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The Lost Art of Mixing (The School of Essential Ingredients #2)

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  3,182 ratings  ·  579 reviews
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
Hardcover, 288 pages
Published January 24th 2013 by Putnam Adult
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Smart Summer Reads
128th out of 1,517 books — 2,809 voters
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Nouvelle Cuisine
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Community Reviews

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God I love this women's books! Her writing style is so comfortable and's just a joy to read. Again, as in her previous book, she effortlessly weaves together multiple stories to one conclusion with a sigh.

I just have to include some quotes from the book:

"Sometimes it was rather luxurious to be in the passenger seat. You could let your mind wander."

"There is a differece between taking care of and caring for."

"Some days words seemed more like clothes, created to distract attention fro
Donna Jo Atwood
This is a sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients, which I enjoyed so much.
Many of the same characters from Lillian's restaurant are back in this novel with updates on their lives.
Chloe is now living with Isabelle whose Alzheisers' is worsening and Tom and Lillian are spending more time together. We have new characters. We meet Lillian's accountant Al and his wife Louise. There's a new dishwasher, Finnegan. And we meet two of Isabelle's children and a grandchild. It's a lot of people to k
Marilyn Clay
I so enjoyed the first book "The School of Essential Ingredients" and for the most part I enjoyed this one. Some of the characters in the first book are revisited and we are introduced to some new ones. It was good to continue getting to know Chloe, Isabelle, Tom and Lillian. Finnegan is an interesting soul with his blue books. I too thought that the Louise story line ended very abruptly. I was sorry Al didn't get his ritual book back. The ritual of Isabelle's 'throne was fun and I would have li ...more
This is the sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients and I read this as an early reviewer. Lillian, a chef and restauranteur, is back again and struggling in her relationship with Tom, who is still in mourning over his wife. Her assistant, Chloe, is trying to heal after heartbreak and is living with Isabelle, who is slowly succumbing to Alzheimer's. Al, Lillian's accoutant, is trying to find a way to make his wife Louise happy and failing miserably, because Louise's issues are nothing he ca ...more
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
I adored. Absolutely and utterly adored The School of Essential Ingredients. It came as part of a package when I received The Lost Art of Mixing so that I could read it first.

While food features so prominently with the relationships in The School of Essential Ingredients, it doesn't here. There, the story revolved around the recipes; the cooking and ingredients. Smell and aroma were very evocative. Here we see remembrances of days past and how they blend into the future. Relationships that seem
Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews
Food, family, relationships, recipes....a wonderful combination, and a marvelously wonderful book.

THE LOST ART OF MIXING makes you feel cozy inside and out. After being with Lillian, you are relaxed and happy...she is just someone who makes you want to be where she is and where you want to stay.

In fact, most of the characters mixed well with each other just like a perfect recipe. Each character blended together to make an unforgettable book about family memories, misunderstandings that turned so
Dana Stabenow
There are no villains here, just people, living their lives, making the mistakes we all make, and looking for love. All the action centers around Lillian's restaurant, her sous-chef Chloe and dishwasher Finnegan, Lillian's bereaved lover Tom, Lillian's stuck-in-a-hopeless marriage accountant Al, Al's angry wife Louise, and Chloe's Alzheimer's affected roommate Isabelle.

All Finnegan knew, and all he wanted to know, was that he was loved without question.

But no one here is, or not at first. Lillia
Perhaps I expected too much after reading The School of Essential Ingredients, but this sequel fell flat for me. The characters from the first book were brought back in an attempt, I think, to delve into their backgrounds and to better understand the choices they had made in their lives. Instead, the book just never came together in a plot that told a story of their interactions together. In some places I found a darkness that just made me feel as though the author was trying too hard to flesh o ...more
Andrea Guy
There are some books that you rush through even though you love them and then there some books that you meander through slowly, savoring each word. This is one of the books that you savor.

At first I thought the book was slow, but I came to realize soon that I was wrong.

It felt slow because you were really getting to know all the characters whose lives are connected in this story, and there's quite a cast of characters here; Louise, Al, Lillian, Tom, Chloe, Finnegan and Isabelle. Those are just t
Synopsis (from

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 li
Erica Bauermeister is a master storyteller. She finds the stories that don't seem apparent then weaves the words into something more tangible than ideas then infuses them into the characters. Each character possesses a different way of viewing the world and each chapter tells a part of the story through that character's eyes. It is not an action packed novel but a book to be read, savored, and enjoyed. I loved every character from meticulous Al who read stories from tax returns to Finnegan who w ...more
I am a big fan of Bauermeister's first book The School of Essential Ingredients, so I was delighted to see that her latest novel brings us back into Lillian's kitchen. It's a lovely mix of new and old characters, and, for me at least, just as magical. Each person who comes to the restaurant is lost, lonely, afraid or unhappy in some way, all have tried to ignore it and soldier on. But by mixing into Lillian's circle, these folks bump into and blend with each other, forming friendships and someti ...more
I loved The School of Essential Ingredients, which is the predecessor to this book. But four years is a long time for a sequel, so I didn't remember the characters who reappear. While I enjoyed this book, it doesn't quite capture the magic of the first one, and ends too abruptly for my taste.
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 ...more
Top of the line chick-lit!

Erica Bauermeister has an elegant way with words. Once again she has crafted a story populated with characters so real you expect them to step out of the pages and take a walk down your street. The story of each one of these people intertwines and unfolds in a natural way that leads you step by step through a maze of human emotion.

Lillian and her cooking school do not figure prominently in this story, but all the characters are connected in one way or another through he
Eh, it was okay, I guess. I really do enjoy well-developed characters, and every character in this story has their own chapter (or two) which delve deeply into their pasts, and nicely set up their challenges & goals in the present. I found myself enjoying reading about all the characters, even some of the less sympathetic ones.

The problem lies in the wafer-thin plot and the cursory interactions the characters have with one another in the "present" time. I think the book is trying to make a p
(Lonestarlibrarian) Keddy Ann Outlaw
"May we always celebrate the community that is reading." That is the last sentence of this book, actually from the acknowledgements, and it is quite appropois considering that community is very much the subject of The Lost Art of Mixing. A handful of Pacific Northwest characters loosely connected to a restaurant fumble through various life crises, be they related to health, family, marriage or friendship. Every new chapter zeroes in on a particular character. That technique is wonderful in a way ...more
I was really looking forward to reading The Lost Art of Mixing because of how much I loved The School of Essential Ingredients, but the former had almost none of what I loved about the latter. Where The School of Essential Ingredients was filled with warmth and tantalizing descriptions of food, the Lost Art of Mixing left me feeling cold, frustrated, and hungry. Perhaps this was Erica Bauermeister's goal - to highlight life's difficulties and the misunderstandings that abound in human relationsh ...more
Actual rating: 4.5/5 (Terrific!)

Just like a delicious meal at one of my favorite restaurants, Erica Bauermeister’s novels are consistently pleasing and something to which I look forward with great anticipation. I received an ARC from the author several months in advance of its publication, but held off reading it until I had the chance to reread The School of Essential Ingredients. After listening to that lovely novel, I eagerly picked up this sequel and quickly devoured it, in spite of my effor
In this book, we are reintroduced to characters from Bauermeister's earlier novel, The School of Essential Ingredients. However, the magic of Lillian's cooking, the ability of her recipes to transcend paper and leave traces of her magic within each recipient was lost in this story.

Less about cooking and more about individual stories of routine and rituals, The Lost Art of Mixing examines the ways in which routine and ritual can define one's life. The routine rituals of a disgruntled housewife: t
Tia Bach
There's an interesting and engaging set of characters in The Lost Art of Mixing. Lillian is the at the center of an intricate story about relationships and self-discovery. She is in a relationship with a man who can't quite let go of another, and she's facing an unexpected development in the plan she had for her life.

Like any good recipe, varied ingredients work together to make an enjoyable concoction. In this story, it's the varied complexities of the characters that come together. Their stor
Memories turned into recipes, recipes that turn into stories. One of my favorite sentences in this book! There are so many characters that bring this book to life. There is Al the accountant, who has always found comfort in numbers and ritual. His story was an interesting one for me. As we get a glimpse of his childhood, my heart broke just a bit for the boy who found comfort in the home of elderly neighbor Mrs. Cohen. Lillian, owns a restaurant that seems to bring people together. Her sous-chef ...more
Leigh  Kramer
In The Lost Art of Mixing, we catch up with a few of the cooking class members from Essential Ingredients and meet a few new characters, all somehow connected to Lillian and her restaurant. This follow up has less emphasis on food, though it still plays a lovely role, and more on memory. The way food evokes memories, the way memories can be fleeting and fickle, the way memories can heal.

As in Essential Ingredients, we see the story through a different character's eyes each chapter. Despite the d
Laura Zimmerman
I just wrote a review for this book, which I won through a Goodreads giveaway...and then lost the review when I hit 'save'. Very frustrating and disappointing--I spent a fair amount of time on the review.

Maybe I will try to re-create the review at another time but I will say for now that I really enjoyed The Lost Art of Mixing. It surprised me, as I expected it to be pretty fluffy and insubstantial but Ms. Bauermeister wrote a wonderfully gentle, soothing book about a small group of people livin
The therapeutic benefits of preparing a meal, thoughtfully blending fresh produce, herbs, colors, tastes,Anne Tyler-like characters, all this will strike a familiar chord with readers familiar with Bauermeister’s earlier work (This is the sequel to “The School of Essential Ingredients.”)
With Lillian’s restaurant as the centerpiece, the characters, whether they know it or not, are at transition points in their lives, discovering how to honor and learn from the small moments in life. The stark hon
This is one of the best books I have read (even though it is audio). This is a beautifully written book and reminds me of Gardenspells, but doesn't have the sharp edges that Gardenspells has. The descriptions are wonderful and the confusion of being a person in a relationship is beautifully described. I also loved the way the characters seemed ordinary. They go to work, sometimes they work late, and they have misunderstandings with their spouses and significant others. The book felt like she was ...more
Feb 14, 2013 Candice rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Carol W.
Reading one of Erica Bauermeister's novels is like settling down with a bottomless cup of your favorite tea. Her books are beautifully descriptive, full of love, food and friendship, and comforting. I read The School of Essential Ingredients quite a few years ago, so I don't remember it well. This book picks up many of the characters from Ingredients but can be read on its own. It begins with Lillian making a chowder and you can almost smell the sizzling butter, the bacon, the herbs and spices. ...more
Nov 02, 2012 Staci rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Staci by: TLC
Shelves: 2012-tlc, 2012-reads
Ever since I read the last page of The School of Essential Ingredients, I longed for another book that allowed the readers a richer look into the characters lives. Well, my wish was granted with Erica's follow-up book, The Lost Art of Mixing. I enjoyed getting to know Lillian a bit better this time around, and I loved Isabelle. Even though she was losing some of her memories to Alzheimer's, she still had her wisdom that she gently imparted on those around her. I thought the author did a lovely j ...more
The Short of It:

A literary treat for the senses.

The Rest of It:

If you haven’t read a book by this author yet, you are really missing out.

In The Lost Art of Mixing, Bauermeister returns to Lillian’s restaurant, first featured in The School of Essential Ingredients. Lillian’s restaurant is known for bringing people together. It’s a place to rediscover yourself and the pleasures around you. Through her carefully prepared meals and the cooking classes she offers, her simple acts of kindness provide
I read an advanced reading copy and wasn't sure when it was okay to review this. The book launch is this week (January 24th) but it's already been review elsewhere. I had the pleasure of reading The School of Essential Ingredients while it was out to an agent. To use the cliche, the rest is history. I can say with assurance that everyone who fell in love with the characters in "School" will be delighted to be back in their company along with new characters. Although food and its preparation as s ...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 School of Essential Ingredients
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“We’re all just ingredients. What matters is the grace with which you cook the meal.” 3 likes
“Rituals, Al Decided, were a lot like numbers; they offered a comforting solidity in the otherwise chaotic floodtide of life. But it was more than that. A ritual was a way to hold time - not freezing it, rather the opposite, warming it through the touch of your imagination.” 2 likes
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