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January 19, 2013

The School of Essential Ingredients


The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
Fiction
2009 Penguin Audio
Reader: Cassandra Campbell
Finished: 11/30/12
Rating: 4.75/5 (Terrific!)



Product Description:

Once a month on Monday night, 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. One by one they are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of what they create, including a white-on-white cake that prompts wistful reflections on the sweet fragility of love, and a garlic and red sauce that seems to spark one romance but end another. Over time, the paths of the students mingle and intertwine, and the essence of Lillian's cooking expands beyond the restaurant and into the secret corners of their lives, with results that are often unexpected, and always delicious.

It's been over three years since I first discovered this lovely book. After receiving an ARC of Bauermeister's follow-up novel (The Lost Art of Mixing), I knew it was time to re-read The School of Essential Ingredients. I thoroughly enjoyed re-visiting Lillian's restaurant and Cassandra Campbell's excellent narration didn't disappoint. 


You can read my original review here and purchase The Lost Art of Mixing at your local bookstore on January 24th!


18 comments:

  1. So glad you loved this one! I also think Bauermeister is a great author. I have her Art of Mixing on my "must read" list :)

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    1. I love Bauermeister's books. Of course, I love the Pacific Northwest, so that's a bonus. I think you'll enjoy her new one. I started it last night and couldn't put it down. Forced myself to, though, since 5 a.m. comes far too early!

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  2. cool way to re-read it by listening to it this time around. I still love that book!!!

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    1. I've gotten into this groove of listening to books that I want to re-read. It works out well and I don't feel like I'm losing time, ignoring all those books stacked up waiting to be read the first time around! ;)

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  3. Cassandra Campbell is such a great reader. Glad u liked this one.

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    1. She's one of my favorite readers, Diane.

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  4. I loved this one too! I need to read The Lost Art of Mixing now.

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    1. I'm only a few chapters in, but it's starting off very well. I think it'll be another winner!

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  5. I also loved both books!

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    1. I started The Lost Art of Mixing last night and I love it! Can't wait to read more tonight.

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  6. I love how Bauermeister's books almost feel like they are enveloping you when you read them. So comfortable!

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    1. That's exactly how I feel, Marg. They're great comfort reads. I'm so happy her sequel is starting off with a bang. I began it last night and finally had to tell myself to turn out the light! So far, it's a winner.

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  7. I'm so in the minority with this book. I believe it was a DNF for me. One scene turned me off.

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    1. Of course, now I'm curious which scene that was! :) Sorry it didn't work for you, Joy. I've just started The Lost Art of Mixing (the sequel) and I'm lovin' it!

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  8. Just picked this up over the weekend. Don't know when I'll get to it but I just "wanted" it :-)

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  9. I had to shove myself through The School of Essential Ingredients but I couldn't recall why, so I just went back to read my review. Oh, yes. I thought the way Lillian taught her cooking class was terrifying. I'm trying to reteach myself cooking and Jamie Oliver occasionally panics me, even when I'm trying very, very basic recipes. Thank goodness for a cooking husband to walk me through things!

    I did love Chloe's story, though, and still remember it well.

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  10. Can't wait to read The Lost Art of Mixing. Loved the previous book.

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