Revenge That’s Hot Hot Hot

Sweet Revenge: Passive-Aggressive Desserts for Your Exes & Enemies by Heather Kim. Switch Press, 2018. 9781630790899.

Instead of taking your anger at your former friends and lovers to social media, Kim suggests baking them delicious revenge desserts. She emphasizes the catharsis in baking (smashing, beating, creaming) and each dessert gets an appropriate I’m-over-you name: Kiss My Molasses, World’s Biggest Flake, I Couldn’t Carrot All Cake.

This book is aimed at teen readers, but you might miss that at first. The explanation of terms is low-key and in the flow of the recipes themselves. Each dish has a difficulty rating and the directions don’t assume you’re an accomplished baker. There are sections comparing basic ingredients to aspects of relationships — flours are good for different purposes, like the flowers you send to a girlfriend or boyfriend; sugars are like the different kinds of people you can date. But the biggest hint that this is a book for younger cooks: the recipes. I think they’ll be hugely appealing to teens who love intense flavors and unusual combinations of ingredients, and they will probably sound pretty gross to older readers. That carrot cake? It’s carrot cake balls rolled in sugar and crushed Cool Ranch Doritos. There’s a butter pound cake with sriracha icing and muffins dipped in Chinese five spice mix. But the way I’ll sell this to teens is that unlike pretty much every other cookbook for under-18s, it doesn’t tell you to ask an adult before you do anything involving an oven or knives!

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