Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Book Inspiration: The School of Essential Ingredients

"...Maybe memories are like this dessert. I eat it, and it becomes a part of me, whether I remember it later or not."
-- from The School of Essential Ingredients, by Erica Bauermeister
Welcome to another Word for Word Wednesday, and to our first ever monthly book inspiration post, in which we demonstrate how some of our favorite literary works can be catalysts for our creativity.

One of the most evocative and deliciously captivating books that I have ever had the pleasure to read is Erica Bauermeister's The School of Essential Ingredients.

This book serves up not only an amazing reading experience, but also an incredible culinary experience. An intuitive chef, Lillian, runs a cooking school, and each of her classes engages each student in some personal and meaningful way. The writing is beautiful -- delicious, lyrical, spellbinding -- and full of sentences ripe for reading. This is definitely a book you will want to savor. Every word is delectable.
"She shook the last of the water from the potatoes. The skins came off easily, like a shawl sliding off a woman's shoulders. Lillian dropped one hunk after another into a big metal bowl, then turned on the mixer and watched the chunks change from shapes to texture, mounds to lumpy clouds to cotton. Slices of butter melted in long, shining trails of yellow through the moving swirl of white. She picked up the smaller pan and slowly poured the milk into the potatoes. Then salt. Just enough."
The process of creating a meal is not so different from the process of creating a layout. The basic ingredients come together like so many tasty dishes to create quite a spread, and hopefully, a feast for the eyes and nourishment for the soul. As with cooking, "you learn with your hands." Inspired by Bauermeister's book, I reflected upon my own understanding of the "essential ingredients":

The ingredients in this layout are definitely essentials, fresh from the JBS pantry: apothecary stickers, Bingo alpha tiles, and Family Tree and Red and Black III papers.
"They'll eat it," he said, "and then it'll be gone."
"That's what makes it a gift."

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  1. Very nice page. I love how you did the seam page and idea. This is on my list of things to do when I retire...Make a recipe book like this of my family's favorite foods with pictures and all. ahhh...retirement cannot come too soon...Feb 2011.

  2. looks like perfect christmas vacation reading to me! love that cover! and your write up! and your art, of course! :)


  3. I love this book. As soon as I finished it I began it again and read all the way through for the second time. I don't think I have ever done that before. The descriptions of the food touches all of your senses and makes you so much more aware of what you are eating or cooking. Great book. Great post.