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What happens when a 56-year-old fiction writer decides to ditch it all and attend professional pastry chef school for a year? In writing that brings to mind the work of journalist/chef Michael Ruhlman, Butter Cream: A Year in a Montreal Pastry School tells the story of eleven months of whipping, spreading and creaming in the pursuit of perfection. When Denise Roig set out to do this — a lark, she thought — she had no idea what it would cost and what it would give back. Butter Cream is the chronicle of an intense year of learning and tasting, dramas at the stove and in the locker room. It's about fights, friendship and competition, fallen cakes and rising doughs. And sometimes, unexpectedly, it's about the sheer joy of baking. It's a memoir that also includes trips back to Roig's mother's and grandmother's kitchens and to her own complicated relationship with all things sweet.

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    Cream puff

    Aggravatingly concerned with her weight and patronizing to her Chinese classmates right from the start.


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