Dolly Alderton, Olivia Potts’ debut celebrates food and how it is linked with relationships, love, loss and identity.

The book starts with Olivia finding out her mother has passed and leads on to her journey through grief and towards a new, food-filled career. The food blogger (and extremely amateur cook) in me loved the recipes woven through the book as well as how Potts described how it brought her closer to her mother and her partner.

Sometimes on reading this book I had to stop for a moment and remind myself that it wasn’t fiction, this was basically stepping into someone’s live and wading through the good, the bad and the ugly.

You may not necessarily relate to the book, and the legal jargon laced throughout the book might be a bit off putting (it was for me), but there’s so much beauty in it in Potts’ honesty about love, loss, grief and food. It’ll make you sad, it’ll make you hungry and it’ll serve as a reminder that you should call whoever means something to you — because you never know when you might not have the chance.

You can follow Olivia on Twitter and Instagram .

You can buy this book here.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: A Half Baked Idea by Olivia Potts

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