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The Lost Art of Mixing

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in this luminous sequel, return to the enchanting world of the national bestseller The School of Essential Ingredients 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 disappea in this luminous sequel, return to the enchanting world of the national bestseller The School of Essential Ingredients 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. . . . Their lives collide and mix with those around them, sometimes joining in effortless connections, at other times sifting together and separating again, creating a family that is chosen, not given. A beautifully imagined novel about the ties that bind—and links that break—The Lost Art of Mixing is a captivating meditation on the power of love, food, and companionship.


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in this luminous sequel, return to the enchanting world of the national bestseller The School of Essential Ingredients 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 disappea in this luminous sequel, return to the enchanting world of the national bestseller The School of Essential Ingredients 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. . . . Their lives collide and mix with those around them, sometimes joining in effortless connections, at other times sifting together and separating again, creating a family that is chosen, not given. A beautifully imagined novel about the ties that bind—and links that break—The Lost Art of Mixing is a captivating meditation on the power of love, food, and companionship.

30 review for The Lost Art of Mixing

  1. 4 out of 5

    PorshaJo

    DNF Oh, I usually do not do this....but this is a DNF for me. I tried, I listened to a couple of hours of this. The audio narration is good, but the story, is just boring. I really did keep pushing. I picked this up as I really enjoyed the first book and I wanted a food related book to listen to while walking. But my mind kept wandering constantly, looking at flowers, and homes, and not caring to rewind and hear what I missed. It's a story about a few people that come together and food is to be DNF Oh, I usually do not do this....but this is a DNF for me. I tried, I listened to a couple of hours of this. The audio narration is good, but the story, is just boring. I really did keep pushing. I picked this up as I really enjoyed the first book and I wanted a food related book to listen to while walking. But my mind kept wandering constantly, looking at flowers, and homes, and not caring to rewind and hear what I missed. It's a story about a few people that come together and food is to be central to the story. I didn't get that. Just getting detailed looks at the characters but some things are just glossed over. I'm sorry, it just did not work for me.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    God I love this women's books! Her writing style is so comfortable and lyrical...it's just a joy to read. Again, as in her previous book, she effortlessly weaves together multiple stories to one conclusion with a sigh. I just have to include some quotes from the book: "Sometimes it was rather luxurious to be in the passenger seat. You could let your mind wander." "There is a differece between taking care of and caring for." "Some days words seemed more like clothes, created to distract attention fro God I love this women's books! Her writing style is so comfortable and lyrical...it's just a joy to read. Again, as in her previous book, she effortlessly weaves together multiple stories to one conclusion with a sigh. I just have to include some quotes from the book: "Sometimes it was rather luxurious to be in the passenger seat. You could let your mind wander." "There is a differece between taking care of and caring for." "Some days words seemed more like clothes, created to distract attention from things you didn't want other people to notice." "I am the holder of my family's stories." "May we always celebrate the community that is reading." This is my favorite!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dale Harcombe

    Lillian’s dream had been to open a restaurant. She achieves her dream but it becomes more than just a restaurant. It becomes a meeting place. Lillian has the knack of drawing people to her. There is Al, the accountant who has always found meaning in numbers. Al has a secret no-one ever suspects. Even his wife Louise who is an angry woman much of the time doesn’t guess his secret. For Al the restaurant and his numbers are a release. Then there is Chloe, an aspiring chef who finds an unexpected ho Lillian’s dream had been to open a restaurant. She achieves her dream but it becomes more than just a restaurant. It becomes a meeting place. Lillian has the knack of drawing people to her. There is Al, the accountant who has always found meaning in numbers. Al has a secret no-one ever suspects. Even his wife Louise who is an angry woman much of the time doesn’t guess his secret. For Al the restaurant and his numbers are a release. Then there is Chloe, an aspiring chef who finds an unexpected home with older woman Isabelle. Isabelle and Lillian are two of the few people Chloe trusts. Isabelle is suffering from the onset of dementia and so for her young Chloe is a blessing in disguise. Nineteen year old Finnegan, tall as dependable as a tree, works at the restaurant and tries to remain as inconspicuous as possible despite his height. Life is going smoothly for Lillian with Tom and her friends until it suddenly takes a turn she doesn’t expect. This is a gentle escapist read. As a group of friends the majority of the characters blend together as easily as the ingredients in a recipe. It is a book about friendship, love, family and, of course, cooking. An easy read I enjoyed getting to know these characters. I’m not one who is overly interested in cooking but I happily settled in with these characters, who with a couple of exceptions are extremely likable. It was a joy to read. My only quibble was the epilogue. It felt a bit tacked on. But all, in all a very pleasant way to spend some time. Apparently this is a sequel to The school of Essential Ingredients, which I had not read. It didn’t matter. I easily settled in with these delightful characters. The setting is interesting and much of the prose is just beautiful. A heartfelt feel good story about people the reader feels privileged to meet and get to know.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Donna Jo Atwood

    This is a sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients, which I enjoyed so much. Many of the same characters from Lillian's restaurant are back in this novel with updates on their lives. Chloe is now living with Isabelle whose Alzheisers' is worsening and Tom and Lillian are spending more time together. We have new characters. We meet Lillian's accountant Al and his wife Louise. There's a new dishwasher, Finnegan. And we meet two of Isabelle's children and a grandchild. It's a lot of people to k This is a sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients, which I enjoyed so much. Many of the same characters from Lillian's restaurant are back in this novel with updates on their lives. Chloe is now living with Isabelle whose Alzheisers' is worsening and Tom and Lillian are spending more time together. We have new characters. We meet Lillian's accountant Al and his wife Louise. There's a new dishwasher, Finnegan. And we meet two of Isabelle's children and a grandchild. It's a lot of people to keep track of in a short book. I enjoyed this book, but I had trouble keeping a few of the character's apart. I loved Al and the way he was depicted. In fact, this book really seems mostly following the stories of Al and Isabelle. I didn't rank it a 4 because I felt the ending--especially with Louise-- was abrupt and not consistant with the rest of the story. I will read other books by Bauermeister. She writes some wonderfully human characters with fondness and humor.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth George

    Erica Bauermeister writes with an enormous amount of heart, and this book is no exception to that. It's advertised as a sequel, but it's truly not necessary to read "The School of Essential Ingredients" prior to reading this book. The story is lovely and the characters absolutely reflect what William Faulkner said characters should reflect: The human heart in conflict. This novel has that in spades as well as a beautifully painted setting and lush sensory details. It's the kind of novel that giv Erica Bauermeister writes with an enormous amount of heart, and this book is no exception to that. It's advertised as a sequel, but it's truly not necessary to read "The School of Essential Ingredients" prior to reading this book. The story is lovely and the characters absolutely reflect what William Faulkner said characters should reflect: The human heart in conflict. This novel has that in spades as well as a beautifully painted setting and lush sensory details. It's the kind of novel that gives you faith in the power of honesty, truth, love, and community,

  6. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

    Perhaps I expected too much after reading The School of Essential Ingredients, but this sequel fell flat for me. The characters from the first book were brought back in an attempt, I think, to delve into their backgrounds and to better understand the choices they had made in their lives. Instead, the book just never came together in a plot that told a story of their interactions together. In some places I found a darkness that just made me feel as though the author was trying too hard to flesh o Perhaps I expected too much after reading The School of Essential Ingredients, but this sequel fell flat for me. The characters from the first book were brought back in an attempt, I think, to delve into their backgrounds and to better understand the choices they had made in their lives. Instead, the book just never came together in a plot that told a story of their interactions together. In some places I found a darkness that just made me feel as though the author was trying too hard to flesh out the characters. I never felt like I was reading a novel; instead it felt like a short essay written about the characters' lives that never quite fit together to tell a complete story.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Holly (2 Kids and Tired)

    I adored. Absolutely and utterly adored The School of Essential Ingredients. It came as part of a package when I received The Lost Art of Mixing so that I could read it first. While food features so prominently with the relationships in The School of Essential Ingredients, it doesn't here. There, the story revolved around the recipes; the cooking and ingredients. Smell and aroma were very evocative. Here we see remembrances of days past and how they blend into the future. Relationships that seem I adored. Absolutely and utterly adored The School of Essential Ingredients. It came as part of a package when I received The Lost Art of Mixing so that I could read it first. While food features so prominently with the relationships in The School of Essential Ingredients, it doesn't here. There, the story revolved around the recipes; the cooking and ingredients. Smell and aroma were very evocative. Here we see remembrances of days past and how they blend into the future. Relationships that seem to be whispers and fleeing touches instead mix together into a rich tapestry of friendship and love. Like the first novel, the characters here tell their stories in alternating chapters and they all come together in the end. Lillian, Chloe, Isabelle and Tom all return and we see new characters added and unexpected surprises. I particularly enjoyed Isabelle who is more central to this story than Lillian. The peek into Isabelle's world of forgotten memories is so bittersweet and yet, her influence on others is felt in so many subtle ways. I love Erica Bauermeister's grasp of language. Her writing is expressive and lyrical and truly a joy to read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn Clay

    I so enjoyed the first book "The School of Essential Ingredients" and for the most part I enjoyed this one. Some of the characters in the first book are revisited and we are introduced to some new ones. It was good to continue getting to know Chloe, Isabelle, Tom and Lillian. Finnegan is an interesting soul with his blue books. I too thought that the Louise story line ended very abruptly. I was sorry Al didn't get his ritual book back. The ritual of Isabelle's 'throne was fun and I would have li I so enjoyed the first book "The School of Essential Ingredients" and for the most part I enjoyed this one. Some of the characters in the first book are revisited and we are introduced to some new ones. It was good to continue getting to know Chloe, Isabelle, Tom and Lillian. Finnegan is an interesting soul with his blue books. I too thought that the Louise story line ended very abruptly. I was sorry Al didn't get his ritual book back. The ritual of Isabelle's 'throne was fun and I would have liked to see some more.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    Books can be good in so many different ways. Sometimes it's the story, sometimes the characters, or humor, or energy. This author just knows how to use words in a beautiful, visual way. There's not much of a story here. It's more of a slice of the lives of several characters. None of the characters really drew me in, but the writing was first-rate. And all the food talk made me want to go out to a good restaurant! Books can be good in so many different ways. Sometimes it's the story, sometimes the characters, or humor, or energy. This author just knows how to use words in a beautiful, visual way. There's not much of a story here. It's more of a slice of the lives of several characters. None of the characters really drew me in, but the writing was first-rate. And all the food talk made me want to go out to a good restaurant!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Maryann

    This is the sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients and I read this as an early reviewer. Lillian, a chef and restauranteur, is back again and struggling in her relationship with Tom, who is still in mourning over his wife. Her assistant, Chloe, is trying to heal after heartbreak and is living with Isabelle, who is slowly succumbing to Alzheimer's. Al, Lillian's accoutant, is trying to find a way to make his wife Louise happy and failing miserably, because Louise's issues are nothing he ca This is the sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients and I read this as an early reviewer. Lillian, a chef and restauranteur, is back again and struggling in her relationship with Tom, who is still in mourning over his wife. Her assistant, Chloe, is trying to heal after heartbreak and is living with Isabelle, who is slowly succumbing to Alzheimer's. Al, Lillian's accoutant, is trying to find a way to make his wife Louise happy and failing miserably, because Louise's issues are nothing he can fix. The story follows these and a few other characters as they find their way to happiness. It was a sweet story and had its moments of tension, but overall, it was a little fluffy. I didn't really connect with the characters and I kept confusing Louise and Lillian, and I don't think it was because both their names start with L. I wanted it to be more than it was, and I didn't see how the title fit the story. Food: Light ice cream that advertises that it tastes like regular ice cream. It doesn't quite live up to its promise and is less than you wanted it to be.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Scottsdale Public Library

    The Lost Art of Mixing is a sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients. It is a lovely stand alone read, however, I think the reader would benefit from reading the first book as many characters return. Chef Lillian runs her small restaurant where people meet at her cooking classes and relationships develop. By inter-connecting stories, she shows the imperfect characters' struggles and flaws with compassion and you care about their journeys. I liked how Bauermeister employs imagery from food a The Lost Art of Mixing is a sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients. It is a lovely stand alone read, however, I think the reader would benefit from reading the first book as many characters return. Chef Lillian runs her small restaurant where people meet at her cooking classes and relationships develop. By inter-connecting stories, she shows the imperfect characters' struggles and flaws with compassion and you care about their journeys. I liked how Bauermeister employs imagery from food and cooking. "As she tasted, she thought of her customers, the expressions on their faces as they would eat the dish, the way it would bring them home to themselves." A light and enjoyable read. -Jacque C.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    2.5* for the book itself Similar in style to Olive Kitteridge, so if you liked that you will probably like this better than I did. The book is really a series of interconnected short stories of the lives of various people connected to a restaurant in the Pacific northwest. I find this manner of storytelling frustrating in that as soon as I get interested in a character, Bauermeister leaves that person. I guess that my reaction to this just confirms my sense that I don't care for the contemporary 2.5* for the book itself Similar in style to Olive Kitteridge, so if you liked that you will probably like this better than I did. The book is really a series of interconnected short stories of the lives of various people connected to a restaurant in the Pacific northwest. I find this manner of storytelling frustrating in that as soon as I get interested in a character, Bauermeister leaves that person. I guess that my reaction to this just confirms my sense that I don't care for the contemporary style of writing... I prefer more closure than this provides (though it was better at that than Olive Kitteridge!).

  13. 5 out of 5

    Les

    Actual rating: 4.5/5 (Terrific!) Just like a delicious meal at one of my favorite restaurants, Erica Bauermeister’s novels are consistently pleasing and something to which I look forward with great anticipation. I received an ARC from the author several months in advance of its publication, but held off reading it until I had the chance to reread The School of Essential Ingredients. After listening to that lovely novel, I eagerly picked up this sequel and quickly devoured it, in spite of my effor Actual rating: 4.5/5 (Terrific!) Just like a delicious meal at one of my favorite restaurants, Erica Bauermeister’s novels are consistently pleasing and something to which I look forward with great anticipation. I received an ARC from the author several months in advance of its publication, but held off reading it until I had the chance to reread The School of Essential Ingredients. After listening to that lovely novel, I eagerly picked up this sequel and quickly devoured it, in spite of my efforts to savor it as slowly as possible. Readers of Bauermeister’s previous works will recognize the short story-like style, in which she intertwines the individual stories of her characters to create a cohesive and satisfying novel. There weren’t quite as many culinary references this time around, but I was nonetheless happy to return to Lillian’s restaurant, with its familiar cast of characters, as well as the new additions to the group. As is her fashion, Bauermeister describes the method in which a recipe is created, rather than simply including the ingredients and written instructions. My mouth began to water as I read the following passage. Even without specific measurements and quantities, I think I can recreate this chowder without too much difficulty: Lillian collected the salt pork and butter and heavy cream from the walk-in refrigerator, thyme from a pot on the windowsill, dried bay leaves from a glass jar in the row arranged along the wall. She turned on the heat under the pot and added the salt pork, which softened and began to brown. Her stomach grumbled; she remembered she hadn’t eaten breakfast and cut a slice of bread, taking occasional bites as she sliced through the hard white flesh of the potatoes. She removed the cracklings from the pot and added butter and chopped onion, the smells rising up—onion never her favorite thing in the morning, but sometimes a chef didn’t have a choice. She poured in chicken stock then dropped in the potatoes, bringing the liquid to a boil and stepping away while they cooked. No point in pot-watching. She returned to the walk-in refrigerator, using the intervening minutes to assess the food inside while her mind played with menus for the week. Leftover roasted red peppers and zucchini could be the beginnings of a pasta sauce; extra polenta could be sliced and fried in butter and sage. For all the glamour of restaurants, the underlying secret of the successful ones was their ability to magically repurpose ingredients, a culinary sleight of hand that kept them financially afloat and would have made any depression-era housewife proud. Sensing the time, Lillian grabbed a package wrapped in butcher paper and headed back to the prep area. The chunks of potatoes had softened. She smashed one against the side of the pot to thicken the broth, and then unwrapped the package. As the white paper folded back, the smell of cod rose sinuously toward her, briny and green, the essence of old fishing nets and ocean waves. Click here to continue reading.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth of Silver's Reviews

    Food, family, relationships, recipes....a wonderful combination, and a marvelously wonderful book. THE LOST ART OF MIXING makes you feel cozy inside and out. After being with Lillian, you are relaxed and happy...she is just someone who makes you want to be where she is and where you want to stay. In fact, most of the characters mixed well with each other just like a perfect recipe. Each character blended together to make an unforgettable book about family memories, misunderstandings that turned so Food, family, relationships, recipes....a wonderful combination, and a marvelously wonderful book. THE LOST ART OF MIXING makes you feel cozy inside and out. After being with Lillian, you are relaxed and happy...she is just someone who makes you want to be where she is and where you want to stay. In fact, most of the characters mixed well with each other just like a perfect recipe. Each character blended together to make an unforgettable book about family memories, misunderstandings that turned sour or proved to be a good thing, the heartache of aging parents, and also everyday situations we mostly likely are dealing with or will deal with one day. The book also had so many wonderful hints at recipes that it made me want to put the book down and get out my pots and pans and start immediately on a variation of Lillian's recipes. The characters in the story did the same thing. They made you want to stop what you were doing, they made you want to join in the conversation, and they made you want to become long-time friends with everyone involved. I enjoyed every character no matter whether they were causing trouble or dealing with trouble. If you need a comfy, relaxing read don't miss THE LOST ART OF MIXING. Ms. Bauermeister has such a soothing way with her words that you will feel as though you just had the most wonderful massage ever when you are done reading the book. Your body and your brain will not be on overload after reading this book but will be in a splendid slow motion mode. ENJOY!!! 5/5 I won this book from LibraryThing and received it from Putnam Books without compensation in exchange for an honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Dana Stabenow

    There are no villains here, just people, living their lives, making the mistakes we all make, and looking for love. All the action centers around Lillian's restaurant, her sous-chef Chloe and dishwasher Finnegan, Lillian's bereaved lover Tom, Lillian's stuck-in-a-hopeless marriage accountant Al, Al's angry wife Louise, and Chloe's Alzheimer's affected roommate Isabelle. All Finnegan knew, and all he wanted to know, was that he was loved without question. But no one here is, or not at first. Lillia There are no villains here, just people, living their lives, making the mistakes we all make, and looking for love. All the action centers around Lillian's restaurant, her sous-chef Chloe and dishwasher Finnegan, Lillian's bereaved lover Tom, Lillian's stuck-in-a-hopeless marriage accountant Al, Al's angry wife Louise, and Chloe's Alzheimer's affected roommate Isabelle. All Finnegan knew, and all he wanted to know, was that he was loved without question. But no one here is, or not at first. Lillian and Isabelle and Chloe and Al are all children of divorce, Finnegan's parents put him second fiddle to Mount Everest, and Louise is a thin stick of ironed-hair dynamite who keeps prodding Al to light her fuse. But Lillian always has her kitchen and the art and wonder and comfort of food. [Lillian]...tried to fit the lunches to the financial season--more calming scents during tax preparation months, a little more exciting in the summer, when most clients were off on vacation, spending the money Al helped them save the rest of the year. The pickle today might have been a miscalculation, she thought, a bit too much picnic atmosphere just when people should be working hard to meet that April deadline. In the end, everyone gets what they want, with caveats, of course, because isn't that how life is? A nice read.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    I was really looking forward to reading The Lost Art of Mixing because of how much I loved The School of Essential Ingredients, but the former had almost none of what I loved about the latter. Where The School of Essential Ingredients was filled with warmth and tantalizing descriptions of food, the Lost Art of Mixing left me feeling cold, frustrated, and hungry. Perhaps this was Erica Bauermeister's goal - to highlight life's difficulties and the misunderstandings that abound in human relationsh I was really looking forward to reading The Lost Art of Mixing because of how much I loved The School of Essential Ingredients, but the former had almost none of what I loved about the latter. Where The School of Essential Ingredients was filled with warmth and tantalizing descriptions of food, the Lost Art of Mixing left me feeling cold, frustrated, and hungry. Perhaps this was Erica Bauermeister's goal - to highlight life's difficulties and the misunderstandings that abound in human relationships. If so, she missed the mark because I wasn't invested in the characters' troubles. Sometimes a chapter highlighted a character who the reader may have already been set up to dislike, and I didn't find that spending several dozen pages with them changed their unsympathetic nature. The book was so different in tone from its predecessor, even with certain characters in common, and was therefore disorienting. Most importantly, the two most likable, central characters of the first book, Lillian and food, played such minor roles in this disappointing sequel.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Candice

    Reading one of Erica Bauermeister's novels is like settling down with a bottomless cup of your favorite tea. Her books are beautifully descriptive, full of love, food and friendship, and comforting. I read The School of Essential Ingredients quite a few years ago, so I don't remember it well. This book picks up many of the characters from Ingredients but can be read on its own. It begins with Lillian making a chowder and you can almost smell the sizzling butter, the bacon, the herbs and spices. Reading one of Erica Bauermeister's novels is like settling down with a bottomless cup of your favorite tea. Her books are beautifully descriptive, full of love, food and friendship, and comforting. I read The School of Essential Ingredients quite a few years ago, so I don't remember it well. This book picks up many of the characters from Ingredients but can be read on its own. It begins with Lillian making a chowder and you can almost smell the sizzling butter, the bacon, the herbs and spices. Many of the characters have an interesting story to tell so that the reader can get to know them better. There is sadness, but also love, friendship, and hope in this story of people who are mixed together and form unbreakable bonds. I thought the book ended a bit abruptly, or maybe I just wanted it to go on forever, which is why I gave it 4 stars and not 5.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Barb

    Erica Bauermeister writing perfectly captures your feelings and thoughts in just a few sentences. In all of her books (my favorite "Joy For Beginners"), there will be a moment when I read a paragraph and it just resonates and I'm blown away by her ability to put words together. That her novels are quick light reads is a shame. I wish that she would write a novel that would make me stick it in my customer's faces and say "Read this! This is the perfect book club read." In this novel, she absolute Erica Bauermeister writing perfectly captures your feelings and thoughts in just a few sentences. In all of her books (my favorite "Joy For Beginners"), there will be a moment when I read a paragraph and it just resonates and I'm blown away by her ability to put words together. That her novels are quick light reads is a shame. I wish that she would write a novel that would make me stick it in my customer's faces and say "Read this! This is the perfect book club read." In this novel, she absolutely captures aging Isabella's torment as she loses herself to old age and dementia. The rest of the story although pleasant, just didn't have the same impact. She's such a good writer....one of these days, I'm sure she'll reward me that book I'm hoping for.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    I am a big fan of Bauermeister's first book The School of Essential Ingredients, so I was delighted to see that her latest novel brings us back into Lillian's kitchen. It's a lovely mix of new and old characters, and, for me at least, just as magical. Each person who comes to the restaurant is lost, lonely, afraid or unhappy in some way, all have tried to ignore it and soldier on. But by mixing into Lillian's circle, these folks bump into and blend with each other, forming friendships and someti I am a big fan of Bauermeister's first book The School of Essential Ingredients, so I was delighted to see that her latest novel brings us back into Lillian's kitchen. It's a lovely mix of new and old characters, and, for me at least, just as magical. Each person who comes to the restaurant is lost, lonely, afraid or unhappy in some way, all have tried to ignore it and soldier on. But by mixing into Lillian's circle, these folks bump into and blend with each other, forming friendships and sometimes much more. Once again, I am sad that my time in that kitchen was so brief (I devoured this book rather quickly), but I am more than happy to recommend this book to YOU

  20. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    I loved this book....I actually think I may have liked it a little more than The School of Essential Ingredients. The book was less about Louise & more about the people around her & still involving the restaurant. There were some parts of the story that really touched a spot in my heart & I had to stop & go back & reread a few parts because of tears were in the way.... I love Erica's writing style...... I loved this book....I actually think I may have liked it a little more than The School of Essential Ingredients. The book was less about Louise & more about the people around her & still involving the restaurant. There were some parts of the story that really touched a spot in my heart & I had to stop & go back & reread a few parts because of tears were in the way.... I love Erica's writing style......

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    Rarely does a sequel outperform the initial book/movie, but this one surpassed The School of Essential Ingredients. Bauermeister took the original cooking school characters added a few more and cooked up a concoction of chapters that delved into the characters lives. Liked seeing the realness of characters and how aging, dementia, pent up anger, insecurity and rituals play out. Really enjoyed the read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Pfaefflin

    A story about everyone’s lives who works at one restaurant. Each chapter is a different character but you easily realize how they are intertwine with each other. The main themes I got from this story is that (1) you cant judge a book from its cover - you don’t know someones whole story just by looking at them and (2) the importance of the community/friendships in our lives. Each chapter dives deeper into each characters lives but their love for the restaurant is always the common denominator. A A story about everyone’s lives who works at one restaurant. Each chapter is a different character but you easily realize how they are intertwine with each other. The main themes I got from this story is that (1) you cant judge a book from its cover - you don’t know someones whole story just by looking at them and (2) the importance of the community/friendships in our lives. Each chapter dives deeper into each characters lives but their love for the restaurant is always the common denominator. A restaurant family. I realized at the end that there was actually a first book so maybe I’ll look into that one soon - ha!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Judy King

    Women's Fiction is not even my 3rd choice of genres, unless the book is written by this author. I really enjoyed her previous book, the School of Essential Ingredients. That's where I met the people who also inhabit The Lost Art of Mixing. Bauermeister isn't just a master creator of characters. She pulls together their neighborhood, community, and lives. She allows us to watch as they become a family of choice. What a special pair of books. Women's Fiction is not even my 3rd choice of genres, unless the book is written by this author. I really enjoyed her previous book, the School of Essential Ingredients. That's where I met the people who also inhabit The Lost Art of Mixing. Bauermeister isn't just a master creator of characters. She pulls together their neighborhood, community, and lives. She allows us to watch as they become a family of choice. What a special pair of books.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Danita

    It was nice to follow the characters from the first book "The School of Essential Ingredients" a little further in their lives. It was nice to follow the characters from the first book "The School of Essential Ingredients" a little further in their lives.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kris Stoner

    4+++I love books by Bauermeister. Her words are a feast for the senses. "Suddenly she was seeing the buds on the cherry trees around her; she could feel the energy packed within them, a bouquet of fireworks whose fuse had already been lit. She could smell them, too, a subtle essence of pink and lollipops, the sweetness deepened by the scent of the slowly warming earth below them." (pg.152)....."Finnegan watched Maridel counting, polishing the losses of her life as if they were beads on a rosary. 4+++I love books by Bauermeister. Her words are a feast for the senses. "Suddenly she was seeing the buds on the cherry trees around her; she could feel the energy packed within them, a bouquet of fireworks whose fuse had already been lit. She could smell them, too, a subtle essence of pink and lollipops, the sweetness deepened by the scent of the slowly warming earth below them." (pg.152)....."Finnegan watched Maridel counting, polishing the losses of her life as if they were beads on a rosary."(pg. 228) Her writing is filled with gems like this. Man, I am always sorry to see them end.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    Synopsis (from bn.com): 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 l Synopsis (from bn.com): 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. . . . Their lives collide and mix with those around them, sometimes joining in effortless connections, at other times sifting together and separating again, creating a family that is chosen, not given. A beautifully imagined novel about the ties that bind—and links that break—The Lost Art of Mixing is a captivating meditation on the power of love, food, and companionship. My thoughts: I am rather conflicted about this book as I sit here and write this review. I am feeling that my thoughts about this book may very well have to do with my reading of it rather than the book itself. All you readers out there know what I am talking about right? Sometimes you find out that when and how you read the book has a great effect on your overall feelings toward the book. This book, “The Lost Art of Mixing”, is a continuation of sorts of Bauermeister’s “The School of Essential Ingredients”. We trace the same characters that we met in Lillian’s kitchen during her cooking classes further into their lives and their relationships. I absolutely loved “The School of Essential Ingredients” and her first novel “Joy for Beginners” for that matter, but somehow just didn’t connect with this latest book in the same way. I didn’t feel a connection with the characters in the same way I did when I first met them. I somehow felt that they were distant and that their stories didn’t seem as genuine and authentic as they had in the first novel. Lillian, the main character, who I grew to love as a warm, caring, kind, compassionate individual, really felt cold and distant in this book. Perhaps it was just the author’s way of portraying to the reader some of the life events and stresses that Lillian in fact is dealing with in the book – of course I can’t be sure, but given my love for Erica Bauermeister’s writing, I am going to go with this. Overall, as I said above, perhaps it was just because I got a bit distracted while reading this book and it took me longer than it should of. I read the first two novels each in one day, almost in one sitting, so I really engaged with the story. I did enjoy “The Lost Art of Mixing”, just not on the same level that I was moved by her other two novels. Bauermeister’s writing style still is one of my absolute favorites and I never quite have the words to describe it – it is lyrical, descriptive, beautiful, almost like a song. She sucks you in and you care about the lives of the characters. Give this author a try if you haven’t. You definitely will not regret it.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ti

    The Short of It: A literary treat for the senses. The Rest of It: If you haven’t read a book by this author yet, you are really missing out. In The Lost Art of Mixing, Bauermeister returns to Lillian’s restaurant, first featured in The School of Essential Ingredients. Lillian’s restaurant is known for bringing people together. It’s a place to rediscover yourself and the pleasures around you. Through her carefully prepared meals and the cooking classes she offers, her simple acts of kindness prov The Short of It: A literary treat for the senses. The Rest of It: If you haven’t read a book by this author yet, you are really missing out. In The Lost Art of Mixing, Bauermeister returns to Lillian’s restaurant, first featured in The School of Essential Ingredients. Lillian’s restaurant is known for bringing people together. It’s a place to rediscover yourself and the pleasures around you. Through her carefully prepared meals and the cooking classes she offers, her simple acts of kindness provide the much-needed tonic that these folks have been searching for. Included are some familiar characters from the first book, but we also meet Al, an accountant whose marriage has left him pondering who he is. Finnegan, nineteen years-old and orphaned at a young age, he finds solace when he gets a job as a dishwasher for the restaurant. Isabelle, who is struggling with dementia but finds a friend in Chloe, who you might remember from the first book and then finally Louise, Al’s wife who doesn't seem to know her husband at all, but at the same time, seems to know everything about him. The first book was filled with the smells of cooking. I literally drooled my way through it and then did not have any food in the house which was bad planning on my part. It was hard for me to believe that a book could evoke such feelings of comfort, but it really did. This time around, there is a lot less cooking, but more going on with the characters. They are complex and intricately layered with real-life problems that readers can relate to. I found the characters to be endlessly fascinating. Additionally, there is something wonderful that happens when you return to familiar territory and I loved visiting with these characters again. The Lost Art of Mixing is a fabulous complement to The School of Essential Ingredients. Although you can read this one as a stand-alone, I encourage you to read her other book first. The writing is wonderful in both and trust me, you’ll want to extend your visit once you are done reading them. Release Note: This wonderful book does not hit the shelves until January 24, 2013! If you can hold out, I promise to host a blog giveaway once the book is released. For more reviews, visit my blog: Book Chatter.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Andrea Guy

    There are some books that you rush through even though you love them and then there some books that you meander through slowly, savoring each word. This is one of the books that you savor. At first I thought the book was slow, but I came to realize soon that I was wrong. It felt slow because you were really getting to know all the characters whose lives are connected in this story, and there's quite a cast of characters here; Louise, Al, Lillian, Tom, Chloe, Finnegan and Isabelle. Those are just t There are some books that you rush through even though you love them and then there some books that you meander through slowly, savoring each word. This is one of the books that you savor. At first I thought the book was slow, but I came to realize soon that I was wrong. It felt slow because you were really getting to know all the characters whose lives are connected in this story, and there's quite a cast of characters here; Louise, Al, Lillian, Tom, Chloe, Finnegan and Isabelle. Those are just the characters you really feel attached to. You also get to know Isabelle's family, Anna, Rory and Lucy and her grandson Rory. You have varying feelings about each of them. Isabelle inspires love. She's the elderly lady with Alzheimer's whose condition is slowly deteriorate. Chloe lives with her. Anna, is Isabelle's daughter she is just horrible. She's a doctor who really can't be bother to care for her mother, she just seems like she wants to put her away somewhere and forget about her. The other characters do more of the "caring" when it comes to Isabelle. They also do more of the loving. What I truly loved was how visual the book was, from the way food is described either with Chloe or Lillian cooking or Lillian buying it at the market. Sometimes the descriptions were so vivid you could almost smell the dishes that they were creating. Another vivid part of the book is Isabelle's celebration. It is so easy to see everyone hoisting her in her chair and carrying her through the streets to bring her closer to God. This is a wonderful leisurely read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Leigh Kramer

    In The Lost Art of Mixing, we catch up with a few of the cooking class members from Essential Ingredients and meet a few new characters, all somehow connected to Lillian and her restaurant. This follow up has less emphasis on food, though it still plays a lovely role, and more on memory. The way food evokes memories, the way memories can be fleeting and fickle, the way memories can heal. As in Essential Ingredients, we see the story through a different character's eyes each chapter. Despite the d In The Lost Art of Mixing, we catch up with a few of the cooking class members from Essential Ingredients and meet a few new characters, all somehow connected to Lillian and her restaurant. This follow up has less emphasis on food, though it still plays a lovely role, and more on memory. The way food evokes memories, the way memories can be fleeting and fickle, the way memories can heal. As in Essential Ingredients, we see the story through a different character's eyes each chapter. Despite the differing viewpoints, the plot flows fluidly and I enjoyed seeing what characters thought about each other and how their interests overlapped. Or in some cases, how what they didn't know led to the wrong conclusions. What is especially unique about the Lost Art of Mixing is a storyline involving one character's increasing dementia and how people respond to her memory loss. To see how she responds to her fading memory and envisions how it will only get worse was quite moving. To see the sights, smells, and sounds that still captivate her was poignant. By the end of the book, I'd grown to see these characters as friends. I rooted for them and wanted to hear more of their stories. I hope Bauermeister will grace us with another follow up someday. Disclosure: I received free copies of The School of Essential Ingredients and The Lost Art of Mixing from TLC Book Tours with no expectation I would provide a positive review. The thoughts, opinions, and reactions are entirely my own.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brenda

    Memories turned into recipes, recipes that turn into stories. One of my favorite sentences in this book! There are so many characters that bring this book to life. There is Al the accountant, who has always found comfort in numbers and ritual. His story was an interesting one for me. As we get a glimpse of his childhood, my heart broke just a bit for the boy who found comfort in the home of elderly neighbor Mrs. Cohen. Lillian, owns a restaurant that seems to bring people together. Her sous-chef Memories turned into recipes, recipes that turn into stories. One of my favorite sentences in this book! There are so many characters that bring this book to life. There is Al the accountant, who has always found comfort in numbers and ritual. His story was an interesting one for me. As we get a glimpse of his childhood, my heart broke just a bit for the boy who found comfort in the home of elderly neighbor Mrs. Cohen. Lillian, owns a restaurant that seems to bring people together. Her sous-chef Chloe is staying with seventy something Isabelle. Chloe notices little things going on with Isabelle, little slips that could be Alzheimer's, but she is still able to impart gems of wisdom.A diverse blending of characters that remind that family doesn't always have to be blood relatives. The author blends together wonderfully rich aromas, along with tantalizing dishes where you can almost taste the flavors, to provide a savory story rich in characters that remind the reader of what's most important in life. A complimentary copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.

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