National bestselling author of Reese Witherspoon’s Book Club pick, The Scent Keeper, Erica Bauermeister returns to the enchanting world of The School of Essential Ingredients in this luminous sequel.
Lillian and her restaurant have a way of drawing people together. There’s Al, the accountant who finds meaning in numbers; 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.
READERS GUIDE INCLUDED
In her sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients, Bauermeister picks up the threads of many of the characters first brought together in Lillian's cooking classes, adding a few new stories to the mix. Here we follow Al, the restaurant's accountant, soothed by numbers and flavors but unable to connect with Louise, his wife of 29 years; Chloe, the young sous-chef made timid by a failed relationship; Isabelle, the elderly woman with whom Chloe lives, struggling against the onset of Alzheimer's; and Finnegan, the impossibly tall dishwasher taking his first stab at independence. Lillian remains a sort of mythic background figure, although her unexpected pregnancy tests her and the touchy relationship she's having with Tom, a widower. Bauermeister weaves these individual stories in and among one another, but never stays with one character long enough for the reader to grow very attached, robbing each of depth. Still, Bauermeister's prose is strong, particularly when it comes to food, and her novel brings to life the adage "be kinder than necessary, for everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle."