Friday, February 27, 2009

The School of Essential Ingredients

The School of Essential Ingredients follows the lives of eight students who gather in Lillian’s Restaurant every Monday night for a cooking class. It soon becomes clear, however, that each seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. Students include Claire, a young mother struggling with the demands of her family; Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer learning to adapt to life in America; and Tom, a widower mourning the loss of his wife to breast cancer. Chef Lillian, a woman whose connection with food is both soulful and exacting, helps them to create dishes whose flavor and techniques expand beyond the restaurant and into the secret corners of her student’s lives. One-by-one the students are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of Lillian’s food, including a white-on-white cake which prompts wistful reflections on the sweet fragility of love and a peppery heirloom tomato sauce that seems to spark one romance but end another. Brought together by the power of food and companionship, the lives of the characters mingle and intertwine thanks to the revealing nature of what can be created in the kitchen.

I love how Bauermeister was able to mix the personal stories of Lillian & her students, foods, and weekly lessons that go beyond the kitchen! The charming characters were well-developed and the food descriptions were delicious. I was amazed at Bauermeister's ability to write about the human emotional connection with food! I really enjoyed reading about their cooking journeys as well as their life journeys!
I love how each chapter was dedicated to a different character. Therefore, it was easy to understand each participant's unique story. Each character's beautiful story conveys an essential life wisdom. The characters are very likeable and easy to relate to.

If you are looking for an easy, quick read with incredible writing and food descriptions then this book is for you! It's beautifully written story that drew me in from page one. Whether you like to cook or eat food, you will savor every page! We were definitely left hungry for her next novel!We highly recommend this great book!
Thanks so much to MotherTalk for this great reading opportunity!


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