The following feature is reprinted from Sunday's Courier-Times. Congratulations go out to Blaise on the publication of his second cookbook, Blaise the Baker Celebrates! With his talent for recipe development, enthusiasm, and charm, I think The Food Network is missing the boat in not signing him for a cooking show.
By DONNA CRONK
If you’re familiar with Chew This! Columnist Blaise Doubman’s work, you’ll know that his mother, Darla, and two grandmothers, Deloris and Barbra, serve as his muses.
So it won’t be a surprise to learn that Blaise’s earliest cooking memory is helping Grandma Barbra in the kitchen while standing on an old, wooden chair.
“I also have an early memory of helping my Mom, Darla, in the kitchen baking a heart-shaped chocolate cake,” he recalls. “I was amazed at the process.”
Amazed is a constant state of being for Blaise. His writing brims with enthusiasm and unbridled joy about baking, cooking – and all-things food. Right now, he’s as busy with the business side of his spatula as he is with developing, testing, and tasting recipes.
His second cookbook, Blaise the Baker Celebrates! is newly released. It follows his 2016 debut, Blaise the Baker Dessert First.
“I guess in the back of my mind I always knew there would be a second cookbook,” the author says. “Once the first cookbook was published it wasn’t long after that I started gathering up recipes for a second and creating a vision for that one.”
The first volume outperformed expectations. “People just seemed to go crazy over it! I remember crying about how grateful I was that people seemed to enjoy it so much. I have had people email me and tell me that they have literally made every single recipe in the book and love them all.”
RECIPES THAT WORK
Blaise thinks people gravitate toward his recipes for one simple reason: the recipes work.
“So many cookbooks seem to throw recipes together without any form of testing. You have to make sure a recipe works.”
To that end, he explains his methods. First he considers recipes that he enjoys, then family recipes followed by foods he and his family often make, and then recipes that are popular which he wants to share. “I am not big into food trends or recipes that seem to be of the moment. I am more about sharing recipes that are timeless, that have been around 50, 60, 70 years and that people still enjoy today as much as they did years ago.
While he updates them, the recipe and processes remain about the same. But he also plays around with food, measurements, tastes and flavors “and luckily sometimes a delicious new recipe joins the others.”
Desserts were the focus of the first book (although lots of other recipes were included) but the second contains “some really, really strong main dishes and side dishes ...” The new cookbook is organized as is a typical cookbook in appropriate order of food courses.
Gratitude for readers pours from Blaise. “My second cookbook is also dedicated more to my fans and followers. It is because of them that I get the opportunity to do this again. It is a celebration in all definitions of the word. I am celebrating that I get to do this again, celebrating my thankfulness and just celebrating life.”
When asked to select a favorite recipe from the new book, Blaise finds the task difficult. One he mentions, however, is a quick chicken stir fry that is fried in Miracle Whip. Another fave features his new method of oven-roasting chicken that makes clean-up a breeze.
“One of my testers said it was ‘revolutionary!’”
As for mishaps while getting the book ready, Blaise wanted to develop a recipe for a pie baked into a cake. It didn’t go so well.
A Kennard native and resident, the Henry County town is near and dear to the author. One set of grandparents lived one block away from Blaise’s family in one direction, and the other set lived a block away in the other. And, his folks, Jamie and Darla Doubman, grew up as next-door neighbors.
“I tease them that they must have had a crush on each other in kindergarten,” says Blaise. “Whatever it was, it must have worked because they just recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary.”
Blaise is in no hurry to leave his hometown. “I love Kennard and I love that I am surrounded by those that I love, so I guess if I do leave, it will not be very far away.”
A graduate of both Knightstown High School and Indiana University East, the author has written Chew This! for almost four years. Some of his other platforms include his blog, blaisethebaker.com where he writes extensively about various aspects of food. He recently partnered with White Cloud World Teas as a brand ambassador. Also check out his online Facebook group, Tasty Recipe Box and a cookbook-sharing group, Cookbooks, etc.
And, keep looking for the author / columnist every first and third Sunday in The Courier-Times Neighbors sections.
“Even to this day I get so excited to see my column and recipe in print – that feeling has never gotten old to me!” he says. “I am still just as excited today about it (as) I was on the first printing.”
He hopes readers enjoy the same things the did with the new cookbook as they did with the first: “That the recipes work, that they love the recipes and that they also enjoy the stories and family memories that I share with each recipe,” says Blaise.
“I really hope that they will feel a part of my family and feel like they were a part in the cookbook’s creation.”
For ordering information or connecting with Blaise, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.