Synopses & Reviews
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.
"In her sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients, Bauermeister picks up the threads of many of the characters first brought together in Lillian's cooking classes, adding a few new stories to the mix. Here we follow Al, the restaurant's accountant, soothed by numbers and flavors but unable to connect with Louise, his wife of 29 years; Chloe, the young sous-chef made timid by a failed relationship; Isabelle, the elderly woman with whom Chloe lives, struggling against the onset of Alzheimer's; and Finnegan, the impossibly tall dishwasher taking his first stab at independence. Lillian remains a sort of mythic background figure, although her unexpected pregnancy tests her and the touchy relationship she's having with Tom, a widower. Bauermeister weaves these individual stories in and among one another, but never stays with one character long enough for the reader to grow very attached, robbing each of depth. Still, Bauermeister's prose is strong, particularly when it comes to food, and her novel brings to life the adage 'be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.' Agent: Amy Berkower, Writers House." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Erica Bauermeister writes prose delicious enough to devour. Like a fine meal, The Lost Art of Mixing will leave you warm in your belly, full in your heart, and very, very pleased. Like all the best writers and cooks, Bauermeister comforts with the familiar — in this case, a return to a cast of beloved characters — even as she sprinkles in the unexpected and new. The results are lip-smackingly good. You might even find yourself going back for seconds.” Tiffany Baker, New York Times-bestselling author of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
“Erica Bauermeister mixes gorgeous prose, luscious detail, and heartfelt characters — new friends and old — to reveal just how colorful and warm life in the rainy Pacific Northwest can be.” Laurie Frankel, author of Goodbye for Now
“Using Lillian’s restaurant as the hub for a cast of widely varied characters, Bauermeister explores the intersections of community, food, belonging, and memory. With Isabelle, the elderly matriarch whose faculties are rapidly fading; Chloe, the feisty sous-chef who’s positive she’ll never be able to trust a man; and other friends and acquaintances, an interconnected and heartfelt story unwinds. In her third novel, Bauermeister displays her admirable talent for ensemble fiction, allowing various characters to share narration duties. Fans of Deborah Copaken Kogan and Meg Waite Clayton will enjoy the novel’s intertwined narratives and shared experiences. Warm, funny, and deeply comforting, The Lost Art of Mixing is a delight.” Booklist
A "heartbreakingly delicious" national bestseller about a chef, her students, and the evocative lessons that food teaches about life.
Once a month, eight students gather in Lillian's restaurant for a cooking class. Among them is Claire, a young woman coming to terms with her new identity as a mother; Tom, a lawyer whose life has been overturned by loss; Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer adapting to life in America; and Carl and Helen, a long-married couple whose union contains surprises the rest of the class would never suspect...
The students have come to learn the art behind Lillian's soulful dishes, but it soon becomes clear that each seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. And soon they are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of what they create.
About the Author
is the author of the national bestseller The School of Essential Ingredients
. She lives in Seattle with her family.