I'm a self-proclaimed food addict. My husband and I are constantly trying to find new, off-the-beaten path restaurants, I have almost every nighttime Food Network show set to record on my DVR, subscribe to a bunch of food magazines, and am one of those that actually like to cook and attempt to produce edible recipes. And of course....I like to read about food in fiction.
Erica Bauermeister has created magic in The School of Essential Ingredients. Magic in the form of a cooking class, held at our main character, Lillian's restaurant. Lots of different types of people sign up for Lillian's class, characters like Claire, a young, overwhelmed mother, looking for a bit of an escape, Tom a handsome man mourning the loss of his wife, and Antonia, a kitchen designer looking to find herself in her work.
Each of the character's come to Lillian's for a reason and through the therapy of chopping, dicing, mixing, and cooking, they each find answers, though of course, not always the answers they're looking for. Some relationships are made and some are broken, all interwoven with amazing descriptions of the sights, sounds, tastes, and textures of the food. Food is most definitely center stage, even if at times it seems to be placed on the back burner (yep...totally meant to put that pun in there).
When I first picked up The School of Essential Ingredients, I knew I was going to enjoy it from page one. Bauermeister may never have published a novel before, but after reading the amazing writing she has managed to produce, the lovable, multi-demensional characters, and all that fabulous food description, she's definitely going to have a fan following, itching for another book.
I read this for the Fill in the Gaps, Project 100 challenge.
The School of Essential Ingredients