Kelly Hager's Reviews > The School of Essential Ingredients

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
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May 10, 10

Read in February, 2009

This is definitely the best book I've read so far in February (although granted, its competition has not been fierce) and if it doesn't end up on my top 10 list at the end of the year, I will be stunned.

It's about a cooking class led by Lillian, a woman who begins cooking as a child, as a way to draw her mother out of the books that she's obsessed with. (I do not judge Lillian's mother.)

Each chapter focuses on a different participant in the class--there's Helen and Carl, a married couple, and Isabelle (older woman who's starting to show signs of dementia), Antonia (recent immigrant from Italy who designs kitchens for a living) and a whole slew of other people.

The writing is absolutely gorgeous. I was going to include an excerpt, but I'd end up typing practically the whole book. You can read one on Amazon--and while we're on the subject, it's got 27 reviews. Of those, 25 are five-star reviews and the other two are four-star reviews. So it's not just me that's loving this book. :)

It makes me wish that I enjoyed cooking more. If you DO love cooking, you'll adore this book. (But it's not a requirement; I love takeout and I devoured this book.)

One problem--240 pages? REALLY? I wish it had been longer. But it's one of those books where it wouldn't have been long enough anyway.
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