Aren't there certain books that you finish reading and think, I wish all writers would do it more like this. Not that you wanted the book to be a hundred pages longer, because it felt pretty perfect as is. And not that you even want to re-read it right away. You simply feel as though you've met an author who possesses a magic wand for words and has used that wand to write about all the things that matter most. The essential things: Food. Love. Relationships. Forgiveness. Second Chances.
The School of Essential Ingredients reads as a collection of short stories, although all of the characters are connected in that they are classmates in an evening cooking school. Some of the characters are grieving. Some are trying to find out who they are. And some are trying to understand how the idea of being in love can fit into the daily grind of real life disappointment and responsibility.
When my friend Alison lent me this book she described it by saying, It's incredibly sensual. Not in the "his hand slipped up her thigh" definition of sensual (those are my words not Alison's), but more in the descriptive nature of the book. The author's writing makes you feel as though you are hungry, tired, or in love. But here is a stern warning: before you read this book you should probably go to the grocery store and buy the ingredients for a homemade apple pie, or maybe roasted chicken with homemade gravy. And even if you aren't much of a cook this book will make you wish you were. The stories cast a spell over the readers,showing them how the touching, rolling, peeling, chopping and preparing of food can relate to all the other avenues of one's personal life.
If I were you, I would find a copy of this book, curl onto the couch with some salty dark chocolate or a bright red apple, and sail away.