Why do so many people make pilgrimages to Tara Jensen’s North Carolina Smoke Signals Bakery? Why do 100,000 people follow her Instagram feed @bakerhands? It’s because Tara bakes the most exquisite bread in the US, using a wood-fired oven that she tends with her own two hands. It could also be to learn how she makes her bubbly, deep-dish fruit pies or to see the crisp pizzas that are sometimes covered with fresh flowers. It could be something deeper: Tara Jensen has learned to live a simple life, close to the land that feeds her oven. In her first book, she shares her philosophy of simple living and her trove of recipes with others. A Baker’s Year takes readers month-by-month through the seasons at Smoke Signals for porridge and waffles in winter, crusty bread in spring, pies and pizza in the summer, and celebration cakes for end-of-the-year holidays. Along the way, Tara writes about how to live in a more peaceful world, shares stories from her own life, mourns romances lost, and celebrates the promise of a new relationship. Tara Jensen’s A Baker’s Year is destined to be a classic of cookbook shelves in the tradition of The Auberge of the Flowering Hearth and When French Women Cook. Illustrated throughout with Tara’s photographs and drawings, A Baker’s Year is a true American original. Think of it as The Tassajara Bread Book meets Eat Pray Love.