First of all, how gorgeous is this cover? I could picture myself reading on the bench while smelling the aromas seeping from the restaurant!
In Erica Bauermeister's debut novel, The School of Essential Ingredients, we meet a cast of characters enrolled in cooking class. Each student comes to class for various reasons, but walks away with more than learning how to cook a new meal.
The chapters are told from each student's perspective and can be viewed as an in depth character study. The author uses both the present and flashbacks to introduce the reader to each character's life. As each student assist Lillian, the teacher and owner of the restaurant, with making the meal, he/she begins to learn more about him/herself.
Lillian doesn't believe in cooking with recipes. Cooking comes from within; cooking is from the heart. Meals are made with essential ingredients that are not found in a recipe. Lillian shines in the book as she carefully chooses each student to assist with the making of the meal by using an ingredient that is connected to his/her life. Lillian is a wonderful teacher as she fades in and out of her students' lives, giving them as much or as little as they need to move forward.
Having read numerous outstanding reviews about this novel, my expectations were very high. I'm happy to say I was not disappointed. This is a fantastic novel. The author's writing style was lyrical and the words seemed to come off the page. A word of caution: do not read this novel while you are hungry! The author goes into great detail about how the meals are prepared and I imagined myself eating every meal.
I do hope Ms. Bauermeister is working on her second novel as I tremendously enjoyed her first.
Year Published: 2009
Source: Purchased at Borders