The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn

Title:  The Kitchen Counter Cooking School – How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks

Author:  Kathleen Flinn

Genre:  Cooking; Memoir

Published:  September 2011 – Viking

About: (back of arc) 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 ultra processed foods. Flinn’s “chefternal” instinct kicked in: she persuaded the stranger to reload with fresh foods, offering her simple recipes for healthy, easy meals.

Inspired, Flinn rounded up nine novices from varying backgrounds who were insecure about their cooking skills. After kitchen “makeovers” and a series of basic cooking lessons where they learned to wield knives, trust their taste, and improve their food choices, the women found a common missing ingredient – confidence.

My take:  I wish I’d had this book when my kids were young. I think I would have made more informed choices instead of opting for convenience. My food choices have been better over the years but there’s still room for improvement. This book is going on my kitchen bookshelf for quick reference. I’m also going to search out a knife skills class in my area. That seems to be the one aspect that all nine students valued most. It gave them confidence. Flinn explains what to look for in a chef’s knife: how it’s made, how it should feel in your hand, etc.

There are basic recipes scattered throughout the book and I plan to try most of them. After reading about specific lessons I feel like I can braise meats, make soups, sauces, vinaigrettes, and cut up or roast a whole chicken. Seriously, I have never roasted a whole chicken – but I will now! That’s a testament to The Kitchen Counter Cooking School – it made me feel like I could do this.

A few months after the classes ended Flinn visited the students to see how they were doing in terms of making changes in their cooking. It was interesting to see how they incorporated what they’d learned into their lives.

I recommend this book to fans of cooking, memoirs, and anyone who needs inspiration to make positive changes in the kitchen as well as the grocery store.

Source:  Viking via Goodreads First Reads

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18 thoughts on “The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn

  1. Oh very cool! I am NOT much of a cook but I’ve been interested in,you know, becoming one. My boys ARE still young so I guess I should get on that before it’s too late, right? :O)


  2. I am trying to make some big changes in my cooking style and just know this book will be helpful. I had downloaded it to me Kindle but I’m thinking a regular book might be better. We’ll see. Thanks for giving your thoughts on it.


  3. Great review. Cooking is definitely not my strong point – I’m very lucky that my husband loves to cook. He never uses recipes and ends up making these amazing meals. I give it a go every one in a while, but definitely lack the confidence that is needed. I am definitely going to be picking this book up!


  4. I have to get this book. I’ve been seeing a lot of nice reviews. I enjoy cooking (as long as I get help with the clean-up) and am always looking to improve my skills.


  5. It sounds lovely, and i am sure I would enjoy it 😀
    I do like cooking, but overly complicated recipes, and ingredients that you have to hunt down annoy me. Makes me unsure


    • YOU are the perfect reader for this book! It’s one of the things I liked: nothing seemed too complicated. I wonder if you can find it in Finland?


  6. I think it’s sort of funny that she accosted someone in the shopping store and told them what to buy, but I bet she did it in a very nice way. I might like this book because even though I know some of these things, I love foodie books, and anything that can yield a tip to me is welcome. This was a wonderful review, and I am glad that you enjoyed it!


  7. I love anything to do with cooking; I became much more interested during a long period of unemployment, where I FINALLY figured out the value of a good chef’s knife and good pots and pans. This one is definitely going on my to-buy list!


  8. I’m reading this book right now and I love it!! I had knife skills but those didn’t do me much good when I kept making frozen pizzas and recipes with cream of soup all the time.

    I’m actually anxious to try real cooking again!

    I like your review…it seems you were as charmed by this book as I am so far! 🙂


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