I recently read Erica Bauermeister’s The Monday Night Cooking School (the book is also published under the title The School of Essential Ingredients). It’s a charming book – essentially linked short stories about eight people who meet at a cooking class.
I’m not going to attempt a ‘traditional’ review of this book (at last count, 2,443 people on Goodreads have already done that). Instead, given that I read this book as part of the Foodies Reading Challenge, I thought that a list of the dishes described in the book was far more thrilling – without question, food is the star of the The Monday Night Cooking School. Some of these dishes are described in greater detail than others but all are important to the stories (especially plain, steamed rice for Ian, whose story I enjoyed the most).
Crab with buttery white wine and lemon sauce
Tortelini with butter and sage
Roasted chicken with lemon and rosemary
Stuffed turkey breast with rosemary, cranberries and pancetta
Polenta with gorgonzola
Green beans with lemon and pine nuts
Tortillas with salsa
Spring salad of baby lettuce leaves, dried cranberries, almonds and pear
Salmon served on white cannellini beans with crisp sage
Chicken stir-fried with ginger and broccoli
Finally, there were lots of delicious quotes I could have pulled from this book but my favourite was this –
“Kneading dough is like swimming or walking – it keeps part of your mind busy and allows the rest of your mind to go where it wants or needs to.”
3/5 Gentle, sweet and lingering.
So much food packed into 200-odd pages! As much as I love pumpkin ravioli (with a butter and sage sauce, please), I’m pairing this book with asparagus risotto. I live for asparagus.