Tuesday, October 27, 2009

School of Essential Ingredients

This month Book Babes' selection is School of Essential Ingredients, by Erica Bauermeister. The first novel has gotten great press and the author's website is billing it as an international bestseller, NPR favourite and Indie Pic.

I liked it because it made me want to cook again.

Erica gained an appreciation of slow food when she lived in Northern Italy for two years, and it comes across in her descriptions.

There are strong connections of food to landscape:
  • Lillian liked the dips and dents (of the potatoes), even if it meant it took more time to wash them. They reminded her of fields before they were cultivated, when every hillock or hole was a home...
  • The polenta was a cauldron of summer, vibrantly gold against the black of the pot.
... and the simple pleasures of cooking & eating:
  • When the pieces of onion began to disappear into the butter, Lillian quickly added the ginger, a new smell, part kiss, part playful slap...
  • The flavour opened like a flower across his tongue, soft and sweet.
Each chapter is a self-contained short story about a particular student in the cooking class, so if you don't have time to read the whole book, a segment or two might still inspire you in the kitchen.

No comments: