Book Reviews

Book Review: School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

I am a healer. I work in the Human Energy System to help people to return and maintain health and wellness. Energy work, such as Healing Touch, Brennan Healing Science and Reiki, fall in the realm of “Subtle” healing. By this, I mean, the makes very small and infinitesimalshifts and their life changes. For instance, “getting a new job” is a big happening. We are very aware of that. What we are not so aware of are all the little tiny shifts in thinking, attitude and actions that go into “gettting a new job”.  When I explain subtle energy healing to new clients and students, their faces offen go blank.

The other weekend, I was making a long trip. I went to my favorite library and picked up this book on CD that looking interesting and that I could complete within the travel time. There I was, last Thursday evening, after a brief appearance at business function for my husband, car was packed and gassed up, I slipped in the CD and was tooling down the highway.

From the first sentence, I was intrigued. I hated to stop the car and turn off the CD.

Can you smell the difference between peppermint and spearmint and wintergreen? Can you smell or taste the difference between Mediterranean basil and regular no name basil?

Subtle, yep. The differences are subtle (slight, delicate, faint, fine). This book is about subtle flavors and techniques used in cooking to heal the soul.


Woven around the ingredients found chopped and simmering in Lillian’s restaurant cooking class are sniplets of the stories of healing for nine people. The first story is about Lillian, the restaurant owner. She learned to cook to help heal her mother’s withdrawal after her father left when Lillian was four. To Lillian, food, the colors, textures, aromas and flavors could awaken sleeping memories, stir emotions and heal the heart. She now owns a very successful restaurant and offers a monthly Monday night cooking class. This story is around her Monday night class and 8 students all there for different reasons.


There are eight students in the class. Carl and Helen have been married forever. They have a secret that is tender to the heart. Have you ever been a young mother? Lost your identity in the process? Well, Claire is and has and finds herself among the dishes, spices, wines of the class. There is Tom, a lawyer who lost his beloved and lost himself. Then there is Antonia, who is new to America. She is an Italian kitchen designer who finds her way in America in the sweetest of ways.


Lillian has a knack for knowing how to pick the right student to help with the right dish with the right ingredients to stir deep healing.  How about a journey in baking a white on white cake, that provokes wistful thoughts of delicate love. Or how to make pasta, a garlic red sauce, choose the best wine, and find that it is the catalyst that breaks apart your relationship, setting you free.


Tuck yourself in a corner of Lillian’s kitchen, or a corner table in the restaurant. Imagine having a dark espresso with sweet textures of tiramisu. You can taste this just from listening or reading this delightful book. Erica Bauermeister is that good. Her words and descriptions make the meals, the students and the stories come vividly to life in your mind and senses.


This is a must book for students and practitioners of energy healing. Healing occurs in all situations: in the doctor’s office, on a healers table, and in the kitchen. We all would do well to remember that even a slight shift in perception, attitude, taste or activity can and will make a profound difference in one’s life.