MixingReviewed by Jennifer Jensen

A few years ago someone recommended Erica Bauermeister’s The School of Essential Ingredients to me because I was so much in love with Melissa Senate’s The Love Goddess’ Cooking School. It was only just this year that I finally made the time to read The School of Essential Ingredients in anticipation of its continuation, The Lost Art of Mixing.

In The Lost Art of Mixing, readers continue peeking into the lives of Lillian, Chloe, Isabelle, and Tom and are introduced to new characters Al, his wife Louise, and Finnegan. The story picks up between ten months and a year after the the events in The School of Essential Ingredients. It’s hard to describe any sort of plot, because there isn’t really one. Bauermeister’s books (at least for this series; she’s also written one other book, which I haven’t read) are entirely character driven, with much detail on their lives and their ways of thinking.

Instead of following the story of Lillian, the woman who teaches the cooking classes, The Lost Art of Mixing focuses on Isabelle, Al, and Louise. Isabelle is an elderly woman suffering from Alzheimer’s, and she has taken in the twenty-something Chloe. Al is Lillian’s accountant, and he and Louise have been married for decades. However, Louise suspects he is having an affair and after following him around reaches incorrect conclusions. I wasn’t a fan of any scenes in which Louise was present, and as hard as I tried to stay in tune to her parts of the story my mind kept drifting elsewhere and wishing I was finished with the entire novel.

I will say I love Bauermeister’s way with words, but unfortunately I just can’t recommend either of her cooking class books to anyone. There isn’t really a beginning, middle, or end to The Lost Art of Mixing and I was left feeling empty and disappointed. I’m certain she’ll be writing another book involving these characters since so many loose ends still remain, but I’ll be skipping it and re-reading The Love Goddess’ Cooking School instead.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

Also by Erica Bauermeister: Joy for Beginnners

Jennifer graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She occasionally dabbles with her own fiction writing, particularly with the Young Adult and Paranormal genres. She currently resides in Utah with her husband and daughter.

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Penguin Group. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.