injen, July 18, 2009 (view all comments by injen)
For the first fifteen pages I was annoyed by the incessant, contrived similes. The book came close to abandonment, but then I fell into it. The kitchen, Lillian, her students, and the sensuous art of creating and savoring food was real. I longed to be there. A book for those who want to drain the cup dry.
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janieslate, February 17, 2009 (view all comments by janieslate)
I am very excited about sharing this delectable book with my book club. We always end our year with a "foodie" book and usually the host serves up a dish or two from the book. This is a perfect read for us!! I love the characters and the storyline.
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Alyson W, January 31, 2009 (view all comments by Alyson W)
It's essential before reading any book on food and cooking to eat first. My mouth kept anticipating taking a taste of one thing after another. I sensed that the food talked to each of the students as they revealed a piece of themselves. The senses will have a great time reawakening to sumptuious smells and delectable tastes. This warm-hearted tale is almost like eating a satisfying meal except there's no calories to add to the hips.
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megan s, January 28, 2009 (view all comments by megan s)
Lillian recognizes from an early age that food is powerful. For Lillian, flavors can heal, spices can seduce, and even an ordinary apple can be magical for someone who eats it at just the right moment. During a monthly cooking class at her restaurant, Lillian sets out to show that cooking is much more than simply following directions in a recipe and eating is much more than a practical action to stave off hunger. As her students come from their seperate walks of life, each of their personal stories is illuminated and each of their lives is impacted by lessons they learn under Lillian's perceptive tutelage, lessons that extend far beyond how to bake a good cake or prepare Thanksgiving dinner. Slowly but surely, Lillian's students come to discover the power of a good meal to bring people together, to heal past hurts, and to alter the course of current struggles.
The School of Essential Ingredients is a briliant blend of the obvious and the subtle just like the flavors that change the lives of Bauermeister's characters. Bauermeister's writing is a rare and sensual treat as her writing brings scents, flavors, and textures to life right alongside the poignantly rendered moments in the lives of each of the characters. Each of the students is fleshed out and all are having experiences that are easy for readers to relate to their own lives. Their stories are both sweet and sad, but above all, genuine. Bauermeister's debut is a delicious story about food, about love, and about life that left me totally satisfied, even as I wiped a tear or two from my eye.
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Denise Morland, January 28, 2009 (view all comments by Denise Morland)
This is a beautiful, warm-hearted book that is perfect for getting through the dark days of winter! Its the story of a Monday night cooking class presided over by Lillian the chef of a romantic little restaurant. Lillian knows that each of her students come for a different reason. Some come for confidence, some for adventure, and some for comfort, but each will leave with wisdom and passion they never expected to find.
Erica Bauermeister writes about food with impressive detail and feeling. This is a book that will leave you hungry for lovingly prepared, delicious food! Her writing style reminds me of Maeve Binchy. She weaves together the stories of fascinating, sympathetic characters. You will fall in love with them! Like a big bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup on a cold January night this book will leaave you warm and satisfied. I only hope that Erica is hard at work on her next novel!
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"Publishers Weekly Review"
by Publishers Weekly,
"In this remarkable debut, Bauermeister creates a captivating world where the pleasures and particulars of sophisticated food come to mean much more than simple epicurean indulgence. Respected chef and restaurateur Lillian has spent much of her 30-something years in the kitchen, looking for meaning and satisfaction in evocative, delicious combinations of ingredients. Endeavoring to instill that love and know-how in others, Lillian holds a season of Monday evening cooking classes in her restaurant. The novel takes up the story of each of her students, navigating readers through the personal dramas, memories and musings stirred up as the characters handle, slice, chop, blend, smell and taste. Each student's affecting story — painful transitions, difficult choices — is rendered in vivid prose and woven together with confidence. Delivering memorable story lines and characters while seducing the senses, Bauermeister's tale of food and hope is certain to satisfy." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[A] series of pearl-like vignettes stretched out along a narrative string. Anchoring the tales of these divergent individuals is their common participation in a cooking class."
"[R]eads like a yummy bedtime story, with agreeable characters and dreamy dishes."
by Seattle Times,
"[Bauermeister's] cooking descriptions...will compel readers to hit the farmers market and run for the kitchen."
Eight students gather in Lillian's Restaurant every Monday night for cooking class. It soon becomes clear, however, that each one seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen.
National bestselling author Erica Bauermeister returns to the enchanting world of The School of Essential Ingredients in this luminous sequel.
Lillian and her restaurant have a way of drawing people together. There’s Al, the accountant who finds meaning in numbers and ritual; Chloe, a budding chef who hasn’t learned to trust after heartbreak; Finnegan, quiet and steady as a tree, who can disappear into the background despite his massive height; Louise, Al’s wife, whose anger simmers just below the boiling point; and Isabelle, whose memories are slowly slipping from her grasp. And there’s Lillian herself, whose life has taken a turn she didn’t expect. . . .
Their lives collide and mix with those around them, sometimes joining in effortless connections, at other times sifting together and separating again, creating a family that is chosen, not given. A beautifully imagined novel about the ties that bind—and links that break—The Lost Art of Mixing is a captivating meditation on the power of love, food, and companionship.
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