*The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister (2009)

I read this a few months ago and forgot to write my review.  Hmmm. . .what does that mean?  That is wasn’t a memorable book or that I was too busy to post my review?  Sometimes it’s good to put a few months in between reading and reviewing because it forces me to write about only that which really stuck with me.  So here it is.  Lillian, the main charcter, runs a restaurant, and on Monday nights she offes cooking school.  All the main characters are studetns in her school who are there for various reasons: loneliness, boredom, adventure seeking, late-in-life interest in cooking, romance through food, etc..  So we first meet Lillian, who, as a child, craved her mother’s attention so much that she turned to the kitchen to sway her mother away from books and other soul sapping activities.  Lillian finally truly reaches her mother through hot chocolate.  I thought that was cool.  And from there, Lillian learns that the kitchen is her thing.  As an adult, she then connects with others–and helps others figure out their own lives–through food.  Well, I’m a foodie, so I loved this aspect of the story.  Each chapter allows us to know another person or couple that has signed up for cooking classes, so we get a narrative and character development through food.  This isn’t Michael Pollen serious food study, but rather, light, fun food and people all in one.  A nice break from serious books, but also a peek into some wonderful cooking.  I enjoyed this, and especially enjoyed that I could read a chapter at a time and didn’t have to look up anything on Wikipedia like countries or political leaders or history–just a nice, light read.  Whew!  (fiction)

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