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La scuola degli ingredienti segreti (The School of Essential Ingredients #1)

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  18,156 Ratings  ·  3,433 Reviews
Il profumo di vaniglia e cioccolato riempie la stanza in soffici ondate sovrapposte all'aroma pungente e speziato della cannella. È lunedì, nel ristorante di Lillian è giorno di chiusura, e come ogni settimana si tengono le lezioni del corso di cucina. Circondata dagli allievi, Lillian è in piedi dietro il piano di lavoro: muove delicatamente le mani, sta per aggiungere l' ...more
Paperback, 216 pages
Published 2011 by Garzanti (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Lisa Kelsey
Oct 29, 2008 Lisa Kelsey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hmmmm...I see a lot of people here liked this book. For me the writing style was almost embarrassingly florid, and simile-laden. WAY too saccherine for me.
Dec 03, 2013 Brenda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The School of Essential Ingredients is a story of a cooking class, but is oh so much more! The spices, smells, textures, and flavors throughout the book are used as connection points to the students, their lives, memories, needs, and secrets. As you read this book, you get a warm, cozy feeling from it that lingers with you. You can almost smell and taste right through the book.

This is a book I probably would never have picked up, and if I had, it would have taken a long time for me to finally t
***oops--I misposted this review with the wrong book earlier this week. Sorry! I'm blaming holiday craziness!

This is a glorious book. It's about food as a touchstone and a means for memory, community, nurturing, healing, loving, seduction, sustenance, pleasure, joy, beginning, endings--life. It is the story of a cooking class that learns far more than culinary skills at the hands of a chef whose wisdom is not limited to food stuffs. The language is lush and decadent, rolling off the page and int
Jul 18, 2013 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: blog
The School of Essential Ingredients is a quick read focused on a Monday night cooking class held at a popular local restaurant, Lillian's. Lillian herself presides over these classes and, as someone who has always had an intrinsic understanding of the power of food to heal and comfort, she eagerly awaits each new class to see the transformations (some positive, some negative) that her students undergo as they respond to the food around them. The novel opens as Lillian welcomes her new students: ...more
Renowned chef Lillian owns a restaurant in the Pacific Northwest and every Monday night she hosts a cooking class.

Yep, that's pretty much it. Sounds too simple, right?

This novel is, above all else, a beautifully written character study of each student in Lillian's class. Each character is given their own chapter and their diversity is bound to strike a chord in readers from all walks of life.

Bibliophiles everywhere will see themselves in Lillian's mother, a woman who used books to escape the har
I am not sure if this book can be called a culinary exercise in poetic philosophy. But if it can work, then that is what I feel it is. Add a touch of fairyland and a dollop of romance to it and the end result is a gentle, dreamy, adventure into vegetables and meat.

Lilian runs a restaurant and offers cooking classes on Monday evenings when her business is closed. Through her teachings she is changing the lives of the participants who all came for different reasons to attend the lessons. They all
Jubilation Lee
Normally, friends, I try not to read “food books.” Not just cook books, but books where food plays a major role—think Chocolat, or the novelization of that one movie with what’s-her-head and the guy from Boondock Saints where her cooking is magical and there’s a crab. (Also, not mysteries surrounding food. "The Cupcake Caper!" "The Meatloaf Murder!" I just… I hate those books.)

This is because I spend the vast majority of my time trying not to be horking food in my mouth like a crazed uncaring fo
Jan 07, 2009 Carrie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
When an ARC arrives at my house, it usually goes in the stack of ARCs waiting to be read. But recently, I have cut down on ARC requests and have been diligently making my way through them. I’m pretty sure I only have one left in the stack to read. So, when The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister arrived on Tuesday, it was serendipitous timing - I had just finished Blindspot, and hadn’t picked up another book yet.

I started it Tuesday night, staying up way too late reading. It gr
A solid 3.5 enjoyable read.

This was a comfort read for me. A cast of characters from all walks of life with very different experiences and at very different stages all come together once a week for cooking class. Of course, they learn so much more....about themselves, about each other and about how to look at and experience life. It was a quick and easy read, with a feel good ending. For me, the food was as much a character of this ensemble cast as the others. I would LOVE to find a class like
While I did finish this book, mainly to read about the food, this topic has been done before and done better, I think (by Joanne Harris and Sarah Addison Allen). I did not mind the magical realism (I am a fan of Alice Hoffman's, after all!) but the writing left a lot to be desired. I found the writing repetitious and the author used FAR TOO MANY SIMILES. By the middle of the book I was mentally groaning every time I encountered yet another simile.

Another thing that annoyed me was her over-use o
Jan 05, 2009 K8e rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
This book was AMAZING!!!!! I was hungry while reading it, and hungry for more when I finished. Congrats to Erica for writing such an amazing first novel. I loved the how each chapter was a different characters point of view about their life and how they ended up in Lillian's cooking class. There were some of the best pieces of advice within the pages of this book. I think it really appeals to people who cook, or don't cook for that matter (like me) but now I want to really start learning how and ...more
Tattered Cover Book Store
This is a glorious book. It's about food as a touchstone and a means for memory,community, nurturing, healing, loving, seduction, sustenance, pleasure, joy, beginning, endings--life. It is the story of a cooking class that learns far more than culinary skills at the hands of a chef whose wisdom is not limited to food stuffs. The language is lush and decadent, rolling off the page and into your mind like a drug. I could taste, smell, see and feel everything as if I was indeed standing at the prep ...more
Jul 06, 2011 K rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Someone far less jaded than I
Shelves: cooking, ebooks, chicklit
I have read way, way too many books like this. Several random individuals end up meeting regularly (in this case for a cooking class) and gradually bonding. Each character comes with his own set of traumas and in each chapter we meet a different one and learn his story, interspersed with the teacher's deep philosophical food musings as she demonstrates cake, turkey, or whatever (such pithy gems as, the flour is like the guy at the party who you don't realize is sexy until the end -- huh?). The t ...more
Dec 20, 2010 miaaa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fictions-others
It probably sounds a bit sad that I actually give this book to myself as a Christmas present lol but I sometimes tend to be quite melancholy around Christmas,

First, I couldn't go home as every resources are reserved for my sister's wedding next February
Second, not going home means I couldn't ask mum to cook all her special dishes for me oh especially those sour-sweet shrimps oh yummy
Three, Christmas means baking cookies for the whole family oh yeah I can bake cookies hehe but maybe this time I
Jul 06, 2009 Joanna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A cabin weekend read, recommended (sadly) by NPR. I ended up reading parts aloud to Mara and Abby while we all read by the lake this weekend, because the writing was so florid (and because a grieving husband makes a very creepy tribute to his dead wife, involving her ashes and a cake served to her mourning friends).
The author made a rookie mistakes of writing from the perspectives of all of the characters while maintaining the florid, simile-laden language with every character, so you are force
I've given 5-star ratings to a lot of books I've really liked. But "The School of Essential Ingredients" is on a totally different plane. This is a novel of pure love, toward food and toward life. I've never said this in any other review I've written either on here or in my movie reviews: This book will change your life, no matter if you simply read it straight through without much reaction. Scenes will creep into your memory at times you never expected. If you're not a foodie, you'll become a b ...more
Jan 02, 2009 Traci rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
The School of Essential Ingredients is more than a cooking school. Chef and instructor Lillian proves it's a chance to rediscover your own life. The School of Essential Ingredients allows readers a peak into the life of each student and we watch with pleasure as their worlds realign and come together.

While nothing earth-shattering really happnes here, the pacing is beautiful--it reads so quickly, but has that lovely, languid slowness that I crave on a January afternoon. This is a perfect read fo
Apr 26, 2010 Hilda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Hilda by: drama queen
Shelves: romance
Setiap makanan memiliki keajaiban.

Lillian mempercayainya, dan itulah alasan ia membuka kursus memasak di restorannya setiap Senin malam. Setiap muridnya memiliki alasan tersendiri berada di sana. Alasan yang berbeda-beda, dan masalah yang juga berbeda. Tapi perlahan, semuanya disembuhkan dengan sihir sederhana, tapi sering kali dilupakan. Masakan, dan cinta yang perlahan tumbuh dalam setiap suapan, adukan, dan taburan dalam kebersamaan mereka.

Isabelle, yang telah melupakan banyak hal dalam hidup
indri juwono
Nov 20, 2011 indri juwono rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: a-gift, drama

yang didapat ketika baca buku ini = lapar.

masakannya enak-enak, kelas restoran, dan banyak resep italia favoritku, canneloni dengan saus yang menetes-netes, taart coklat berwarna putih, kepiting saus lemon.

penguasa-penguasa dapur yang bikin teringat ketika baca buku ini :

1. Burger Blenger.
Sudah pernah nyoba? Kalau menurut saya, rasanya enaakk sekali. Dagingnya yang dipanggang sampai empuk, tebal dan mantep lah (sangat jauh beda dengan mcD punya), sayurannya kyuri jepang yang segar dan t
Rebecca McKinnon
Dec 30, 2008 Rebecca McKinnon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: first-reads
One of the best parts of this book turned out to be the thing I was a little wary of before starting it: every chapter is from a different character's viewpoint. I'm a people-watcher. I love to guess where people are going and why. This book takes that idea and actually gives you the answers. We get a glimpse into all these people's lives.

I was surprised how much I liked the story. It's a very quick read--I just got the copy yesterday afternoon and I'm already done. The descriptions, especially
Oct 07, 2015 Maria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Тази книга я четоха две от многото ми „Аз” – романтичната и циничнатами страна. Но защо циничната – по-скоро тривиалната и ежедневната. Романтичната ми част се опита да се наслаждава и даже успя - през повечето време. А циничната ми седя от страни и беше заета да брои клишетата и да шепне „каква досада...”.
А книгата е пълна с клишета, просто гъмжи от тях. Даже няма нищо друго освен клишета. Тук са всичките представи на американците за романтика, познати ни от подобна литература – противопоставян
Jan 22, 2009 Susan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you appreciate the concept of the Slow Food Movement and cooking without recipes you'll love this book. Definitely one of my all time favorites. A great weave of food and characters. I loved putting the book down and climbing out of bed to zest some orange peel in a cup of fresh hot chocolate.
May 06, 2011 Sharmeela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a breezy read without much substance
Recommended to Sharmeela by: Zuriel
Everything about this book was just okay to me. I found it to be very boring, predictable, all loose ends neatly tied by the finish. The descriptions of the food sounded delectable, but other than that all the story lines were pretty bland. Each student in Lilian's cooking class was conveniently broken in some two-dimensional way and under the spell of food and Lilian (doing her best fairy-godmother imitation) waving her magic wand, everything was miraculously right in the world again.
Not only w
Simply put--one of my absolute favorite reads OF ALL TIME--FOR EVER!! Just completed a third reading of this novel in preparation for a second reading of the sequel The Lost Art of Mixing; all for the book club I facilitate. we will speak with Ms. Bauermeister this Saturday as part of our discussion! cannot wait! I never cease to be amazed by this book--the author's deft usage of such visual sensual language with regard to food. Being a "foodie" myself, I am especially appreciative of her writin ...more
Penguin Random House Canada
I admit, I am the Marketing Director for Penguin, but you need to trust me on this one because I bought and read this book a full year before I started working at Penguin. I promise.

I read The School of Essential Ingredients in one fell swoop, on one plane-ride. In fact, I picked it up based entirely on the cover (gorgeous) and the fact that it was a novel about cooking (my favourite kind).

But I was, in fact, delighted to find that the book was more than just a pretty face: Erica Bauermeister is

I picked this book just because I wanted to read something different. I was bored of reading similar kinds of books. This was a genre that I had not explored so I thought why not. I ordered Chocolat and this book, both based on cooking and food just to see if I will like the genre. Both books were good but not mind blowing. They were not so good that I would want to read more books in this genre.

The writing and the language is beautiful.
Some quotes were good like -

"He knew that not all sticks i
Mark Oshiro
Aug 28, 2013 Mark Oshiro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was commissioned to read the first chapter of this book for Mark Reads, and I was floored by the beautiful prose and the tale of the importance of food to our own cultures. So, armed with my Kindle while in Europe, I read this entire book in a single sitting on the train to Amsterdam. It. Is. Astounding. Organized as tales surrounding the participants of a Monday night cooking class, think of it less as a serialized novel and more as a series of vignettes that tie in each characters' life and ...more
May 13, 2011 Mary rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can appreciate what the author was trying to express – the power of food to reach people and bring them back to their essence. It could have been a great story had it been executed better. There were way too many metaphors and similes, and the writing was too flowery and sickeningly sweet for my taste. It seemed as if everything was "perfect" in this novel – the ripe tomato, the shape of pasta, the scent of bread. Everything mundane was taken to the extreme. I suppose that may have been the au ...more
Oct 21, 2011 Kerry rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book is what happens to a culture that is saturated by “reality TV.” Each character gets his or her moment in the spotlight only to fade away into the background once their turn is over. We don’t get much depth of anyone’s personality, history, or goals; instead, we get a series of short stories, each with a happy ending.

Somewhat reminiscent of A Visit from the Goon Squad and Olive Kitteridge, The School of Essential Ingredients features a different character in each chapter. Unfortunately,
Ellen Bevan
This might be called "Cooking Light." This book is not, as one reviewer stated, a collection of short stories, but a collection of vignettes about participants in a cooking class taught by a proponent of the Slow Food Movement. There is no significant character development besides a series of cliche-ridden superficialities, including the opening chapter purporting to explain the origins of the cooking teacher's continuing obsession with food. She doesn't cook with recipes (except when she has to ...more
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Erica Bauermeister is the bestselling author of the novel The School of Essential Ingredients and the upcoming novel Joy For Beginners (June 9, 2011). The School of Essential Ingredients is currently being published in 22 countries and Joy For Beginners was recently selected to be performed as part of the New Short Fiction Series in Los Angeles (June 12, 2011). Erica Bauermeister received a B.A. f ...more
More about Erica Bauermeister...

Other Books in the Series

The School of Essential Ingredients (2 books)
  • The Lost Art of Mixing

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