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The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

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Showing 1-5 of 121 (next | show all)
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. ( )
  2kidsandtired | Aug 2, 2016 |
It inspires you to cook and to love, to wake up and feel flavors, smells, sounds and the people around us. It is healing book. ( )
  ralu1150 | Jul 15, 2016 |
This was a cute book. It was not a super serious read, but did approach some serious topics at some points. I liked the transition between different POV's for each student in the class. The love of food was palpable on the page. There were some great descriptions of cooking. It definitely made me hungry at some points. Personally, I had a soft spot for Antonia as I have spent time in Tuscany and related to the foods she loved best. I also loved Abuelita as I recently read a book on making tacos and am currently on a mission to make my own homemade tortillas. I'd recommend this book if you like food and want to read something that will leave you feeling warm, nourished and probably a little hungry. ( )
  thealtereggo | Feb 26, 2016 |
Lillian is a talented chef and restaurant owner who holds a cooking class on the first Monday of each month. Participation is limited to eight students and their stories are told in each chapter as the lessons unfold. We have a young mother who feels she’s lost herself to her responsibilities, an older married couple with much history between them and a few secrets as well, a widower still deeply grieving the loss of his wife, a teen trying to find her purpose in life, an Italian immigrant searching for something new but learning to return to her roots, an elderly woman in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s, and the charming man whose mother gave him a certificate for class because she wanted him to find his own joy. We also learn how Lillian learned to give the gift of love through her cooking.

The writing in this slim volume is rich and sensual, but overly reliant on simile. Still, the descriptions of the food made me hungry for more and I enjoyed this indulgent treat (though I wouldn’t want a steady diet of it). ( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 24, 2016 |
This book is a rich and layered love letter to food and the connections we are capable of making while exploring the art of cooking. The narrative swaps to follow each member of a cooking class, meandering through their lives, past loves, and current experiences of motherhood, death, first jobs, retirement and everything.

Audio book: the lush voice of the narrator perfectly captured the nuances of each segment. Gorgeous, top to bottom. ( )
  LadyBill | Jan 23, 2016 |
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For Heidi, Karin, and Dad
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Lillian loved best the moment before she turned on the lights.
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Published under two titles: The School of Essential Ingredients, The Monday Night Cooking School
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Book description
Once a month on a Monday night, eight students gather in Lillian's resturant 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, one by one, they are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of what they create... (978-0-425-23209-5)
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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 as 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 students' lives.… (more)

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