Every Monday night, eight shy but eager “students” join in the kitchen of Lillian’s restaurant to learn the essentials. Some have come with spouses, some have come by way of unexpected gift certificates, and others have come in hopes of finding themselves.
What I thought would be a poor attempt at intertwining recipes into a novel was actually a romantic unfolding of love stories told through tastes and smells. The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister was one of the most emotionally uplifting, tug-at-your-heart-strings book I’ve read this year.
Cooking can mend broken relationships, strengthen existing ones, and create completely new ones. The novel is made up of eight short stories, all told through the perspectives of Lillian’s students, explaining their life inside and outside the kitchen. Each sharing experiences from their past that shed a bit more light as to how they came to be standing in the class with everyone else.
I finished this book in two sittings and wish so badly that I had not reached the end. However as I was doing research for this post, I found out this is part of a series. The Lost Art of Mixing (The School of Essential Ingredients #2) is already ordered and on it’s way to my front door.
The School of Essential Ingredients made you stop and think about what is most important to you. Each and every thing added to a recipe has a purpose, so ensure that your life is made up of the most essential ingredients. If you do this, you will live a life of exploration, passion, and simplicity.
I wanted to close my eyes and pretend I was eating what they had made in the novel; a bit of sage here, a bit of white wine there. What was even more impressive than the character development in such short stories was her amazing use of words. Every word written was meticulously selected for exactly the way is feels and sounds coming off your tongue.
If the world is getting you down, pick up this book and escape for a few hours. I promise you it’s amazing.
What do I want for Christmas? A gift certificate to Lillian’s cooking class.
What are the essential ingredients in your life?