The Lost Art of Mixing
By Erica Bauermeister
(Putnam Adult, Hardcover, 9780399162114, 288pp.)
Publication Date: January 24, 2013
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National bestselling author Erica Bauermeister returns to the enchanting world of The School of Essential Ingredients in this luminous sequel.
Lillian and her restaurant have a way of drawing people together. There’s Al, the accountant who finds meaning in numbers and ritual; Chloe, a budding chef who hasn’t learned to trust after heartbreak; Finnegan, quiet and steady as a tree, who can disappear into the background despite his massive height; Louise, Al’s wife, whose anger simmers just below the boiling point; and Isabelle, whose memories are slowly slipping from her grasp. And there’s Lillian herself, whose life has taken a turn she didn’t expect. . . .
Their lives collide and mix with those around them, sometimes joining in effortless connections, at other times sifting together and separating again, creating a family that is chosen, not given. A beautifully imagined novel about the ties that bindand links that breakThe Lost Art of Mixing is a captivating meditation on the power of love, food, and companionship.
Erica Bauermeister is the author of The School of Essential Ingredients and Joy for Beginners. She lives in Seattle with her family.
- At the beginning of the book, there is a quote by Aesop: “Every truth has two sides.” What do you think is the importance of that quote to the novel as a whole?
Praise for THE LOST ART OF MIXING
"Erica Bauermeister's characters are alive and savory as the food she describes so well . . . Most chapters in The Lost Art of Mixing could stand independently, but blended together, they make a memorable novel. The Seattle author reminds us how the rituals surrounding food sustain us emotionally and spiritually by giving us opportunities to gather as family and community, sharing more fully in one another's lives by taking the time to break bread together."—Portland Oregonian
“The individual stories are so compelling and woven together so seamlessly that I fell in love with every one of them. Beyond that, I think the author must have strung the words together with magic because they left me mesmerized.”—First for Women
"Harrowing and graceful at once, this is some of Bauermeister's strongest writing."—The Seattle Times
“Erica Bauermeister writes prose delicious enough to devour. Like a fine meal, The Lost Art of Mixing will leave you warm in your belly, full in your heart, and very, very pleased. Like all the best writers and cooks, Bauermeister comforts with the familiar—in this case, a return to a cast of beloved characters—even as she sprinkles in the unexpected and new. The results are lip-smackingly good. You might even find yourself going back for seconds.”—Tiffany Baker, New York Times-bestselling author of The Little Giant of Aberdeen County
“Erica Bauermeister mixes gorgeous prose, luscious detail, and heartfelt characters -- new friends and old -- to reveal just how colorful and warm life in the rainy Pacific Northwest can be.”—Laurie Frankel, author of Goodbye for Now
“Using Lillian’s restaurant as the hub for a cast of widely varied characters, Bauermeister explores the intersections of community, food, belonging, and memory. With Isabelle, the elderly matriarch whose faculties are rapidly fading; Chloe, the feisty sous-chef who’s positive she’ll never be able to trust a man; and other friends and acquaintances, an interconnected and heartfelt story unwinds. In her third novel, Bauermeister displays her admirable talent for ensemble fiction, allowing various characters to share narration duties. Fans of Deborah Copaken Kogan and Meg Waite Clayton will enjoy the novel’s intertwined narratives and shared experiences. Warm, funny, and deeply comforting, The Lost Art of Mixing is a delight.”—Booklist
“Bauermeister’s prose is strong, particularly when it comes to food, and her novel brings to life the adage ‘be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.’”—Publishers Weekly
Praise for Erica Bauermeister
“The School of Essential Ingredients is a delicate, meltingly lovely hymn to food and friendship. Lillian's kitchen, full of buttery light and gorgeous smells, is a place where the world works the way it should. You'll want to tuck yourself into one warm corner of it and stay all day.”—Marisa de los Santos, author of Love Walked In and Belong to Me
“The perfect recipe for escaping from life’s stresses, from savoring the delicious ingredients of Lillian’s recipes to the calm and thoughtful rhythm of Erica Bauermeister’s luminous prose.”—Kate Jacobs, author of The Friday Night Knitting Club
“Fans of Maeve Binchy and Laura Esquirel are going to fall in love with Erica Bauermeister's beautiful story. I know I have. The School of Essential Ingredients is exquisitely written and heartbreakingly delicious. It's a luscious slice of life...and you will enjoy every bite.”—Sarah Addison Allen, New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen
“School is a tale where strangers unite over food, each rediscovering their own essence via cooking’s wonders and pleasures…. Bauermeister manages to keep them fresh and their stories enticing though a series of achingly real vignettes and devastating flashbacks. And her cooking descriptions (fresh crab, handmade tortillas, luscious fondue, pasta sauce simmered for hours, a to-die-for tiramisu) will compel readers to hit the farmers market and run for the kitchen.”—The Seattle Times
“Food Network fans will devour this first novel about a whimsical cooking school run by a gentle chef with a fierce passion for food.”—People