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The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister

The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister (January 2013) picks up where her earlier novel, The School of Essential Ingredients (Check out my review tomorrow), left off — revisiting with Lillian, Chloe, Isabelle, and Tom.  Bauermeister also brings in some new characters as well as she leads readers on a journey of human interaction and family.  In many ways, recipes still play a role here as they did in the first book, though the imagery and word choices here are less about ingredients and cooking than they are about nature and the people themselves.  Isabelle plays a more integral role here than she did in the last book as a mother to grown children concerned about their new role as caregivers and to her wayward roommate, Chloe.  She’s also a motherly figure to Lillian when she finds herself in uncharted waters.

“For all the glamour of restaurants, the underlying secret of the successful ones was their ability to magically repurpose ingredients, a culinary sleight of hand that kept them financially afloat and would have made any depression-era housewife proud.”  (page 3 ARC)

Bauermeister expands on her early work and how food and emotions are closely tied to one another, looking deeper into her recipe to the ingredients and how they blend together or are mixed.  When a recipe is created, are the essential ingredients lost in one another or do they merely bring out the best elements of one another to create something luminous?  Isabelle’s memory loss highlights the mixing element further in terms of how memories are mixed in our minds with scents and seemingly innocuous objects, but the recall of those memories in those moments when scents and objects are present is all at once disconcerting, phenomenal, and joyous.

Bauermeister has created another set of deep characters with nuanced personalities and places them in unusual situations that are all at once odd and plausible, and readers will be swept up in the relationships within these pages and how the characters mingle and mesh with one another in different ways.  Whether a chance meeting when returning a lost coat or a rushed moment in the accountant’s office, lives are touched and changed.  The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister examines the relationships we have, the ways in which we perceive them and ourselves, and how an outside perspective can improve our interactions with those we think we know the best and are closet to, creating even deeper connections than we thought possible.

About the Author:

ERICA BAUERMEISTER is the author of The School of Essential Ingredients and Joy for Beginners. She lives in Seattle with her family. Check out her Facebook page.

Also look for a giveaway and interview in January when the book is released.