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The School of Essential Ingredients


I would recommend this book. I really liked it, even cried in it. The overall theme is how food is related to experiences we have in life and relationships with people. Being a food-lover myself, I identified very much with phrases like “the taste ran through her, full and rich and complicated, dense as a long deep kiss.” Some food is really that good, don’t you think?

I really loved all the characterization in the book–it followed a bunch of different people’s lives and connected them somehow. I especially liked the young mother who had two young children and was struggling with her identity, feeling like she had given up her life for her kids. I also liked Helen and Carl, an older couple who have grown together in their marriage so that they are very much the same and have this way of seeming to be next to each other even when they are on opposite sides of the room. Have you ever known a couple like that? It is so romantic. Carl reminded me of Raimo. I like how when Carl recounts their first dance, she “followed his lead like water.” Haha Raimo I will try to be more like that.

Anyway, while experimenting with and eating delicious food, all these people are in the process of finding and re-finding themselves. I may have cried. More than once. This is a book I’d like to read again in 10 or 20 years and see how I have changed.

3 thoughts on “The School of Essential Ingredients

  1. I'm going to suggest ths book for our book group. It sounds like my kind of book. Right now we are reading an old classic: Return of the Native by Thos. Hardy. It's essentially a story about complicated love between several people who live on one of the moors (heaths) in the UK. A little slow to get into (starts with bonfires on the heath on Guy Fawkes Day) but soon becomes a real page turner. A movie was made of it a few years ago.

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  2. This book looks very interesting, I've added it to my list of books to read…hopefully I get to it, since I'm not much of a reader šŸ˜‰ I eat in-n-out like 4 times a week…I'm trying to put the lbs on!

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  3. so I just found your blog (even though you often comment on mine). This book looks fun! I have more free time to read for enjoyment now, which I love, so I'm looking for good reads for the summer!

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