I just finished reading THE KITCHEN COUNTER COOKING SCHOOL. I found it to be an excellent resource and learned a lot about myself and cooking style.
The book was inspired when author, Kathleen Flinn, encountered a woman at the supermarket, loading up on processed foods. Taking a leap of faith, Flinn persuaded the woman to abandon her overpriced convenience food for fresher alternatives and gave her a few simple recipes for easy meals. She realized what the woman lacked was simply the basic knowledge and confidence to be a home cook; she had found a new calling. Flinn, a Le Cordon Blue graduate and author of The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry, uses her recent culinary training to teach a group of nine culinary novices to find their inner cook. Flinn visits each of the students kitchens, takes inventory of refrigerators, cabinets and eating habits and then does a “make over”. Through a series of lessons these students wield knives, trust their taste, improve food choices and discover confidence.
Through The Kitchen Counter Cooking School we join Flinn in following these women on their journey where, along with them, the reader learns healthy, practical tips to build culinary confidence, create simple recipes and make the most of their grocery shopping.
While, not a novel, I did enjoy this book and found it humorous while offering real life, easy to implement guidance to making life healthier, more fun, cheaper and dare I say, easier.
My favorite chapter is UDDER CONFUSION, starting on page 152, the lesson focuses on meat. There is humor here. “When It Comes to Meat. It’s Worth Knowing Your Butt from Your Round.” I could relate. I’ve been in the grocery store looking at meat wondering if when I got it home was it going to be tender to was my husband going to complain it was tough or gristle-laden. This chapter answered my questions and gave me insight. When the class starts to drone out, I was yawning along and then the class instructor started using her own body to depict the pieces of beef. It was hilarious fun and left a lasting impression.
If you have a relationship with food this book can only improve that foundation. It’s a book for all skill levels of cooks and has some easy, yet elegant recipes by the author. The recipe on page 237 for Easy Chicken Stock is close to the one I use, which made me feel accomplished.
This book has a trailer that shows the humor and lessons.
There’s a lot to be learned through the lessons. Some that are featured are Learn Knife Skills, a vinaigrette lesson and how to make Pasta Pomodoro.
PRAISE FOR THE KITCHEN COUNTER COOKING SCHOOL
“The author’s humble approach is inviting and shows why her students were enthusiastic.”
—Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“Flinn guides you patiently in the kitchen like the mom you always wish you’d had to learn to cook from…the women gained confidence under Flinn’s wonderfully encouraging tutelage, and fearlessly faced their kitchens and grocery stores with useful knowledge.”
“This could be the most important book you’ll ever read.”
“Many people want to improve the way Americans eat. But few are as brave and open-minded as Kathleen Flinn, who entered the kitchens of nine strangers and took the time to understand how they think about food before changing their cooking forever.”
—Amanda Hesser, cofounder of food52.com and author of The Essential New York Times Cookbook
“A life-changing book—entertaining, inspiring, and deeply educational.”
—Erica Bauermeister, author of The School for Essential Ingredients and Joy for Beginners
“A funny, entertaining, thoroughly engrossing book about one of our country’s most serious problems . . . get ready to be inspired—and to eat well along the way.”
—Molly Wizenberg, founder of Orangette.com, and author of A Homemade Life
ABOUT THE BOOK
Everyone has a different relationship with food, but many Americans can relate to “I just don’t have time to cook,” “I don’t know what to do with what I already have in the kitchen,” and “My vegetables go bad before I can use them.” THE KITCHEN COUNTER COOKING SCHOOL will inspire readers to stop being afraid of the kitchen and never again want to buy pasta in a box that is meant to “approximate” the flavor of pasta tossed in a bit of olive oil and parmesan cheese that, in fact, contains 28 ingredients, most of them fats and preservatives. It’s a stirring, practical and humorous book that includes many easy recipes to get readers cooking and strategies to get the most for your dollar.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kathleen Flinn has been a writer and journalist for twenty years. Her first book was a finalist in the Washington State Book Awards, and she serves on the board of directors of the International Association of Culinary Professionals. She lives in Seattle.
*I received a copy of The Kitchen Counter Cooking School to facilitate an honest review. The opinions where expressed are my own and were in no way influenced by the sponsor. Others experiences may vary.