A gorgeously written first novel
about the evocative lessons
that food can teach about life.
Each chapter reveals the background of a different student. The reader gets to know them and discover what led them to take a cooking class. Their reasons are as varied as they are. A widower is grieving his loss, a young waitress lacks confidence and a woman is experiencing the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. They all are learning from Lillian. As their lessons progress they come to understand the whole experience. They delight in the colors and textures, savor the aromas and flavors, and are transformed in their personal lives in ways they never imagined.
I wasn't sure if I would like a book about food and cooking but it only took one page for me to fall under it's spell. Erica Bauermeister creates beauty with her words. The imagery is vivid and sensual. I could feel her creations and how she connects the whole experience with other aspects of life. In the first paragraph she describes Lillian as;
a watcher from the shore of her mother's ocean.
And at the end of the first chapter she supplies this description of a simple apple;
"It feels like fall", she commented, and bit into it. The sharp, sweet sound of the crunch filled the air like a sudden burst of applause and Lillian laughed at the noise.
So simple, so beautiful. I recommend this book to everyone. Enjoy.
Thank you to Shelf Awareness and Putnam for providing an advance copy of this book.