The School of Essential Ingredients

( 310 )

Overview

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 ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$12.41
BN.com price
(Save 17%)$15.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (194) from $1.99   
  • New (17) from $2.64   
  • Used (177) from $1.99   
The School of Essential Ingredients

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.99
BN.com price

Overview

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.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
A Selection of Barnes & Noble Recommends
An elegant debut novel that serves up an epicurean concoction as memorable as Like Water for Chocolate.

Every Monday evening, eight men and women come to Lillian's Restaurant to learn cooking and, perhaps, also find a healing recipe for the very diverse problems in their own lives. Lillian, a master chef in more ways than one, knows that she teaches lessons more subtle and far-reaching than chopping or blending or achieving the ideal texture. In her classes, she imparts wisdom through the essential ingredients that she combines and shapes into aromatic, delectable treats.
Library Journal - BookSmack!
If the connected stories of Holly's students and the magic of cooking are what captured your readers, then Bauermeister's lush and evocative story should make a great next read. Ever since Lillian was a little girl, she has understood the power of food to fulfill the heart's desire. As a successful restaurant chef, she now hosts a cooking school, helping others explore the magic ingredients that their lives are missing. Told in a series of character studies, the novel illuminates the lives of Claire, a young mother overwhelmed with her new role; Carl and Helen, a long-married couple with a complicated history; and a handful of others (including a Lillian herself). Each finds hope and solace in this novel that unfolds in a pace similar to Senate's and with the same attention to detail and description. — Neal Wyatt, "RA Crossroads," Booksmack! 2/3/11
Publishers Weekly

In this remarkable debut, Bauermeister creates a captivating world where the pleasures and particulars of sophisticated food come to mean much more than simple epicurean indulgence. Respected chef and restaurateur Lillian has spent much of her 30-something years in the kitchen, looking for meaning and satisfaction in evocative, delicious combinations of ingredients. Endeavoring to instill that love and know-how in others, Lillian holds a season of Monday evening cooking classes in her restaurant. The novel takes up the story of each of her students, navigating readers through the personal dramas, memories and musings stirred up as the characters handle, slice, chop, blend, smell and taste. Each student's affecting story-painful transitions, difficult choices-is rendered in vivid prose and woven together with confidence. Delivering memorable story lines and characters while seducing the senses, Bauermeister's tale of food and hope is certain to satisfy. (Jan.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425232095
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 1/5/2010
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 82,155
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Erica Bauermeister

Erica Bauermeister’s love of slow food and slow life was cemented by her two years living in northern Italy with her husband and children. She has taught literature and creative writing at the University of Washington and currently lives in Seattle with her family. The School of Essential Ingredients is her first novel.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 310 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(131)

4 Star

(117)

3 Star

(42)

2 Star

(14)

1 Star

(6)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 310 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Just read it!

    This book was wonderful. Makes you want to take the class or start one of your own. My hope is that she will write another book with a new class.
    Her descriptions of aromas and tastes are phenomenal. Make your mouth water and the way she brings it to a conclusion in such a short time is a wonder.
    Enjoy the book then go cook up a great, slow meal.

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 2, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I could smell the aromas wafting from the kitchen!

    The endearing characters meet in cooking class where meals are not only prepared but are a healing mechanism to heal the inner spirit. Appetites are connected to the eight students aspirations and soothe the heart and soul. The chapters are told from each student's perspectve in flashback. This is a beautiful in-depth character study that will warm your heart! Wonderful!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A feast of a book

    This beautifully written novel really makes you more aware of the little miracles in life and appreciate them in a whole new way. I am a sucker for anything with magical realism and this book is no different. The sensual and joyful celebration of food carries over to other aspects of life easily. It stands out, ezpecially during this time in our lives where the simple things mean the most to us.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 1, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A Hymn to Food and Friendship!

    Lillian's mother escapes the devastation of her husband's abandonment by reading, silently and out loud during times of rest, meals, even while shopping. Striving to reach through the neutralizing dead zone of this wall of oblivion, Lillian strives to reach her mother and finally succeeds after numerous failed experiments, through the power of food. Yes, food, Lillian comes to understand, literally and figuratively gives life to all who partake.<BR/><BR/>Quite naturally, Lillian learns to cook on her own and through experience eventually opens a restaurant and offers cooking classes with a two-fold purpose. It is her dream to share that same connection with life imparted to her mother through food. Now, however, she won't know who is coming to her classes but learn she will and be the conduit of teaching how nourishment, healing and love are guaranteed for those who respect the ingredients and process of food preparation. <BR/><BR/>Lesson One is about interrupting a life process and creating a new one, a tintillating suggestion to Claire, who has lost her identity to the role of mother, who begins to sense a change as she fully engages her appreciation of a live and cooked crab. Then the reader relishes how the act of baking a structurally balanced cake touches Carl and Helen, a loving couple moving beyond hurtful betrayal. Again and again, new recipes address individual stories weaving through different and similar ingredients for a Thanksgiving feast (differnt from what the reader expects for sure), a course of beauty, an immersion into sensual appreciation v. efficiency of food preparation, and so, so much more.<BR/><BR/>In The School of Essential Ingredients, the reader's own appreciation and love of life grows so much larger because of these endearing, real life characters and the succulent presentations, explanations and depictions of food experienced from a wholly new perspective. Whether you like to cook or eat food, this reviewer guarantees that every reader of this superbly written novel will savor every page, think of it long after the first and second reading, return to its celebration of characters who grow while attending this momentous class, and vicariously taste, feel and embrace this most delicious menu of culinary possibilities! <BR/><BR/>Reviewed by Viviane Crystal on February 1, 2009

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2010

    Would make a great movie

    I enjoyed this story a lot, even though it was a bit predictable at times. The stories describing the individual characters seemed genuine and made the characters interesting. I would have wanted more details on their lives. The main tie, the cooking school through the seasons, is original and tight. It is a feel-good story with a resounding note of realism. I look forward to this author's next book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 25, 2010

    Now I want to go to cooking school!

    I loved this book! It was a truly beautiful story. Even though each character only got a chapter, I felt like I knew and understood each one. It was very easy to see how each of their stories would connect them in the end. Lillian is the only character that I wish was developed a little more. She has such a powerful impact on each of the students in her class, I wish I connected a little more with her background. Each time I thought a character was a favorite, I started a new chapter. The book and each individual story was resolved perfectly. The imagery was amazing. I could easily see everyone and everything in the kitchen and the restaurant and I could smell and taste everything they were cooking. I have been inspired to go to cooking school. The book was DELICIOUS!
    I also think it would make an incredible series. Each book could have a new group of students (characters) with their own stories.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    LOVED this book!!!!

    This wasn't a book I would normally read, but I bought it for book club at my local BNN, and I completely LOVED it! The story, the characters, the everything was so wonderful, just like a great meal. I highly recommend this book for anyone, whether you like to cook or not. And if you don't like to cook...you will!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2009

    Enjoyable read

    I liked this book. It was a pleasant, entertaining, and easy read. The end gave me the impression that there may be more to come. I hope so. The ingenuity in the dishes they prepared in class were inspiring to my own culinary creations.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 26, 2009

    A beautiful, warm-hearted book that is perfect for getting through to dark days of winter!

    This is a beautiful, warm-hearted book that is perfect for getting through to dark days of winter! Its the story of a Monday night cooking class presided over by Lillian the chef of a romantic little restaurant. Lillian knows that each of her students come for a different reason. Some come for confidence, some for adventure, and some for comfort, but each will leave with wisdom and passion they never expected to find. <BR/>Erica Bauermeister writes about food with impressive detail and feeling. This is a book that will leave you hungry for lovingly prepared, delicious food! Her writing style reminds me of Maeve Binchy. She weaves together the stories of fascinating, sympathetic characters. You will fall in love with them! Like a big bowl of homemade chicken noodle soup on a cold January night this book will leaave you warm and satisfied. I only hope that Erica is hard at work on her next novel!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 23, 2009

    Warm, wise, and eloquent

    The School of Essential Ingredients is a warm and compelling read. The students at the cooking school learn much more than how to cook: the teacher uses cooking as a strategy by which to address spiritual issues within her students. Bauermeister¿s eye for vivid detail and engaging voice will make you want to cook, eat, and read her next novel.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2014

    Nichole anf kyler

    Hi

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 11, 2014

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    Wonderful

    Lovely writing. The story just flowed, characters own personal stories revealed gently and with grace and dignity.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 10, 2013

    Wonderful read!

    A friend gave me this book and I fell in love with it and have given it to others.
    In this book, a group of people take a cooking class, and the teacher proves as much counselor as cooking teacher. Descriptions of food are poetic!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2013

    Ari

    *he growls.*

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 22, 2013

    Brilliant

    Bauermeister is a brilliant author. Her books are stories, wonderful stories that tell about characters that are so real you expect to run into them on the block where you live. Their lives, and feelings all blend into a full course meal created with diverse ingredients of happiness, tears of pain, tears of joy, surprises from characters that grow and mature right in front of your eyes. She is an amazing author and a must read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 18, 2013

    Highly recommend !

    Loved this book! I adore cooking and this book made me think of cooking in a different light. Easy read. Already on to the next one by Erica Bauermeister!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 15, 2013

    If you love food and people, read this!

    I haven't finished this book yet, but I love it. The descriptions of food and the cooking of it are wonderful. I like the way the profiles of the people in the class are interwoven with the cooking lessons. A lovely read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2013

    Not a recipe book!

    Enjoy meeting new characters and wish that precise recipes were included! Great of personal stories and spices. Super beach read or rainy day getaway.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2012

    Loved this book

    I loved getting to know the characters in this story. I also loved how Erica Bauermeister brought them all together for a class. It reminds me of my own experiences taking classes and wondering what brought people there. The cooking elements were so detailed...I'm wondering if the author is a cook.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 310 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)