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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 disappear into the 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 disappear into the 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. 5 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. 4 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 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. 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 keep tr 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 4 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.

  6. 5 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.

  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. Relationship 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. 5 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!).

  9. 5 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, misunder 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 4 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 and cooking. "As sh 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

    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.

  13. 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./>All 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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, w 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.

  16. 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 Is 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.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Erica Bauermeister is a master storyteller. She finds the stories that don't seem apparent then weaves the words into something more tangible than ideas then infuses them into the characters. Each character possesses a different way of viewing the world and each chapter tells a part of the story through that character's eyes. It is not an action packed novel but a book to be read, savored, and enjoyed. I loved every character from meticulous Al who read stories from tax returns to Finnegan who w Erica Bauermeister is a master storyteller. She finds the stories that don't seem apparent then weaves the words into something more tangible than ideas then infuses them into the characters. Each character possesses a different way of viewing the world and each chapter tells a part of the story through that character's eyes. It is not an action packed novel but a book to be read, savored, and enjoyed. I loved every character from meticulous Al who read stories from tax returns to Finnegan who watched and listened patiently. Even Louise who made a new reality, breaking from her old stories. Just read and enjoy. I would also suggest a colored pencil for underlining sentences that strike your "huh!" bone.

  18. 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

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    I loved The School of Essential Ingredients, which is the predecessor to this book. But four years is a long time for a sequel, so I didn't remember the characters who reappear. While I enjoyed this book, it doesn't quite capture the magic of the first one, and ends too abruptly for my taste.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    If I could give 2.5 stars, I would. I'm afraid this is a deeply mediocre book. It's plot driven and there are lots of characters to follow. Their lives wind and out and you do tend to follow along to see what happens to who. But it is, for the most part, quite predictable. And the writing is weak, so I found myself reading just to see what happened next, not to actually enjoy the words on the page. Perhaps this is in part because while you follow different characters it is in the same authorial If I could give 2.5 stars, I would. I'm afraid this is a deeply mediocre book. It's plot driven and there are lots of characters to follow. Their lives wind and out and you do tend to follow along to see what happens to who. But it is, for the most part, quite predictable. And the writing is weak, so I found myself reading just to see what happened next, not to actually enjoy the words on the page. Perhaps this is in part because while you follow different characters it is in the same authorial voice--and it's not a very interesting one. The book is a sequel to The School of Essential Ingredients, or something like that, and they are quite similar. If you liked the first, you'll like this. And if not, not. No need to read in order. (I found that I couldn't remember any of the characters, even though it is not so long ago I read the first book.)

  21. 5 out of 5

    Melinda

    A lovely story with intersecting plot lines. The author writes with compassion about the struggles and challenges of flawed characters. A perfect sequel to "The School of Essential Ingredients". LOVED IT!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Yukari Watanabe/渡辺由佳里

    DNF. Couldn't get into it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I was so excited to read this as I loved her previous book. This just didn’t capture my attention as I had hoped. It was an easy read, but I didn’t really grow to care about the characters. Not her best.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I loved this sequel almost as much as the first but it was missing the great cooking. I enjoyed seeing many of the first book's characters again and delving deeper into their stories as well as meeting some new ones. I really appreciated the painful experience of advancing Alzheimer's disease from Isabelle's perspective and how obnoxious people are around tall people from Finnegan's point of view.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Katherina

    I'm not sure how this book ended up on my reading list though I tend to like food fiction, so I went in with few expectations. What unfolded was a feast of stories about love, loss, sadness, joy, and of course food! I listened to it and thoroughly enjoyed the reader's, Cassandra Campbell, interpretation though there were times when a description was so lovely, I wished I could highlight it. I fell in love with the characters and think of them as if they are friends whose lives intertwine with mi I'm not sure how this book ended up on my reading list though I tend to like food fiction, so I went in with few expectations. What unfolded was a feast of stories about love, loss, sadness, joy, and of course food! I listened to it and thoroughly enjoyed the reader's, Cassandra Campbell, interpretation though there were times when a description was so lovely, I wished I could highlight it. I fell in love with the characters and think of them as if they are friends whose lives intertwine with mine. I look forward to reading more from this author.

  26. 4 out of 5

    momruncraft

    In this book, we are reintroduced to characters from Bauermeister's earlier novel, The School of Essential Ingredients. However, the magic of Lillian's cooking, the ability of her recipes to transcend paper and leave traces of her magic within each recipient was lost in this story. Less about cooking and more about individual stories of routine and rituals, The Lost Art of Mixing examines the ways in which routine and ritual can define one's life. The routine rituals of a disgruntled In this book, we are reintroduced to characters from Bauermeister's earlier novel, The School of Essential Ingredients. However, the magic of Lillian's cooking, the ability of her recipes to transcend paper and leave traces of her magic within each recipient was lost in this story. Less about cooking and more about individual stories of routine and rituals, The Lost Art of Mixing examines the ways in which routine and ritual can define one's life. The routine rituals of a disgruntled housewife: the ways in which she loses a little bit of herself over the years as she transforms to meet the needs of her husband or her house. The routine rituals of an out of touch husband: the ways in which he stays at work an hour longer to avoid the inevitable onslaught of rising anger from his wife. The routine of a daughter forced to grow up far too fast in order to help her aging mother and attempt to get her siblings to see the reality of their family's situation. The routine rituals of a young man desperately searching for a place to call his own, a place to truly fit in, a place to stop hiding and discover himself. Routines and rituals that bring strangers to Lillian's kitchen for a cooking class where they end up learning about much more than cooking. I particularly loved the following quote: "the way things could become so permeated with memories that story was more important than function." Many of the characters struggle with moving forward, pinned down by their past. As Abby searches for answers regarding the next step with her mother, she is forced to confront her mother's connection to things. Things that seem mundane to Abby, yet the stories within each item mean the world to Isabelle. This pulled the heartstrings for me as a mother, a daughter, a sister...at what point does the item connected to the story come to solely represent the story? Does the story remain within the item or one's heart? I missed Bauermeister's culinary prose. She is incredibly lyrical and moving as she mixes recipes with personal stories. "By the time Lillian had turned twelve years old, cooking had become her family. It had taught her lessons usually imparted by parents- economy from a limp head of celery left too long in the hydrator, perseverance from the whipping of heavy cream, the power of memories from oregano, whose flavor only grew stronger as it dried." Magic. Overall, a good read but not nearly as poignant as the first...

  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 provide the 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

    Tia Bach

    There's an interesting and engaging set of characters in The Lost Art of Mixing. Lillian is the at the center of an intricate story about relationships and self-discovery. She is in a relationship with a man who can't quite let go of another, and she's facing an unexpected development in the plan she had for her life. Like any good recipe, varied ingredients work together to make an enjoyable concoction. In this story, it's the varied complexities of the characters that come together. Their stor There's an interesting and engaging set of characters in The Lost Art of Mixing. Lillian is the at the center of an intricate story about relationships and self-discovery. She is in a relationship with a man who can't quite let go of another, and she's facing an unexpected development in the plan she had for her life. Like any good recipe, varied ingredients work together to make an enjoyable concoction. In this story, it's the varied complexities of the characters that come together. Their stories, which often appear separate, affect and enrich those around them. Al, Lillian's accountant, and his wife, Louise, are struggling with their marriage and their identities. His methods of dealing affect Chloe who is coming back from heartbreak with the help of Isabelle and Finnegan. Finnegan finds himself through others' stories and gives Chloe a way to look at her own. Isabelle fights the inevitable loss of herself as her memories begin to fade away, while also passing along her wisdom and experience to all of those around her... as long as she still can. The lovely thing about stories rich in good characters is that readers have many opportunities to connect. Although all the characters were interesting enough to keep my attention, I found myself most drawn to Isabelle, Chloe, and Finnegan. Isabelle had a vulnerability that stole my heart while still having a compelling inner strength. Chloe and Finnegan were the couple to root for; I wanted them to find their individual strength as well as their way to each other. Plus, I loved Finnegan's attraction to people's stories. Although this novel doesn't offer page-turning action, the author does build an engrossing character and relationship study. It shows just how interconnected we all are. I look forward to reading the prequel, The School of Essential Ingredients, and finding out more about these memorable characters. I highly recommend this novel to readers who appreciate a well-written story full of characters that find a way into your heart. Note: I received a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Wendolyn

    I found this book to be philosophical, insightful, and at times, heavy. The idea of rituals was intriguing. It is a refreshing format, connecting all the characters in community. I looked forward to getting to know each character better when I reached their chapter. Their stories unfurl and come back together almost seamlessly. Lillian ties everyone together, but her story isn't central. The reader has the opportunity to relate to so many personalities. I liked Chloe, Al (nice, steady guy lookin I found this book to be philosophical, insightful, and at times, heavy. The idea of rituals was intriguing. It is a refreshing format, connecting all the characters in community. I looked forward to getting to know each character better when I reached their chapter. Their stories unfurl and come back together almost seamlessly. Lillian ties everyone together, but her story isn't central. The reader has the opportunity to relate to so many personalities. I liked Chloe, Al (nice, steady guy looking for community), Isabelle (warm, quirky) and Finnegan (interested, sweet). "The author has referred to 'The Lost Art of Mixing' as a series of dominoes, each character tipping another (or others) forward, often unknowingly." (page 279) The dominoes can fall fast. It's a good ending. An easy read, even though there is so much to it; so much goes on. The Readers Guide gets me to re-read pieces of the book, which I happily revisit. I don't reread books. There are too many others I have yet to read. But this is one I would read again. It may not have been "amazing", but it was real, it flowed, it allowed me to escape while still relating. Preface: Every truth has two sides - Aesop There are so many quotable lines: "After the exhilaration that was summer in the Pacific Northwest, autumn was like the sigh of an adolescent who realizes he must indeed grow up." (pages 1-2) "Rituals, Al decided, were a lot like numbers; they offered a comforting solidity in the otherwise chaotic floodtide of life. But is was more than that. A ritual was a way to hold time - not freezing it, rather the opposite, warming it through the touch of your imagination. Six p.m. might always be an hour on the clock, fixed and named, but Friday dinner with Mrs. Cohen - the lighting of the candles, her face relaxing over the course of the meal as the sun set outside -that had been something altogether different. Any moment could become a ritual, Al thought as he brushed his teeth - in its simplest iteration, a ritual was just a matter of paying attention to a moment in time, giving it a name, a reason. Traditions like Christmas or Thanksgiving gained strength as they were passed down through generations, meanings growing with memories. Rituals, however, could happen every day or be needed only once, never to be repeated - a confluence of human need and creativity, a container for a feeling that could otherwise slip away or eat you alive. At night in bed, with Louise turned away from him, Al would think about the rituals in the book. They kept him company in their own way, could turn the slope of Louise's body back into a shape and not an accusation. The perfect combination of ritual and person had the beauty of an equation, he realized, the answer changing with the variables, no two alike. It was math, only more so. At the office, Al found himself looking at his clients, wondering about what ritual might shift the balance of their accounts. He felt full to bursting with the secret knowledge of their lives. He wanted to lift life out of the numbers, reach across his desk toward the people on the other side, help them find rituals that would acknowledge their successes and head off the impending disasters, but he couldn't quite figure out what to say." (pages 24-25) "Chloe's mother, in an act of penance, or perhaps merely in search for domestic normalcy, had attempted to emulate the June-and-Ward social conventions she had seen on reruns as a young girl, but the ideal had a tendency to wander in disconcerting directions without the frame of a television set to hold it together. It was a bit, Chloe though later, like being raised by a nun who kept slipping out back for a cigarette break." (pages 37-38) "It made Chloe wonder, how much could you hold in your arms if they weren't full of the constantly falling pieces of yourself?" (page 42) "'That was my escape suitcase," she said. "I got it for my honeymoon. Of course, I didn't call it an escape suitcase back then. "You take it," she continued. "It needs a spin around the block.'" Did everyone think about escaping? Chloe wondered now. Did everyone have their equivalent of a red suitcase, the list in their head of the things they would take if a fire started burning out of control in their family, if the earth shook underneath their marriage? She had spent most of her teenage years in her bedroom, staring at the posters on the wall, the books on her shelves, wondering which of them were essential parts of her, what she would take when she left - always when, never if. In the end, she had taken none of them when she moved in with Jake, so relieved to be away from what felt like the ever-diminishing square footage of her soul in her parents' house that she didn't even pause to make sure there was space for her in her new habitat." (page 43) "It was nice to be driven, Chloe thought. Taken care of. Jake had driven, but in a different way, stepping into her opinions and needs and rearranging them into his own." (page 60) "Chloe counted to four in her head, imagining a big, empty field waiting for his words. Then, carefully, 'What is is like, being tall?'" (page 61) "In the middle of the night, Tom had reached for her. His passion had been so lean, unencumbered, the moment so miraculous and evanescent, that it was hard to believe it was real or anything lasting could come from it, and she had leaned into him without fully waking, letting go." (page 70) "Her love of new ingredients had brought her to Abuelita, the owner of the local Mexican grocery store, who introduced her to avocadoes and cilantro, and taught her the magic of matching ingredients with personalities to change a person's mood or a life. But the day when twelve-hear-old Lillian had handed her mother an apple - fresh-picked from the orchard down the road on an afternoon when Indian summer gave over to autumn - and Lillian's mother had finally looked up from the book she was reading, food achieved a status for Lillian that was almost mystical. 'Look how you've grown,' Lillian's mother had said, and life had started over again." (pages 81-82) I couldn't relate to Tom's catharsis. Yes, being physically spent helped, but I wasn't convinced by the mental switch. "'They aren't leftovers,' Charlie used to tell him as she took the bits and pieces of a previous day's meal out of the refrigerator. 'They're a head start.'" (page 206) THIS is community, especially between men: "'You know,' Tom said after a moment, glancing sideways at Al, 'I mean, it's a lot to ask, but we could really use some help.'" (page 265) Interesting how Chloe and Al both heard the screeching tires. Interesting how Abby turned around, saying she forgot something. But her return is not in the story. (page 186) But we do get closure on Louise.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Laura Zimmerman

    I just wrote a review for this book, which I won through a Goodreads giveaway...and then lost the review when I hit 'save'. Very frustrating and disappointing--I spent a fair amount of time on the review. Maybe I will try to re-create the review at another time but I will say for now that I really enjoyed The Lost Art of Mixing. It surprised me, as I expected it to be pretty fluffy and insubstantial but Ms. Bauermeister wrote a wonderfully gentle, soothing book about a small group of I just wrote a review for this book, which I won through a Goodreads giveaway...and then lost the review when I hit 'save'. Very frustrating and disappointing--I spent a fair amount of time on the review. Maybe I will try to re-create the review at another time but I will say for now that I really enjoyed The Lost Art of Mixing. It surprised me, as I expected it to be pretty fluffy and insubstantial but Ms. Bauermeister wrote a wonderfully gentle, soothing book about a small group of people living their lives. Her characters are well-developed individuals who, while atypically well-grounded and wise, have their share of baggage that they bring to the table. Each of the characters feels a little familiar but also a bit mysterious, as the reader doesn't know much about each character's history. Without giving away too much, I would say that at the end of the book each of the characters has found what he or she is looking for, at least a little bit. There is one character whose ending we don't get to see but based on what is written about her throughout the book we can surmise the ending to her story. Ms. Bauermeister has done a wonderful job of telling the stories of these people in a warm, gentle way. The book isn't suspenseful or fast-paced or historic or dystopian so if you're looking for that sort of book, don't read The Lost Art of Mixing. The book fits into the 'chick lit' category but it's not a book that will be quickly forgotten after it's read. Rather, it's a book that is a very pleasant read; soothing in a way that few books are. The warmth of the story will linger beyond the last page.

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