Julie Davis's Reviews > The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn
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Oct 11, 12

Read from October 09 to 11, 2012

I was captivated by the book's beginning in which Kathleen Flinn tells about becoming interested in a woman and daughter grocery shopping. Fascinated by the prepackaged and "mix" foods in her cart, she began stalking them and eventually wound up helping them replace all the highly processed meals with the ingredients for homemade. Key to this was scribbling recipes and simple instructions. This encounter led to Flinn's epiphany that there is a generation of women (and people in general, actually) who don't have the first idea of how to cook. Never taught to cook by their parents, they are equally ignorant of nutrition. Flinn selected 10 worthy candidates and began her Kitchen Counter Cooking School to educate not only them as cooks but also herself in the ways of how to communicate simple kitchen knowledge.

I would find the beginning hokey except that I know one young woman who is in exactly these straits, never having been taught to cook and now having a family to feed. After getting over my own surprise, I have begun showing her a few techniques and recipes. This book is for those who have no one to do the same for them.

I didn't really care about the chapters where Flinn broke away from the school to tell about a stint cooking for a cruise or putting on a series of dinners to raise money for the school. They distracted from the point of the book for me. I'm glad that she has a good marriage and it is nice that her husband finds it sexy that she bounces up and down in her chair when the black truffle risotto is served. However, I don't care. These chapters seemed as if they belonged in a different book. However, they are easy to skim and others, perhaps, may have enjoyed them much more than I did. They cost the book a star through.

Overall, The Kitchen Counter Cooking School is well written and enjoyable, as well as carrying strands of information about food processing and eating habits in the U.S. today. It is also thought provoking, no matter your level of ability in the kitchen. None of us is above reproach. The author herself is prompted to do self-examination of her own habits and realizes that she wastes a lot of food. Likewise, I was reminded of the same thing (we know and then we forget, such is the pattern of life, non?). I will be examining my cupboards for aged supplies and my refrigerator for items that can be used before I wind up following my pattern of tossing them out in a week, withered and soft.

Definitely recommended.

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Reading Progress

10/09/2012 page 65

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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CatholicBibliophagist I just read this, and once I started I couldn't put it down. I've been cooking since I was a kid. When I was 15, I fed a family of 10 every day because my mom was unwell. So reading about these women who not only didn't know how to cook, but were afraid of real cooking, was a fascinating eye-opener.

What I liked best about this book was that before she began her classes, the author first analyzed what her students didn't know. Then she taught them about techniques such as cutting with a good knife and how to taste things. After learning to make one basic salad dressing or roast chicken, they also were able to cook variations on the original recipe. She also showed them that it was not only possible but downright easy to make dishes (such as pasta in Alfredo sauce) that they were convinced could only come out of a box. And it was so much tastier!

Julie Davis Agreed! I also liked her follow-ups with each where no one was doing the "perfect" cooking ideal but adapting it as they wished ... and the author was saying to herself after each, "And that's ok ..."

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