Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

Copyright: 2009
Publisher: Putnam Adult
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 256
Challenges: The Pub Challenge
New-to-me author? Yes
Author's website

Simple Description
Lillian is a chef at her own restaurant and offers cooking classes on Monday night. This most recent class is a mix of single adults, a married woman, and a married couple. Each person in the class, including the teacher, gets their own section of this story. Mixed in with their stories we learn what is going on in cooking class. You learn about how Lillian ended up being a chef and how cooking has always been a part of her life. Next we learn about Claire. She is married with two small children. She loves her husband and her kids, but just doesn't feel like herself anymore. We also learn about Carl and Helen. They are a married couple and Helen had an affair at one point. You get to read about what happened from each view and how they were able to get past it. Tom is another class member. His wife passed away and he is still grieving. There are several other students, but I'm not going to talk about each one. Each story is interesting and captivating in its own way. The author weaves each characters story into the different meals that are cooked. The food descriptions are wonderful. There is one section where the class bakes a cake and I wanted to do nothing else but bake a cake right along with them. In fact, I did bake a cake on Sunday. I thought of the book and the cake descriptions the entire time.

Why did I read this book?

I admit that I was offered a copy to review. It sounded like a great book, so I gave it a try. I'm soo glad I did.

What I liked most:
I loved the food and cooking descriptions mixed in with the characters stories. I'm not a cook. I don't enjoy cooking. Yet I loved reading about how to cook etc, even if the meals too longer. Of course, I do love to bake. So the description of making the cake was wonderful. I even tried some of the things that were mentioned.

Also I have a new favorite quote which I also used in the header for my blog. I've never used a zester, but I do love shoes. "She felt about her zester the way some women do about a pair of spiky red shoes----a frivolous splurge, good only for parties, but oh so lovely." Pg. 25

Was there something I didn't like?
It was too short. Ok, I mean that's not really a complaint, but it was a shorter story and it was so good that I would have loved to keep reading it.
Do I recommend the book?
Absolutely! I think a lot of people will enjoy this book.

OH..and you know what else? I wish there had been recipes in the book. After I read the bit about the cake, I flipped to the back to see if there was a recipe and was disapointed. I would have loved to make that cake with directions on how to make it just like Lillian.

This book has also been reviewed by:
Redlady's Reading Room
Lesa's Book Critiques
Peeking Between the Pages
Diary of an Eccentric

Have you reviewed this book on your blog? Leave me a comment to let me know and I'll link it above

Happy Reading and thanks for stopping by……Kris


bermudaonion said...

I loved this book too. I know exactly how you feel about it - I didn't want it to end either.

Kris said...

bermudaonion - I have to think the author will be publishing another book and I can't wait for it. Heck, for all I care it could be a sequel to this one - same cook but a new class.

Dar said...

Nice review. I really loved this book but I agree, I wish it had been much longer. I love to cook and I must have reread some of the passages over and over just drooling over them. I hope she writes another in a similar style. Thanks so much for linking my review.

Kris said...

Dar - You're welcome! Thanks for visiting mine.

EricaB said...

Dear Kris -- Thank you for your lovely review! And if you want the cake recipe, you can find it at:
Happy baking!

Beth F said...

I know I'll love this book!

Kris said...

Beth - can't wait for you to read it so I can see your review. I bet you'll like it too.

Anna said...

I absolutely loved this book. Bauermeister is a master of descriptiion. It made me hungry. :)

I reviewed it here.

Diary of an Eccentric

Kris said...

Anna - thanks - I've added your link to my list. It made me hungry too!