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The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks Paperback – September 25, 2012
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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.
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I was fascinated by this book. The theories on how America became a boxed food nation, how easy it is to make the REAL version of the boxed/bagged foods, etc. kept me up reading into the wee hours. I was tagging the recipes I wanted to try in a book that was reading like a novel/memoir. It’s SO GOOD. I think it should be required reading for students who are about to embark on the real world. Also, for the love of God, our country needs to bring home education back to high schools. Robert and I were debating on this (he thinks a shop class would be more important, of course, because he’s a boy!), so I want to hear that you think!
This book was life-changing! I can't believe I'd never read it, and turns out that I accidentally own all of Flinn's books and hadn't even realized it! Pictured above is a Thai salmon dish I was inspired to create based on the author's little flavor cheat sheet at the back of the book. I'm not one for food documentaries because I know I wouldn't be able to sleep a wink ever! But this book opened my eyes to how I shop, and how I can be so wasteful without even realizing it! She also made me sheepishly realize how many things I buy already made, when I can make them very simply at home for a fraction of the cost. I'm inspired, and I don't think I can just go back to how I was doing things before, just like the students of her Kitchen Counter Cooking School. Highly recommend!
My real puzzle about this book, though, is what it is intended to do. Michael Ruhlman comes to mind as an author who wrote about cooking school and then went on to write books explaining how to cook. This book goes partway there, describing the author's foray into teaching cooking skills. But even though it includes recipes and advice, it is not detailed enough (no drawings, for instance) for a culinary novice to learn from it alone. Certainly the 9 students she describes leading in class gained confidence and skills, but I doubt they would have found the same success if just handed this book instead.
If you are a person that doesn't know how to cook or thinks you have to buy a bottle to get a sauce you like and cooking is a lot of hard work, please buy this book. If you are someone who wants to teach another person how to cook, buy this book. Cooking from scratch is not hard and not expensive, and being healthier is not an impossible expensive dream. No one needs all the nasty chemicals that pre-made foods contain.
You can enjoy yourself in the kitchen, and impress your friends and maybe even your MIL. ;)