I came thisclose to including Flinn’s latest book as part of the 31 Days of Great Nonfiction Reads series (despite already including her book The Sharper Your Knife the Less You Cry on day 19 of the series).
The only reason I decided against it is because I only just read it last month; all of the other books in the series I’ve read from at least six months earlier to many many years earlier. I was confident that they’d stand the test of time because they have; I’m still excited about them no matter how long ago it was I read them. Can I guarantee that in a year or five I’ll feel as enthusiastic about this book? No, so I skipped it and went with The Ice Master instead. None of that should take away from this book however; I really really enjoyed it.
Flinn is a trained chef, but she’s also a gifted writer, and, as is apparent from her latest book, a talented teacher.
Inspired by a random stranger’s grocery cart, Flinn ends up teaching a group of 9 kitchen-challenged students the basics of cooking. Sounds simple, but Flinn details how she works to unlock the mysteries of food and meal preparation, and the emotional component behind many seemingly straight-forward and obvious situations. The book made me appreciate how food preparation and grocery shopping doesn’t come with any baggage for me, and it’s not a power struggle in my home.
The book is very inspiring and empowering – it made me want to go to the kitchen and make a pot of soup and bake some bread to accompany it. It made me want to improve my knife skills. It made me want to get better about how I use leftovers and random bits from the fridge (my culinary nemesis). It made me want to form a cooking group to have fun and improve our cooking. It made me want to be brave in the kitchen and try something new. It made me want to have tastings of salt and mustard and pasta and other basic ingredients that I buy without thinking or wondering if another brand would just taste better.
It made me sad when I finished it, and that’s always a good sign of a great book.
The author of The Sharper Your Knife tells the inspiring story of how she helped nine others find their inner cook.
After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, writer Kathleen Flinn returned with no idea what to do next, until one day at a supermarket she watched a woman loading her cart with ultraprocessed foods. Flinn’s “chefternal” instinct kicked in: she persuaded the stranger to reload with fresh foods, offering her simple recipes for healthy, easy meals.
The Kitchen Counter Cooking School includes practical, healthy tips that boost readers’ culinary self-confidence, and strategies to get the most from their grocery dollar, and simple recipes that get readers cooking.
Title: The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks
Author: Kathleen Flinn
Category: Nonfiction / Food
My Rating: 4 Stars
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