ISBN-13: 9780399155437
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Published: January 2009
256 pgs

"... Life is beautiful. Some people just remind you of that more than others."

I love reading. I love food. And I love reading about food and cooking thus I was very eager to dive into this book after reading so many good reviews from fellow bookbloggers.

The School of Essential Ingredients is basically centered around Lillian, the protagonist, and how her cooking class enlightened or enriched the life of her eight students in some ways.

Each of these students has his or her own story to tell. For Claire, the lessons help her sees in a way of balancing between her personal life and her role being a mother and wife. For older couple like Helen and Carl, it is about finding themselves and to be in love with each other again after all the ups and downs they had had experienced. For Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer, she is learning to stay true and to adapt her life in America. For young Chloe, it is about finding her own self again after leaving her boyfriend who seems to be always the one in control of their life. For Tom, it helps diverting his attentions after he lost his wife to breast cancer. As for Isabelle, she is an elderly lady who is beginning to lose her memory, and finally for Ian who has found love along the way.

Though these little stories are unique in its own way and are a pleasure to read, and it may even seem that this book centers around more on these eight students, but I could not help but to be amazed and impressed by Lillian's strength and determination in putting her restaurant together. I especially loved reading about Lillian's life and how she struggled as a young girl in putting her family together as it seems her mother is forever immersing herself in books. She seeks solace in cooking and hoping the food she prepared would bring her mother to her senses (no pun intended), in which she finally did.

The School of Essential Ingredients is a delight to read, and Erica Bauermeister's writing style is simply beautiful. I have to say her descriptions of the aromas and flavours made my mouth water; and the greatest satisfactory is it is from each character's story that allows me think of the life we are living and how even the mundane around us can somehow changed our life in one way or another. I am sure this book will not only appeal to people who enjoys food but to any readers as well.

Other blogs reviews:
Booking Mama
Books on the Brain
Devourer of Books
Fyrefly's Book Blog
Peeking Between the Pages
S. Krishna's Books
So Many Books, So Little Time
You've Gotta Read This
(Let me know if I have missed yours.)

22 Responses
  1. Julia Says:

    Interesing review, Melody! I love reading about foods too! And lot of my friends have been trading their favorite recipes with me. I have bunches of them listed and can't wait to try them all.

    Great review as always!

  2. Sandy Nawrot Says:

    Awesome review! I wholeheartedly LOVED this book. It will most likely make my list of favorites for the year. And even though it was a short book and could have expanded more on each character, it was enough to satisfy. I am go glad you liked it!

  3. Beth F Says:

    Super review. Yes I need to read it. I know that. I will. I promise.

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Melody, this sounds like something I might like too. I have an extensive cookbook collection, so if I could combine reading with cooking I'd be in heaven:-)

  5. Alice Says:

    Delicious review, Melody! Yummm... LOL

  6. Darlene Says:

    Great review Melody. I'm glad you enjoyed it as did I. I really liked Lillian's story too. This book was just so well done, my only wish was that it had been longer. Thanks for linking my reveiw :)

  7. Ana S. Says:

    Beautiful writing! Food! What's not to love? If it wasn't for the fact that this is already on my wishlist, I'd be adding it right now.

  8. Ladytink_534 Says:

    I have yet to hear anything bad about this book!

  9. S. Krishna Says:

    I really enjoyed this book as well. Nice review!

  10. Anonymous Says:

    Great review! Food does bring people together and heals. After you and Sandy gave such high rating of this book, I have finally acquired this book. It's waiting for the proper moment, and that is, when I go for vacation and sit under the umbrella at the beach. :)

  11. The Bookworm Says:

    I've heard such great things about this book. Wonderful review!

  12. Melody Says:

    Julia - Thanks! It's great that you're exchanging receipes with your friends! Sounds like fun besides the cooking. :)

    Sandy - Thank you! Like you, this book is one of my favourite reads this year and will be shortlisting for my 'Book of the Year' as well!

    Beth - Thanks! You should read it sooner! ;)

    Kristy - I'm sure you'll enjoy this book!

    Alice - LOL. Thanks!

    Dar - Thanks! I too wish this book will be longer!

    Nymeth - I'm so glad to hear this book is on your wishlist!!

    Jen - I haven't read a negative review on this book either.

    Krishna - Thanks! It's a great book, isn't it?

    Matt - Thanks! And I'm so glad you got the book, Matt! I hope you'll enjoy it if you get to it.

    Naida - Thanks! This book is wonderful!

  13. Great review, Melody! I have had my eye on this one for awhile now. It sounds like a good one, even to someone who isn't too fond of the kitchen. :-)

  14. Melody Says:

    Wendy - Thanks! I really enjoyed this book. I'm not too fond of the kitchen either, too much work for me, haha.

  15. Wanda Says:

    Another positive review for this book.. I hope to read this as well, in the not too distant future.

    Very cool blog design btw, quite like it!

  16. Iliana Says:

    Great review Melody! I think this is one book I'll definitely like. I like stories that have a nice mix of characters coming together. Doesn't this also sound like it'd make a great movie?

  17. You have my mouth watering!! I love books and food and books about food as well, and I've had my eye on this one. Actually, a friend and I were just talking about this one--is it fiction or non-fiction?

  18. Melody Says:

    Wanda - Thank you! I hope you'll enjoy this book if you get to it. :)

    Iliana - Thanks! I loved all the characters in this story! I'm definitely looking forward to reading more books by this author in the near future!

    Trish - I'm glad to hear you'll be reading this in the near future! It's a fiction.

  19. nice review! i also enjoyed this one; my review is here.

  20. Melody Says:

    Alison - Thanks for the link! :)

  21. LisaMM Says:

    Melody, what a lovely review! I loved this book too. Thanks for linking to my blog!

  22. Melody Says:

    Lisa - Thank you, and you're most welcome! :)

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