Just two books this week as I've still some catching up to do from the previous library run.
The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister
Reminiscent of Chocolat and Like Water for Chocolate, a gorgeously written novel about life, love, and the magic of food.Nature Writings: The Story of My Boyhood and Youth; My First Summer in the Sierra; The Mountains of California; Stickeen; Essays by John Muir
The School of Essential Ingredients follows the lives of eight students who gather in Lillian's Restaurant every Monday night for cooking class. It soon becomes clear, however, that each one seeks a recipe for something beyond the kitchen. Students include Claire, a young mother struggling with the demands of her family; Antonia, an Italian kitchen designer learning to adapt to life in America; and Tom, a widower mourning the loss of his wife to breast cancer. Chef Lillian, a woman whose connection with food is both soulful and exacting, helps them to create dishes whose flavor and techniques expand beyond the restaurant and into the secret corners of her students' lives. One by one the students are transformed by the aromas, flavors, and textures of Lillian's food, including a white-on-white cake that prompts wistful reflections on the sweet fragility of love and a peppery heirloom tomato sauce that seems to spark one romance but end another. Brought together by the power of food and companionship, the lives of the characters mingle and intertwine, united by the revealing nature of what can be created in the kitchen.
After a short one-day trip to Yosemite (it was too hot, too crowded and the management fires carried out by the park made everything, especially photos, too smoky), I decided that I'd like to (i) return in either spring or fall, and (ii) read something by John Muir. I reckon this is a good start.
I'll leave you with the link to more Library Loot and one of my favourite pictures from our little roadtrip!In a lifetime of exploration, writing, and passionate political activism, John Muir made himself America's most eloquent spokesman for the mystery and majesty of the wilderness. A crucial figure in the creation of our national parks system and a visionary prophet of environmental awareness, he was also a master of natural description who evoked with unique power and intimacy the untrammeled landscapes of the American West. Nature Writings collects his most significant and best-loved works in a single volume. The Story of My Boyhood and Youth (1913) is Muir's account of growing up by the sea in Scotland, of coming to America with his family at age eleven, and of his early fascination with the natural world. My First Summer in the Sierra (1911) is his famous account of the spiritual awakening he experienced when, 1869, he first encountered the mountains and valleys of central California. The Mountains of California (1894) draws on half a lifetime of exploration of the high Sierra country to celebrate and evoke the region's lakes, forests, flowers, and animals in a masterpiece of observation and poetic description. Also included are the widely popular "Stickeen" (1909), Muir's affectionate story of an adventure with a dog in Alaska, and a rich selection of essays - including "Yosemite Glaciers", "God's First Temples", "Snow-Storm on Mount Shasta", "The American Forests", and the late appeal "Save the Redwoods" - highlighting various aspects of his career: his exploration of what became Yosemite and Yellowstone national parks and the Grand Canyon, his successful crusades to preserve the wilderness, his early walking tour to Florida, and the Alaska journey of 1879.