Friday, January 23, 2009

Pg. 69: Erica Bauermeister's "The School of Essential Ingredients"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister.

About the book, from the publisher:
Reminiscent of Chocolat and Like Water for Chocolate, a gorgeously written novel about life, love, and the magic of food.

The School of Essential Ingredients follows the lives of eight students who gather in Lillian’s Restaurant every Monday night for cooking class. It soon becomes clear, however, that each one seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. Students include Claire, a young mother struggling with the demands of her family; Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer learning to adapt to life in America; and Tom, a widower mourning the loss of his wife to breast cancer. Chef Lillian, a woman whose connection with food is both soulful and exacting, helps them to create dishes whose flavor and techniques expand beyond the restaurant and into the secret corners of her students’ lives. One by one the students are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of Lillian’s food, including a white-on-white cake that prompts wistful reflections on the sweet fragility of love and a peppery heirloom tomato sauce that seems to spark one romance but end another. Brought together by the power of food and companionship, the lives of the characters mingle and intertwine, united by the revealing nature of what can be created in the kitchen.
Read an excerpt from The School of Essential Ingredients, and learn more about the book and author at Erica Bauermeister's website.

Erica Bauermeister is the co-author of 500 Great Books by Women: A Reader's Guide and Let's Hear It For the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14, and has taught literature and creative writing at the University of Washington.

The Page 69 Test: The School of Essential Ingredients.

--Marshal Zeringue