Book Reviews, Contests / Giveaways

An ErinCooks Contest: Win a Copy of The School of Essential Ingredients

The School of Essential IngredientsHappy second day of summer! I don’t know about you but I’m a huge fan of summer reading lists. Not that we’re having much of a summer yet in New England but I fully intend to spend some quality time at the beach slathered in sunscreen and surrounded by a stack of good books, waiting for their brand new covers to be cracked open for the first time, just as soon as the sun decides to come back out. In the meantime, one of the best foodie stories I’ve enjoyed in quite some time has been named as an NPR recommended summer read and the author, Erica Bauermeister, contacted me to see if I would like to giveaway a copy of her novel on the blog. Well of course I do!

To win a copy of The School of Essential Ingredients all you have to do is leave a comment on this post.

In addition, If you share a link to this contest on your own blog, Twitter, Facebook etc… you may have one additional entry for a total of two possible chances to win. If you choose this option please leave a link to your shout out as your second comment. A winner will be selected via the nifty random number generator this Friday, June 26th at 8:00 PM EST and then I’ll promptly arrange to have the book shipped to your home.

Curious as to what the book is about? Below is my review re-posted from the original entry back in February:

Once a month an eclectic group of strangers meet in the kitchen of Lillian’s restaurant to participate in The School of Essential Ingredients. Shy and cautious at first they soon build a supportive rapport with one another, and under Lillian’s intuitive culinary tutelage blossom and grow in ways they never imagined possible.

Each chapter reveals a single participant’s story. Joy, heartache, personal failure, and successes are lovingly interwoven into the larger context of the cooking class. Some of the character’s you’ll meet inside Lillian’s kitchen include: Claire, a young woman struggling with balancing her personal identity with that of being a wife and mother; Tom, who is recovering from a seemingly insurmountable loss; Chloe, a shy and clumsy teenager desperately in need of a confidence boost; and Carl and Helen who have been married for decades, but harbor painful secrets from one another.

Erica Bauermeister’s ability to write about the human emotional connection with food is outstanding. Reading about the luscious dishes being created in class made me crave everything from roast crab to white cake. Of late, it has become popular for many books with a culinary slant to include recipes. However, as Lillian does not use recipes and encourages her students to feel, taste, and judge the timing and texture of their cooking on their own, the reader is only granted the same level of access. I definitely found myself repeatedly hoping that I’ll be able to recreate the elegant food so sensually described in the story, while also wishing that I could be a part of this amazing and personally transformative class. Where do I sign up?