Saturday, December 1, 2012

TLC Book Review - The Lost Art of MIxing

The Lost Art of Mixing by Erica Bauermeister
Penguin, 2013

Format? oversized paperback ARC
Source? the publisher via TLC Book Tours
**FTC Disclosure - I received a review copy of The Lost Art of Mixing from the publisher via TLC Book Tours.  However, all opinions and comments below are my own.

Title? I believe the title is a play on words about the mixing of people and how are lives are made up of those we choose as well as those we're born with...and how sometimes the mix is even better than any of the ingredients by themselves.  The idea of mixing as an art, rather than just a haphazard grouping of people by chance, I think is perfect for Bauermeister's characters.

Cover? Tom looks in the window at one point during the does Finnegan, and each sees the life inside of the restaurant.  The warmth of the wood and the feel of Italy on the cover of my ARC makes me want to read the book.

Why? I've had The School of Essential Ingredients on my TBR shelf for over a year...When the opportunity arrived to read The Lost Art of Mixing for TLC Book Tours, I jumped at the chance to read both it and its predecessor.  

What Now? I didn't like The Lost Art of Mixing as much as The School of Essential Ingredients, but I'm anxious to read Joy for Beginners.

Golden Lines

Memories turned into recipes, recipes turned into stories (57).

Lillian's love for her kitchen was the radiant gratitude of an artist for a space where imagination moves without obstacles, the small, quiet happiness of finding a home, even if the other people in it are passing through - maybe even a bit because of that (68).

Lillian knew that time was the only real solution for grief, but the loss of her mother had also taught her that unlimited lengths of time were nothing to be counted on (88).

The similarities between Charlie and Lillian were obvious --- their mutual love of food, the way they changed others' lives through the simple act of feeding them.  But where Charlie had been the warmth of sun on a beach, Lillian was more like fall, loss and bounty brought together (192).


In the follow-up to The School of Essential Ingredients, Lillian, Chloe, Isabelle, Tom, Al, Louise, and Finnegan's lives intertwine and sometimes intersect.  They don't all know each other, even those who do know each other don't always know each other well, and they certainly don't all realize how their lives affect one another.  Each is dealt cards that he/she must live with and adjust to while also living their lives as honestly and as purposefully as possible.  

What I Liked

Reconnecting with some of the characters from The School of Essential Ingredients - especially Lillian and Tom's story...their story was, for me, the one that kept me going.  

Chapters that switch points of view - I like characters and I think in a book like this where the plot is about how these characters interact with one another...or not, it's very effective to give each his/her own voice.  I even was interested in the chapters/sections on Louise and Al even though they were the least likeable characters for me.

The connections, the near misses of the characters' lives - I swear I could not help thinking about the "6 degrees of separation" game.

The theme of customs and rituals...from illness to marking a milestone birthday, numbers, etc.  While food still plays a major role in The Lost Art of Mixing, the traditions of life 

What I Didn't Like

Al and Louise - their story seemed so out of place to me...seriously, at the beginning I was afraid Al would turn out to be a weirdo...and then, once I met Louise, I realized exactly why he had issues on top of issues.  Of course, she also brought her issues to the table and WHAM, you've got a pretty impossible situation.  Given the overall positive vibe from The School of Essential Ingredients, I didn't expect this negative picture.

Louise - a seriously unlikeable character for me...I never liked her...ever...even at the end where there might possibly be a chance.

Abbey - I wanted to slap her and tell her to chill out.  Good grief...Isabelle's diagnosis was sad enough as it was without Abbey (the doctor) treating her own mother as an item on her to-do list.

Overall Recommendations

Anyone who likes to read about food, people's histories and how those histories make them who they are, including how they react with others will like this book.  The Lost Art of Mixing isn't exactly the same as The School of Essential Ingredients though, and I think it's important for readers not to expect that same "warm fuzzy feeling."

The Author

Other Stops on the TLC Book Tour

Friday, November 2nd:  Life in the Thumb
Monday, November 5th:  She is Too Fond of Books – Spotlight on Bookstores guest post
Monday, November 5th:  Savvy Verse and Wit
Tuesday, November 6th:  Stephanie’s Written World
Wednesday, November 7th:  Book Chatter
Thursday, November 8th:  Books and Movies
Friday, November 9th:  Book Club Classics!
Monday, November 12th:  Peeking Between the Pages
Tuesday, November 13th:  girlichef
Wednesday, November 14th:  Library of Clean Reads
Thursday, November 15th:  2 Kids and Tired
Friday, November 16th:  Adventures of an Intrepid Reader
Monday, November 19th:  WV Stitcher
Tuesday, November 20th:  Joyfully Retired
Wednesday, November 21st:  Silver and Grace
Friday, November 23rd:  A Chick Who Reads
Monday, November 26th:  Diary of an Eccentric
Tuesday, November 27th:  Mom in Love with Fiction
Wednesday, November 28th:  Book Dilettante
Thursday, November 29th:  Southern Girl Reads
Friday, November 30th:  Peppermint Ph.D.
Monday, December 3rd:  Just Joanna
Tuesday, December 4th:  No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, December 5th:  HopefulLeigh
Thursday, December 6th:  Sidewalk Shoes
Friday, December 7th:  Book Addiction


  1. Ok. Awesome review. I agree with so much of what you wrote. I loved, loved, loved School of Essential Ingredients. I really liked Lost Art of Mixing, but not as much. I loved Isabelle's story and how it really all mixed around her: the remembrances of the past blending with the future.

    Louise and Abby were the ones I didn't like at all. And, I hadn't realized it, but Louise and Al really did bring an unwelcome negativity to the story that really never seemed to fit either. Joy for Beginners was my introduction to Erica Bauermeister and I really liked it.

    2 Kids and Tired Books

    1. I haven't posted my review of School of Essential Ingredients yet, but when I do, it will be one of those gushing reviews. I so loved it! I loved Isabelle's story too, except that it made me sad so many times. I wanted to slap Abbey...and I could have done without Louise completely. I'm sure there was some kind of imagery meant with the going to the bookstore thing...but I never got the importance of it :/

    2. I know what you mean about Louise. I just didn't get her. The bookstore thing was ok, but the addition of Al and Louise on the whole was out of place. I didn't see how they really mattered to the story. And Abby deserved a big slap. Seriously. What an unlikeable character!

  2. Who DOESN'T like to read about good food?! :)

    Thanks for being on the tour.

    1. The kitchen scenes are my favorites for sure!! :) Thanks for having me, Heather! :)

  3. I can't wait to read or listen to this one -- I loved her 2 earlier books . This one Sounds good!

    1. I'm going to read Joy for Beginners over the holiday :) Glad I finally got around to reading her! :)

  4. I liked Al and Louise. I felt that Isabel's thread sort of took over everything but I wanted to know a bit more about Louise.