Tag Archives: Erica Bauermeister

Book Review – “The Lost Art of Mixing” by Erica Bauermeister

lostartofmixing  Title:  The Lost Art of Mixing

Author:  Erica Bauermeister

ISBN:  00780399162114

Publisher:  G. P. Putman

 

Synopsis (from bn.com):

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 didn’t expect. . . .

Their lives collide and mix with those around them, sometimes joining in effortless connections, at other times sifting together and separating again, creating a family that is chosen, not given. A beautifully imagined novel about the ties that bind—and links that break—The Lost Art of Mixing is a captivating meditation on the power of love, food, and companionship.

 

My thoughts:  I am rather conflicted about this book as I sit here and write this review.  I am feeling that my thoughts about this book may very well have to do with my reading of it rather than the book itself.  All you readers out there know what I am talking about right?  Sometimes you find out that when and how you read the book has a great effect on your overall feelings toward the book.

This book, “The Lost Art of Mixing”, is a continuation of sorts of Bauermeister’s “The School of Essential Ingredients”.  We trace the same characters that we met in Lillian’s kitchen during her cooking classes further into their lives and their relationships.   I absolutely loved “The School of Essential Ingredients” and her first novel “Joy for Beginners” for that matter, but somehow just didn’t connect with this latest book in the same way.  I didn’t feel a connection with the characters in the same way I did when I first met them.  I somehow felt that they were distant and that their stories didn’t seem as genuine and authentic as they had in the first novel.  Lillian, the main character, who I grew to love as a warm, caring, kind, compassionate individual, really felt cold and distant in this book.  Perhaps it was just the author’s way of portraying to the reader some of the life events and stresses that Lillian in fact is dealing with in the book – of course I can’t be sure, but given my love for Erica Bauermeister’s writing, I am going to go with this.

Overall, as I said above, perhaps it was just because I got a bit distracted while reading this book and it took me longer than it should of.  I read the first two novels each in one day, almost in one sitting, so I really engaged with the story.

I did enjoy “The Lost Art of Mixing”, just not on the same level that I was moved by her other two novels.  Bauermeister’s writing style still is one of my absolute favorites and I never quite have the words to describe it – it is lyrical, descriptive, beautiful, almost like a song.  She sucks you in and you care about the lives of the characters.

Give this author a try if you haven’t.  You definitely will not regret it.

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

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Book Review – “The School of Essential Ingredients” by Erica Bauermeister

schoolofessentialingredients  Title:  The School of Essential Ingredients

Author:  Erica Bauermeister

Publisher:  G. P. Putnam’s Sons

ISBN:  9780399155437

 

Synopsis (from bn.com):

A “heartbreakingly delicious” national bestseller about a chef, her students, and the evocative lessons that food teaches about life

Once a month, eight students gather in Lillian’s restaurant for a cooking class. Among them is Claire, a young woman coming to terms with her new identity as a mother; Tom, a lawyer whose life has been overturned by loss; Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer adapting to life in America; and Carl and Helen, a long-married couple whose union contains surprises the rest of the class would never suspect…

The students have come to learn the art behind Lillian’s soulful dishes, but it soon becomes clear that each seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. And soon they are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of what they create.

 

My thoughts:  I simply can’t say enough about this author and her books.  After reading this author’s “Joy for Beginner’s” a couple of weeks ago I was eager to jump into “The School of Essential Ingredients”.   So what did I do today, but sit down with this wonderful book, a nice warm blanket, and a cup of warm coffee, and finished it in only a couple of hours.

This book is set in a very similar fashion as her “Joy for Beginner’s” in that each chapter represents the story of a different character and ultimately how the character’s lives intersect.  So as this book progresses we get a closer look at each individual who attends these monthly cooking classes at Lillian’s restaurant.

What is fabulous about this book is that it is about way more than simply people coming to a cooking class and getting to know each other.  The deeper themes of the book explore the role food and cooking has played in each character’s past and more importantly into who they are becoming in their futures – food and cooking as a way to reconnect with oneself, food as a way to connect with memories in a woman experiencing confusion in her old age, food as a way to build positive relationships after loss, food as a way to reconnect after dishonesty in a marriage.  Food as a metaphor for life . . . LOVE!

I firmly believe you have to experience this author’s writing style to truly appreciate it, my description simply can’t do it justice.  I find this author’s style of writing just beautifully descriptive, almost lyrical.  Her descriptions of the character’s experiences and in this book, the food, is simply gorgeous and brings the book to life.  When I am reading this author’s works, I feel like I am in the experience, I am in Lillian’s kitchen, smelling and tasting that wonderful food . . . and more importantly the beautiful connections that the food made happen.   Perhaps it is because I enjoy this author’s writing style so much, but I wanted this book to continue.  I felt that I wasn’t finished with these characters, I wanted to know more, and I wanted to delve even deeper into who they were and how they came together.  Give us more!

You know you are enjoying a book and particularly the writing style when you find yourself frequently reaching for something to jot down that beautiful sentence or quote as you want to remember it and refer to it often.  Kudos to Erica Bauermeister for bringing us a simple, heart-warming, lovely book!

We all know I am eagerly awaiting getting my hands on the sequel to this book . . . “The Lost Art of Mixing”.   I can’t wait to return to the love of Lillian’s kitchen.

I highly recommend this book and all of this author’s works!

And remember,

Books Are Life,

Heather

 

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