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The Lost Art of Mixing

(The School of Essential Ingredients #2)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  5,245 ratings  ·  843 reviews
in this luminous sequel, return to the enchanting world of the national bestseller The School of Essential Ingredients
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
Hardcover, 275 pages
Published January 24th 2013 by G.P. Putnam's Sons (first published 2013)
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Average rating 3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,245 ratings  ·  843 reviews

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Oh, I usually do not do this....but this is a DNF for me. I tried, I listened to a couple of hours of this. The audio narration is good, but the story, is just boring. I really did keep pushing. I picked this up as I really enjoyed the first book and I wanted a food related book to listen to while walking. But my mind kept wandering constantly, looking at flowers, and homes, and not caring to rewind and hear what I missed.

It's a story about a few people that come together and food is to be
Jan 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Donna Jo Atwood
Jan 26, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: family, gentle-read, food
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 keep tr
Jan 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Feb 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Marilyn Clay
Jan 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Holly (2 Kids and Tired)
Nov 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
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. Relationship
2.5* for the book itself

Similar in style to Olive Kitteridge, so if you liked that you will probably like this better than I did. The book is really a series of interconnected short stories of the lives of various people connected to a restaurant in the Pacific northwest. I find this manner of storytelling frustrating in that as soon as I get interested in a character, Bauermeister leaves that person. I guess that my reaction to this just confirms my sense that I don't care for the contemporary
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, misunder
Oct 01, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: food-reads
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
Scottsdale Public Library
The Lost Art of Mixing is a sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients. It is a lovely stand alone read, however, I think the reader would benefit from reading the first book as many characters return. Chef Lillian runs her small restaurant where people meet at her cooking classes and relationships develop.

By inter-connecting stories, she shows the imperfect characters' struggles and flaws with compassion and you care about their journeys. I liked how Bauermeister employs imagery from food and cooking. "As sh
Jan 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Dana Stabenow
Mar 25, 2013 rated it liked it
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./>All
It was nice to follow the characters from the first book "The School of Essential Ingredients" a little further in their lives.
Mar 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
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, w
Andrea Guy
Nov 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 Is
Dec 09, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Sep 01, 2012 rated it liked it
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.
Aug 13, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: light
If I could give 2.5 stars, I would. I'm afraid this is a deeply mediocre book. It's plot driven and there are lots of characters to follow. Their lives wind and out and you do tend to follow along to see what happens to who. But it is, for the most part, quite predictable. And the writing is weak, so I found myself reading just to see what happened next, not to actually enjoy the words on the page. Perhaps this is in part because while you follow different characters it is in the same authorial ...more
Jan 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A lovely story with intersecting plot lines. The author writes with compassion about the struggles and challenges of flawed characters. A perfect sequel to "The School of Essential Ingredients". LOVED IT!
Yukari Watanabe/渡辺由佳里
DNF. Couldn't get into it.
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm not sure how this book ended up on my reading list though I tend to like food fiction, so I went in with few expectations. What unfolded was a feast of stories about love, loss, sadness, joy, and of course food! I listened to it and thoroughly enjoyed the reader's, Cassandra Campbell, interpretation though there were times when a description was so lovely, I wished I could highlight it. I fell in love with the characters and think of them as if they are friends whose lives intertwine with mi ...more
Sep 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
I loved this sequel almost as much as the first but it was missing the great cooking. I enjoyed seeing many of the first book's characters again and delving deeper into their stories as well as meeting some new ones. I really appreciated the painful experience of advancing Alzheimer's disease from Isabelle's perspective and how obnoxious people are around tall people from Finnegan's point of view.
Aug 16, 2019 rated it liked it
I was so excited to read this as I loved her previous book. This just didn’t capture my attention as I had hoped. It was an easy read, but I didn’t really grow to care about the characters. Not her best.
Jun 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013-reads
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
Sep 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 the
Tia Bach
Nov 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I found this book to be philosophical, insightful, and at times, heavy. The idea of rituals was intriguing.

It is a refreshing format, connecting all the characters in community. I looked forward to getting to know each character better when I reached their chapter. Their stories unfurl and come back together almost seamlessly. Lillian ties everyone together, but her story isn't central. The reader has the opportunity to relate to so many personalities. I liked Chloe, Al (nice, steady guy lookin
Oct 28, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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Busy as a Bee Books: The Lost Art of Mixing - Erica Bauermeister 10 19 Oct 23, 2013 04:29AM  

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Erica Bauermeister is the bestselling author of four novels -- The School of Essential Ingredients, Joy for Beginners, The Lost Art of Mixing, and The Scent Keeper (coming in May, 2019 from St, Martin's ). Her memoir, House Lessons, will be published by Sasquatch in the spring of 2020. She is also the co-author of 500 Great Books by Women: A Reader's Guide and Let's Hear It For the Girls: 375 Grea ...more

Other books in the series

The School of Essential Ingredients (2 books)
  • The School of Essential Ingredients
“We’re all just ingredients. What matters is the grace with which you cook the meal.” 4 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.” 3 likes
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