Tag Archives: Erica Bauermeister

Review & Tour: The Lost Art of Mixing

The Lost Art of MixingThe Lost Art of Mixing
By Erica Bauermeister
(Putnam Adult, Hardcover, 9780399162114, January 24, 2013, 288pp.)

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 much-needed tonic that these folks have been searching for.

Included are some familiar characters from the first book, but we also meet Al, an accountant whose marriage has left him pondering who he is. Finnegan, nineteen years-old and orphaned at a young age, he finds solace when he gets a job as a dishwasher for the restaurant. Isabelle, who is struggling with dementia but finds a friend in Chloe, who you might remember from the first book and then finally Louise, Al’s wife who doesn’t seem to know her husband at all, but at the same time, seems to know everything about him.

The first book was filled with the smells of cooking. I literally drooled my way through it and then did not have any food in the house which was bad planning on my part. It was hard for me to believe that a book could evoke such feelings of comfort, but it really did. This time around, there is a lot less cooking, but more going on with the characters. They are complex and intricately layered with real-life problems that readers can relate to. I found the characters to be endlessly fascinating.

Additionally, there is something wonderful that happens when you return to familiar territory and I loved visiting with these characters again. The Lost Art of Mixing is a fabulous complement to The School of Essential Ingredients. Although you can read this one as a stand-alone, I encourage you to read her other book first. The writing is wonderful in both and trust me, you’ll want to extend your visit once you are done reading them.

Release Note: This wonderful book does not hit the shelves until January 24, 2013!  If you can hold out, I promise to host a giveaway once the book is released.

Erica Bauermeister

Erica’s website.

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Source: Review copy provided by the publisher via TLC Book Tours.
Disclosure: This post contains Indiebound affiliate links.

Review: The School of Essential Ingredients

The School of Essential Ingredients

The School of Essential Ingredients
By Erica Bauermeister
(Berkley Trade, Paperback, 9780425232095, January 2010, 272pp.)

The Short of It:

The School of Essential Ingredients  is the panacea for all that ails you.

The Rest of It:

What can I say about this book that hasn’t already been said? Well, coming from a person who prefers heavier fiction over cozy reads, I can tell you that I would not have picked it up on my own, had it not been for the wonderful reviews its received. Additionally, I heard Bauermeister speak at a local bookstore and I liked HER. Does that ever happen to you? You like the author as a person, so then you pick up his/her book? I admired the easy, effortless way she read and her characters seemed to have heart.

In School, Lillian owns a restaurant. A lovely little thing, with cozy, intimate spaces that open to a gorgeous garden. Each Monday, once a month, she teaches a cooking class. The participants change regularly, but each group brings with them, memories of lost loves, heartache, the awkwardness of a first kiss, the warm scent of a freshly washed baby. As the students learn the importance of experiencing their meals and not just cooking them, the reader is treated to little bit of history on each participant.

There are many, wonderful characters but I identified the most with Claire. A mother of two and happily married, Claire lost a little piece of herself when she had her first child. That page and a half where she talks about her loss and what she gained in return, nearly brought tears to my eyes. I think a lot of women have probably felt that way at one point. I know I did. That moment where you realize that you are now responsible for this other person, and that you will never, ever be the same. It’s wonderful yet also a little bit sad.

Ultimately,  this is a feel-good book. It’s warm and inviting and incredibly satisfying. At one point, it seemed almost too good to be true but I took my critical hat off and just enjoyed it for what it was. If you read this book, and I suggest that you do, you MUST have food on hand. After finishing the book, I spent an entire weekend cooking and savoring delicious meals.  This book is so popular that I’m surprised it wasn’t followed up with a cookbook. Or, some sort of cooking retreat. I’d be the first in line to reserve my spot.

To the more serious readers, I dare you to read this book and not feel good about it afterward.

Source: Borrowed

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