THE LOST ART OF MIXING
PROLOGUELillian stood at the restaurant kitchen counter, considering the empty expanse in front of her. It was a Monday morning at the end of December and the restaurant held the calm that occurred only after the onslaught of holiday feasts, the culmination of a culinary season that began in the fall. In those months of ever shorter days, sometimes the only ingredients Lillian’s customers could be bothered to take from their own kitchen cabinets were boxes of macaroni and cheese, bread for toast, and the restaurant provided both memory and inspiration—golden half-globes of squash awash in butter, a lamb shank braised with the patience it would take to get through winter. After the exhilaration that was summer in the Pacific Northwest, autumn was like the sigh of an adolescent who realizes he must indeed grow up. It was Lillian’s job to remind the people who sat at her tables that being an adult, the passing of a season or a year, was about more than just being older.
Still, Lillian thought, sometimes it was nice to be in the hush of an empty kitchen, without the heat of the ovens, the extra bodies of prep cooks and,dishwashers and bussers and servers. This was what fed her—this moment of stillness, the long, cool stretch of the counters and the give of the thick rubber mat beneath her feet.
She decided she’d make a chowder, something simple and nourishing to take for her end-of-the-year appointment with Al, her accountant. Al wasn’t quite old enough to be her father, but in many respects he had acted as one for her—a steady hand and mind when she was first opening the restaurant and a dispenser of reliable advice in the eight years since. Their non financial conversations revolved mainly around food; Lillian didn’t know too much about Al’s wife, and his silence regarding children led her to believe there were none. Al always seemed happiest when he was sitting at a table in the restaurant, or eating the lunches she brought to their appointments in his office. It was a small thing she could give him in return for all his insights, and she was glad to do it. More here.
I love Erica Bauermeister's work. This new book is great. It continues the story of some of the characters from The School of Essential Ingredients. We get read more about Lillian, Tom, Chloe and Isabelle. There are some new characters like Finnegan and Al. This is another exceptional character based read!