Two of my favorite A+ books that I’ve read the past few years are both by the same author: Erica Bauermeister. Her last book, Joy for Beginners, is one I thoroughly loved. My eldest daughter and I have recommended it to a good percentage of the population.
An even greater percentage of the population read and loved The School of Essential Ingredients. Well, that group is going to be thrilled to learn that Erica Bauermeister’s latest book (coming out in January) takes up where the “School” book left off. The Lost Art of Mixing is, in my opinion, even better than the other two books. Yes, I said it and I mean it. First, let me share the summery of the book:
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.
Yes, it’s the same Lillian and, Isabelle is back too. I praise and thank the author for letting me have another visit with them. There are some new people in the novel as well. Al, Lillian’s accountant, is a unique guy. I especially liked how he sees the world of numbers. His wife Louise is someone I really wanted to dislike, but I ended up truly understanding her. That’s the beauty of the people Erica Bauermeister creates.
The other thing I like about the author’s books is her inclusion of food. Let me share a couple of quotes to give you a little peak. In this first one, I identified with Lillian and her love of her kitchen.
“This is what fed her – this moment of stillness, the long, cool stretch of the counters
and the give of the thick rubber mat beneath her feet.”
In this second quote Lillian has been slowly cooking some special endive. It is a good look at Lillian’s attitude about food as well as her customers.
“She pulled out the Dutch oven and raised its lid. The leaves had melted into glistening layers, the color darker, shining. She took a knife and fork and tentatively cut off a bite. Its texture was silken, but with just the slightest bit o resistance beneath her teeth. The butter melted across her tongue. As she tasted, she thought of her cutomers, the expression on their faces as they would eat the dish, the way it would bring them home to themselves.”
That made me want to pull my own dutch oven off the shelf. The Lost Art of Mixing was as rich as that well-cooked pot of endive. Reading it warmed my heart, made me smile, and made me think about those people long after I’d finished reading.
As I said, this book is the best one so far. I strongly recommend it to you. The bad news is you’ll have to wait until it’s released in January. I hope you’ll see for yourself how good this novel is.
The Lost Art of Mixing – Published by Putnam Adult – Literary Fiction – My Rating: A+