Friendship Bread ~ Novel Review & Giveaway!

by Kathy Strahs on April 18, 2011 · 55 comments

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For the past month or so I’ve been stirring, mashing and feeding a bread starter every day. It’s a bit of a commitment to maintain and it looks and smells a little gnarly on the counter along the way…all sour, bubbly and pasty. But after a while my efforts are rewarded with the opportunity to turn it into something delicious.

It's hard to imagine this pasty, bubbly mess will turn into something delicious

As author Darien Gee puts forth in her new novel, Friendship Bread, the process of nurturing this starter is analogous to cultivating our often-sticky interpersonal relationships. The book has been garnering strongly positive reviews on Amazon and I’m excited to share one more from my newly-appointed official book reviewer – my mom, Nancy!

Read on for my mom’s thoughts on the novel Friendship Bread and details for entering the book GIVEAWAY!

My mom is probably the most avid reader I know. A former teacher, she always encouraged my sisters and I to enjoy reading as well. She found Friendship Bread to be a delightful read – here’s what she had to say:


Author Darien Gee

Author Darien Gee

Friendship Bread by Darien Gee is as sweet and delicious a book as the Amish friendship bread that inspired it. Like a master chef, Darien Gee combines various proportions of lives that are unique ingredients and produces the product of friendship in countless variations.

Several times, she refers to life as “messy.” Those of us who have ever owned a bit of Amish friendship bread starter know that it, too, is an ugly, pasty mess. Given time and careful attention, though, it makes a delicious, tasty treat.

Cleverly, Darien Gee has written a novel about messy lives that when given time and care, unite to produce relationships that are rich, tender, and yes, warm and delicious. How easy it is to throw out the messy starter or to abandon a hurtful relationship. Darien Gee shows us that patience, attention, and most of all love, lead to something that nourishes the body and uplifts the soul.

Friendship Bread has as many variations on life as the numerous recipes for the starter that are found at the end of her book. Enjoy it, find your own variation, and pass it on.


In addition to the traditional Friendship Bread recipe (shown here in this post), I also tried the Friendship Bread Pancakes recipe that appears at the end of the book and experimented with my own chocolate chip variation. Even though there’s yeast involved, this is definitely more along the lines of a cake than a typical yeast bread. All three recipes I tried were terrific – sweet and light with a hint of the sour starter (in a good way). You’ll notice in the traditional recipe the inclusion of instant pudding. Friendship Bread is supposed to have originated with the Amish but I have a feeling their version doesn’t include this ingredient. 🙂

Friendship Bread, by Darien GeeWin a copy of Friendship Bread, by Darien Gee! [THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED]

Here are four ways to enter, you can do any or all of them (please leave separate comments for each entry):

  • Leave a comment on this post sharing your favorite novel.
  • “Like” Cooking on the Side on Facebook
  • Subscribe to free updates from Cooking On the Side via e-mail or RSS
  • Follow me @paninikathy on Twitter

The giveaway will close this Friday, April 22, 2011 at noon PDT. I will use to select two winners to receive copies of Friendship Bread and announce the winners in this post. Apologies to my international readers, the prize can only be shipped to U.S. addresses.

**UPDATE 4/22/11: Congratulations to the Winners!

Congrats to Wendryn (entry #49) and Sara (entry #23)!

Friendship Bread

You can find the recipe for the Friendship Bread starter as well as 100+ bread variations (whew!) on the Friendship Bread Kitchen website.

Thanks to Ballantine Books for providing the review and giveaway copies of Friendship Bread.

See the Recipe Index for all the recipes on Cooking On the Side.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Nate @ House of Annie April 30, 2011 at 7:51 AM

We made Amish Friendship Bread from a starter we got several years ago

I remember it was good tasting, almost cakey in texture. Eventually, though, we tired of it and no one wanted to take any more starter from us. So we baked the last of it and that was that.

Maybe we should start another batch.
Nate @ House of Annie´s last blog post ..In Memoriam- Edith Lee Lau 1918 – 2011


Kathy April 30, 2011 at 7:54 AM

It’ll be like rekindling a friendship, right? 🙂 Thanks for sharing your friendship bread!


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