On Monday nights, over a period of weeks, Lillian gives cooking lessons to small groups. Lillian is a renowned chef who has her own restaurant, and her classes are popular. As the story opens, a new class is starting and we meet the eight students as they meet each other. Over the course of the book, each chapter combines the preparation of a meal with the story of one of the characters.
Each of the characters brings their own struggles, disappointments and joys to the kitchen. Each of the students is transformed by their learning and, as they learn to appreciate the aromas, flavours and textures of what they are preparing, they each learn quite a lot about themselves.
I enjoyed this novel. The character sketches and the food preparation combine in a delightful way. Sometimes the character's stories are connected and seem complete, sometimes they are not. Some of the stories hint at a hopeful future, others are less clear. Each of the stories is interesting, each of the characters vividly drawn. And yes, cooking is also thinking about other people.