The School of Essential Ingredients
By Erica Bauermeister
(Berkley Trade, Paperback, 9780425232095, 272pp.)
Publication Date: January 5, 2010
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A "heartbreakingly delicious" national bestseller about a chef, her students, and the evocative lessons that food teaches about life
Once a month, eight students gather in Lillian's restaurant for a cooking class. Among them is Claire, a young woman coming to terms with her new identity as a mother; Tom, a lawyer whose life has been overturned by loss; Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer adapting to life in America; and Carl and Helen, a long-married couple whose union contains surprises the rest of the class would never suspect...
The students have come to learn the art behind Lillian's soulful dishes, but it soon becomes clear that each seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. And soon they are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of what they create.
Erica Bauermeister’s love of slow food and slow life was cemented by her two years living in northern Italy with her husband and children. She has taught literature and creative writing at the University of Washington and currently lives in Seattle with her family. The School of Essential Ingredients is her first novel.
Once upon a time, it was fashionable to adore all things French. Those days are gone — remember "freedom fries"? — but author Danielle Trussoni is convinced that there are plenty of Americans who still love French culture, fashion and food. Trussoni recommends three books about France — all with a certain je ne sais quoi. More at NPR.org
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- When Claire first walks into Lillian’s, she reflects: “When was the last time she had been someplace where no one knew who she was?” Is the anonymity of the kitchen a lure for Lillian’s students?