Essential Ingredients

I had an irresistible urge to re-read The School of Essential Ingedients by Erica Bauermeister today. The story follows several characters who take a cooking class in vivid detail. While each individual character’s story is perhaps too short to be truly satisfying, I can’t help but sink into the world that Bauermeister creates. Every page is a feast for the senses – tastes and sounds and smells and touches so clearly drawn that you cannot help but feel like you’re in the same room as the characters.

Now, I love food. I’m not always very adventurous in terms of what I actually eat, but there is almost nothing I enjoy more than sitting around a table with friends and family and diving into a really great meal, from appetizers through dessert. So of course I love a book that’s all about the ways food can evoke and create memories and really shape our lives.
What drew me to The School of Essential Ingredients today, though, was not so much the food, but the author’s ability to make me taste it and feel it. The language isn’t especially complex, the word choices are plain language rather than literary extravaganzas mined from a thesaurus. But each sentence is carefully crafted and fitted to its place in the story.
Sometimes I need to remember that. That it’s not always about word count or productivity, but about the craft itself, about making the words on the page really count.

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