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THE SCHOOL FOR ESSENTIAL INGREDIENTS
Genre: Mainstream, General Mainstream Fiction
Sentimental and sweet, this debut is a lovely amalgam of food, love and life. With glimpses into eight different lives, there's no overarching story other than the cooking class that ties the characters together, but it's delicately told nonetheless. The saintly teacher, Lillian, is a little too good to be true, and her backstory, while very well told, doesn't really elucidate her unwavering benevolence.
Lillian, a self-taught chef, teaches a cooking class on Monday nights out of her restaurant. While her students vary in many different ways, each is excited to learn to cook for all different reasons. As they experiment with different ingredients, spices and tastes, they're brought back to the different times in their lives that led them to Lillian's class in the first place. (PUTNAM, Jan., 240 pp., $24.95)
Reviewed By: Lauren Spielberg
Published: January 2009