I find it hard to explain this book, or even remember the mouthful of a title, Important Artifacts and Personal Property from the Collection of Lenore Doolan and Harold Morris, Including Books, Street Fashion, and Jewelry, in its entirety, but it is one that I treasure. Art-meets-novel, its creator, Leanne Shapton, uses words and images to tell the story of a relationship in an unusual format: an auction catalog. Designed from cover-to-cover to replicate an actual catalog, it features the contents of one couples now dissolved relationship up for sale. Cool, huh?
But what does this have to do with cake? Quite a lot, actually. The female protagonist—Lenore—pens a column about cakes and baking for the New York Times called Cakewalk. I'd forgotten all about this detail until I was scanning my bookshelves for CBM and, drifting beyond the baking book shelves, spotted Important Artifacts and knew immediately it belonged here.
So much of what I love about cake is not just the deliciousness or the celebratory dress it always wears, but the way that cake fits into the narrative of our lives and our history (hence, the focus of this blog as stated in the subtitle) as well. Just the way that a person or a pet or even old t-shirt can be a character in a story—real or imagined—cake can too. And it does it so well here.