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The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 4, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Flinn's engaging account of her studies at famed French cooking school Le Cordon Bleu should strike a chord with anyone who has dreamed of leaving the rat race and following a passion for food. The main course, Flinn's narrative of her trials and triumphs as she moves through the three levels of cuisine, is supplemented by plentiful helpings of drama, romance and near-tragedy in her personal life. Cassandra Campbell's reading is superlative: her American accent for Flinn slides gracefully into French, French-accented English and various accents for other international students. Her voice also exactly captures Flinn's shifting emotions, from fear and paralysis when facing the "Gray Chef" and resentment of selfish classmates, to pleasure when she wins praise for a well-prepared sauce and joy when she realizes she is starting to understand French better. Foodies and memoir fans will be enchanted. Each chapter ends with a recipe (which all helpfully appear in PDF on a separate disc). Simultaneous release with the Viking hardcover (Reviews, June 25).
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

“I can never get enough of true stories about people who stop in the middle of their life's journey to ask, ‘What do I really want?' and then have the guts to actually go get it. Kathleen Flinn's tale of chasing her ultimate dream makes for a really lovely book— engaging, intelligent and surprisingly suspenseful.”
—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry is an engaging story about a fantasy fulfilled. It's Under the Tuscan Sun goes to cooking school.”
—Michael Ruhlman, author of The Soul of a Chef

“Although I can't cook my way out of a sac de papier, I found this book a joy to read. It's is a compelling story about learning to cook and learning to love at the same time, told with humility, humor and passion.”
—Bill Radke, host of public radio's Weekend America

“Kat Flynn’s vivid story of her adventures at Le Cordon Bleu Paris had me smiling page after page. It's about what you should always think about in the pressure behind a hot stove – the pure romance of cooking.”
—Jerry Traunfeld, author of The Herbfarm Cookbook and The Herbal Kitchen
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (October 4, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670018228
  • ASIN: B001CJVYIU
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (126 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,726,307 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kathleen Flinn is best known as the author of the New York Times bestseller "The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry," a memoir with recipes about leaving her corporate life to study at the venerable Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and falling in love along the way. Her acclaimed follow-up, "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices Into Fearless Home Cooks" (Viking/Penguin 2011) was named a 2012 Book of the Year by the American Society of Journalists & Authors.

Her latest book, "Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good" (August 2014, Viking/Penguin), is a multi-generational culinary memoir that tracks the trials of her Midwest family. That title was named a 2015 Michigan Notable Book, and a finalist in the IACP Cookbook Awards, Goodreads Choice Awards and the Pacific Northwest Book Awards, among others.

Flinn and her books have been featured in dozens of media outlets, including People, Elle, Good Housekeeping, The Wall Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor, CBS This Morning and Bon Appetit. She is at work on two books, one fiction and one-fiction, and teaches both cooking and food writing around the country. She serves on the board of trustees for The Culinary Trust, a national 5013C non-profit co-founded by Julia Child.

She and her husband, Mike, divide their time between Seattle and Anna Maria Island, Fla., their trusty rescue dog, Maddy, in tow.

Customer Reviews

If you love Paris and you love to cook, this book is for you.
New York Foodie
This is brilliant situation to be in a position to write a book about, but I found the author so down on everybody and politly critical that I just lost interest.
sherri
The book is very entertaining and you get some great recipes as well.
Steve Cilenti

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By L. Gasparro on January 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While reading this book I had the ultimate thrill of reliving my own amazing experience as a culinary student (and graduate) at Le Cordon Bleu, Paris! Kathleen's story was like reading a Diary I should have written of my experience at this incredible institution. Details such as how overwhelming it is in Basic Cuisine to watch a Chef cook, listen to what he says, listen to the translation, write down every detail and jump between 3 different recipies at the same time was incredibly accurate. I laughed out loud at the Chef's constantly saying 'plus sel' because I thought I was the only one who never put in enought salt! Even though she changed the names of the Chefs, it was quite simple to figure out who they actually were...the handsome Chef was in fact quite the playboy who often went after the young, pretty girls, the singing Chef was always in a good mood and even though he didn't speak much english, made up for it by hugging you and kissing you on the cheek if he liked what you did!

Kathleen's details of fish guts, skinned rabbits, screaming Chef's, furious competition amongst students and drinking after school at the local Brasserie bring you into the 'real world' of the school

I, too, took 3 months off before going thru Superior Cuisine. It was difficult when I returned becaused I did not know anyone and most people already had their 'clicks' from Basic. I did have the pleasure of having Giada DeLaurentis in my class, she was shy, quite and very serious about cooking, but then we all were by that point.

To anyone who reads this book, please know that Kathleen tells the story from her heart, with insight, accuracy and amazing detail. I loved every word of it.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Bundtlust TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry is a riveting memoir of one woman's journey through the hallowed kitchens of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Fresh from a corporate layoff in her London office, Kathleen Flinn chases her childhood dream to attend Le Cordon Bleu, encouraged by then-boyfriend Mike. Kathleen's love for cooking came as a result of necessity: after her father's early death from cancer when Kathleen was a teenager, she took over cooking for her family, eventually exploring the works of Julia Child and other cuisines. As an adult, her job in journalism allowed her to dabble in food writing and to indulge her love of restaurants, cooking, and food around the globe (including a brush with food poisoning from undercooked pig kidneys in China).

Kathleen's witty observations of Cordon Bleu demonstrations and classes are culled from 600 pages of personal notes, 120 hours of audio recordings, and selections from the 300-plus recipes in the Cordon Bleu curriculum, so readers are instantly immersed into the grueling world of elite chefdom, including less appetizing ventures such as gutting fish, removing tendons and glands from chickens and guinea fowl, beheading rabbits, and chopping live lobsters in half (this book is definitely NOT for the squeamish). However, such visions are tempered by sweeter notes, including puff pastry and delicate sauces described in detail.

Kathleen describes her new friends and classmates in detail, along with her continuing explorations of Paris and her struggles to improve her rusty French. One of the book's most touching moments involves a visit from her sister, who had planned on studying at the Sorbonne but gave up her place (and her dreams of studying in France) when their father was diagnosed with terminal cancer.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Memoir lover on October 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I've found another page-turner. I'm the sort who puts the average modern book down after forcing myself through a couple chapters (for example, I loved the Italy section of "Eat, Pray" but skipped the India section for Bali), but this book so far does not disappoint. With each page of this book, not only do I feel the author's pain (how many times can Chef make her cry? Will the new romance develop?) but there are great tips and tricks for preparing food. I can't wait to try the chicken stock recipe. Kathleen is a naturally gifted writer with a great flair for words.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Colleen M. Prisock on October 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
What's not to love?

Kathleen Flinn takes us along with her to Paris and the famed Le Cordon Bleu. The descriptions of the school, her fellow students, the Chefs and the dishes they prepare are charming. But be warned - some of the techniques and dishes are hard to stomach - such as cooking a rabbit.

The apartments, the city streets and markets, and the many people she meets enrich the story. It also gives a good view of the French and their customs. While briefly mentioned, she does talk about what it is like to be an American in Paris during Iraq. All of this is done so honestly and without agenda that it is refreshing and enlightening. I learned a lot from the Chef who gave a little history lesson with each dish he demonstrated.

This book has a quote on the jacket from the author of Eat, Pray, Love and I have seen some comparisons. Having read both books I must confess I much prefer Ms. Flinn's. She is warm, charming and open. While she is taking this great risk to follow her dream she embraces the experience and she grows and deepens. I only got 2/3 of the way thru Eat, Pray, Love because I found the author self-centered and immature. I felt she wasted her time and mine.

This book was a real treat!
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