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The School of Essential Ingredients | [Erica Bauermeister]

The School of Essential Ingredients

Once a month on Monday night, eight students gather in Lillian's restaurant for a cooking class. Over time, the paths of the students mingle and intertwine, and the essence of Lillian's cooking expands beyond the restaurant and into the secret corners of their lives, with results that are often unexpected, and always delicious.
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Publisher's Summary

Once a month on Monday night, eight students gather in Lillian's restaurant for a cooking class. Over time, the paths of the students mingle and intertwine, and the essence of Lillian's cooking expands beyond the restaurant and into the secret corners of their lives, with results that are often unexpected, and always delicious.

©2008 Erica Baurmeister; (P)2008 Penguin

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.9 (123 )
5 star
 (39)
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 (41)
3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
4.1 (57 )
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.2 (62 )
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 (16)
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  •  
    Molly-o Seattle 03-21-09
    Molly-o Seattle 03-21-09 Member Since 2007

    English major. Love to read

    HELPFUL VOTES
    286
    ratings
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    78
    60
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    73
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    Overall
    "Lovely, lovely book"

    This is a wonderful book for these times - a way to remember to slow down, appreciate what we have and just forget for a few hours the bad news we hear every day. It is beautifully recorded and the writing is superb. Its sensuality is another example of what a treat it is to listen to a book.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ron Canada 04-07-13
    Ron Canada 04-07-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Is it about food? or sex?"

    A review by Marcia Stacy
    The reader was certainly very sensual, and it brought the whole concept of food and the smells, textures, taste and preparation into sharp focus. A delicious read. I would not recommend it to men who don't cook, they would be bored. Our book club loved it and we re-created the turkey dinner, it was wonderful!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Coffee Virginia Beach, VA, United States 02-06-12
    Coffee Virginia Beach, VA, United States 02-06-12 Member Since 2012

    Coffee and a Book Chick

    HELPFUL VOTES
    55
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    19
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    "Outstanding story on cooking, life, and love."

    Recently, I mentioned that Cassandra Campbell was fast becoming one of my favorite narrators for audio books. There is an atmosphere her voice creates, light and humorous (as in Very, Valentine) or mournful and haunting (as in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks). It's always perfect for the story. So when Sandy at You've GOTTA Read This! commented that I should pick up The School of Essential Ingredients, I did. When it comes to audio, Sandy's an exceptional guide.

    I'm never going to get tired of books about cooking food and living life. I love it. The connection of recipes, knowing which spice should go with which dish, and how that translates back to relationships, loss, and love, will fit the bill for me every time, and this story did not disappoint.

    The story is told by the eight students taking a cooking class on Monday evenings, their personal stories and memories meaningfully unfolding for the listener. There is humor, tragedy, sadness, loss, and newly found love. Usually, when there are more than three or four characters sharing their stories, it can become overwhelming or confusing, or one character may be completely uninteresting, but not so with this story. All of the characters contributed a significant part of their lives, and not one was overdone, or wasted, or skipped over. It all fit.

    At the heart of it is Lillian, the instructor and owner of the restaurant where the classes are held. She, too, has a quietly compelling story, one that has shaped her with whom she has become. She was an exceptional character, the rock of knowledge for each of the students, quickly learning what they needed to be taught. She is what kept them moving forward, both in their cooking skills and in life.

    Erica Bauermeister's novel was released in 2009, and the story has such a sophisticated style that it's surprising it was a debut novel. It's a story that will make you cry and laugh, but most importantly, it will remind you that living is about the here and now, and that while mistakes happen, the choice to never let a moment pass you by is clear. Love, and be loved, and do so with integrity and kindness.

    While the school deals with the essential ingredients of cooking, it is by far the fundamental elements of living that are the most important lesson to be learned. I cannot wait to read (or listen to) Joy for Beginners which was released in June 2011.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sarah E Macknik 02-04-12 Member Since 2001
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    3
    3
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    Story
    "Easy breezy read."
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. It's short and light. Nice book for airplane or beach.


    What does Cassandra Campbell bring to the story that you wouldn???t experience if you just read the book?

    Soft empathetic narration.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kath Danvers, MA, United States 03-13-13
    Kath Danvers, MA, United States 03-13-13 Member Since 2009
    ratings
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    50
    10
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    "Not for me"

    This was a book club choice. I listened for a couple of hours and found that I really did not care about the characters or the story as a whole.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful
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