A book review of something other than a recipe book (without an Altered recipe from me) is pretty far afield for this blog, but I had to share this book with you. It is truly one of the best books I've ever read. Of course it helps that the novel is primarily focused on food and the relationships the students of a very interesting cooking class have with food.
It's honest without being overly sentimental, especially when tackling some pretty tough topics like marital infidelity and fatal disease. And, it's hopeful in a realistic way. The author, Erica Bauermeister, writes about food very lovingly -- she makes me want to set up shop in my kitchen and bake for days. She also makes me wish that I could take the cooking class with that wonderful chef.
More than anything else, reading well-crafted novels, like Ms. Bauermeister's makes me think much more about improving my writing -- really thinking about how I turn a phrase. She handles imagery in ways that remind me of how painters hold things and look at them from every angle, seeing the way the light moves around and on them. I felt like reading this book was a luxury -- especially now that I'm back in school and time is truly at a premium. But it wasn't just the time factor.
The word luscious has many different meanings, but one in particular deals with the "richly luxurious" elements of life. All that to say, reading The School of Essential Ingredients was a luscious experience for me.
Next week, it's back to altering recipes for agave nectar, per usual. Hope you're having an exceptional February.