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February 7, 2013 / Leslie

Review – Audiobook: The School of Essential Ingredients

The School of Essential IngredientsThe School of Essential Ingredients
by Erica Bauermeister
Narrated by Cassandra Campbell

Genre: Women’s Fiction
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publish Date: January 22, 2009
Format: Audio, 6 hours | 4 minutes
Audio Listening Level: Easy – Intermediate
Rating: 4 of 5

Publisher’s Synopsis:

Once a month on Monday night, eight students gather in Lillian’s restaurant for a cooking class. Over time, the paths of the students mingle and intertwine, and the essence of Lillian’s cooking expands beyond the restaurant and into the secret corners of their lives, with results that are often unexpected, and always delicious.

My Thoughts:

I’ve had this book on my goodreads list so long that I thought I had already read it. When Erica Bauermeister’s new book, The Lost Art of Mixing was published, I was eager to read it. When my copy arrived a few weeks ago, I scanned the back cover and from the synopsis realized this was a continuation of The School of Essential Ingredients, and I hadn’t read it yet. Not wanting to ruin the story by reading the books out of order, I dashed to the library and got a copy of the audiobook.

The audio, narrated by Cassandra Campbell, a favorite of mine, was a delight to listen to. Other than needing to keep track of eight characters, this was an easy listen and at only six hours, the time flew past.

The chapters are written from the viewpoint of the students, strangers who come together on the first Monday of every month at Lillian’s restaurant for a cooking lesson. Each has their own reason for attending but all will find their lives changed by the experience.

Richly textured and overflowing with descriptive images of food, the story comes alive. I could almost taste sauces and smell the various dishes. Brimming with metaphors, it was a delightful and charming story.

Source: Review copy
© 2012 Under My Apple Tree. All rights reserved.



Leave a Comment
  1. Liene / Feb 7 2013 11:42 am

    Oh, I loved Joy for Beginners and School of Essential Ingredients… I can’t wait to get my hands on The Lost Art if Mixing!


  2. Mary / Feb 7 2013 11:46 am

    I’ll bet Cassandra Campbell did a great job with the narration. I really liked this novel – read it 5 years ago.


  3. sagustocox / Feb 7 2013 2:31 pm

    I really loved both of these books.


  4. BermudaOnion / Feb 7 2013 4:46 pm

    I read this in print and loved it.


  5. harvee / Feb 8 2013 8:16 am

    I might have preferred the audio as I found the books good but a bit slow. But then I’m a fast paced mystery lover!


  6. nrlymrtl / Feb 8 2013 9:20 am

    I really do enjoy fiction that features food, as it is essential to all of us. I am fascinated by what people eat, how it’s prepared, and also by the reasons people refuse to eat certain foods. I hear too often that people avoid vegetables (an entire food group) because they don’t like the texture. Really? because the texture of the food group is not uniform. I’m sure we can find a texture in that group you would like, and might even match your nail polish. Sigh…..


  7. Darlene / Feb 8 2013 1:44 pm

    I loved this audio as well. I read it years ago but wanted to refresh my memory before reading her latest and I’m so glad I did. It was excellent and I loved becoming reacquainted with some of the characters.


  8. Amy / Feb 9 2013 10:10 am

    I own a copy of this book but haven’t read it yet. After reading your review I realize I’m missing out on a terrific story. I enjoy fiction that includes cooking, food descriptions and recipes all of which this book has in spades. Although so many characters can be a bit difficult to keep in order, because a class is part of the story, it makes sense that there are so many. And it sounds to me like Erica Baurmeister writes an excellent narrative with likable characters.
    Maybe today, a dreary day of snow and wind would be an ideal time to get lost in this book!
    Thank you for a great post!


  9. stacybuckeye / Feb 13 2013 8:43 am

    I’ve had this one on my shelf so long I had to stop and think if I’d read it too, LOL! I haven’t and I should.


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