The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
When Lillian’s father left and her mother turned inward, Lillian became all but an orphan. Lillian had no idea how to reach her mother and turn them into a family once again until she discovered cooking. With a natural gift for putting together food and knowning what people would like to eat, Lillian made her goal to cook her mother back to the rest of the world.
As an adult, Lillian has her own restaurant and a once per month cooking class. The majority of the book follows the lives of the different people in one cooking class as well as the classes every month.
Because of the way the book was styled as vignettes, I wasn’t sure I would really enjoy it, I thought that I might not get enough of a look at any one person’s life to care about them as a character. I was completely and totally wrong. The language was lyrical, the descriptions of the food sensous. I was immediately intrigued by each and every character and by the way that food was able to transform their life. The book had a bit of the feeling of magical realism, without anything actually standing out as being too magical.
Simply, I loved it; I only put it down once and only because I was too tired to go on. It was completely lovely and fantastic. In my opinion, it is even worth buying in hardcover.