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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The School of Essential Ingredients...Review

About the book:
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.

It isn't often that I read a book that completely captures my heart and soul but The School of Essential Ingredients did just that.  I adored this novel.  Completely and utterly adored it.  I was captivated by these characters and their lives and experiences.  Each of them came to Lillian's kitchen for different reasons and none of them had any idea how their lives would change from the simple act of cooking.  One of my favorite passages is quoted on the back cover and truly captures the essence of this novel, "The first question people always ask me is, 'What are the essential ingredients?'  Lillian paused and smiled.  "I might as well tell you, there isn't a list and I've never had one.  Nor do I hand out recipes.  All I can say is that you will learn what you need to." Each of these characters does just that, with unexpected results.

Erica Bauermeister writes with the most beautiful, delectable language.  Much like a recipe that comes together with ingredients that are mixed and mingled and caramelized or roasted to bring out their rich flavors, these words flow and swirl and blend to become an exquisite harmony of prose. A review of mine could never do it justice.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from TLC Book Tours to read in preparation for reviewing The Lost Art of Mixing later this month.  You can learn more about Erica Bauermeister here.  You can purchase your own copy here.

Read 11/12

* * * * *
5/5 Stars


  1. I felt the same way you did. I hated to tell the characters good-bye when the book ended.

  2. I loved this book as well, and read her second book and loved it too. I need to read her latest because she is an author that I truly adore. Her descriptions of character and her plot structure is amazing. So glad to hear that you loved this one too!

  3. I loved this one too! Especially all the references to food. It reminded me of my own family get-togethers where food is a big deal. Italians spend a long time preparing and serving a meal.