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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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"This could be the most important book you'll ever read."
--Morgan Spurlock, Super Size Me
“…[A] terrific, inspiring book…”
-People (A People Pick, 4 stars)
"If you are going to read one book to change your diet and your life, The Kitchen Counter Cooking School is it."
"Kathleen entered the kitchens of strangers and took the time to understand how they think about food before changing their cooking forever."
--Amanda Hesser, Food 52, The Essential New York Times Cookbook
“A life-changing book--entertaining, inspiring, and deeply educational."
--Erica Bauermeister, The School for Essential Ingredients
"A funny, thoroughly engrossing book...get ready to be inspired--and to eat well along the way." --Molly Wizenberg, Orangette.com, A Homemade Life
"An engaging...book on the joys of home cooking and the teaching thereof."
-The Wall Street Journal
"The author''s humble approach is inviting and shows why her students were enthusiastic."
-Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Flinn guides you patiently in the kitchen like the mom you always wish you''d had to learn to cook from...the women gained confidence under Flinn''s wonderfully encouraging tutelage, and fearlessly faced their kitchens and grocery stores with useful knowledge."
"Flinn winningly offers inspiration to anyone who cares about cooking but lacks basic tools and skills."
"An amiable companion to cookbook stalwarts such as Mark Bittman''s How To Cook Everything, Pam Anderson''s How To Cook Without a Book, and Michael Ruhlman''s Ratio, this title provides encouragement where the others offer direction. A mash-up of inspiration and reference, it will appeal to readers who enjoy a story with their instruction."
— The Kitchen Counter Cooking School
From the Author
"I feel there is a disconnect in this country when it comes to food and cooking. On one hand, there's a culture of hero worship around celebrity chefs that fuels cooking-as-a-spectator-sport on television. At the same time, marketers worked for decades to convince people that cooking themselves isn't worth their time, and that even simple dishes fall outside their grasp. All this explains why one woman in the book told me, 'I'm ashamed to admit it, but I've eaten Tuna Helper while watching Gordon Ramsey.' It's a funny line about a serious problem. The rise of convenience food and decline of home cooking are inextricably correlated to the surge of obesity and diabetes. If people think they can't cook, they put themselves at the mercy of companies whose interests are primarily financial to feed them instead. I believe in the power of home cooking and one of my life's mission is to help people find their way off the couch and into the kitchen. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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I've always enjoyed cooking but never have felt I could do much without a recipe or prepackaged food. This book made me think about how I approach cooking and why I have this approach. My mother cooked from scratch when I was a kid. We had a garden and chickens but all of that was gone by the time I was a teenager. So I learned to cook with packaged foods and by heating up canned items. I love to follow a recipe but that is not practical to do for every dish every day. When I try to wing it I end up overwhelmed and with food that is bland or over-seasoned.
I did the salt taste test between sea salt and the iodized salt. It was amazing the difference in taste. I thought salt was salt! I'm throwing out the iodized salt.
The information in this book also fit in with my goals to eat better and spend less money. I hope to share the ideas from the book with my 20 year old son and get him away from cans & packages.
The only reason I give it 4 instead of 5 stars is the story about her being on the cruise and some of the dinners she held seemed out of place in the book.
As a person, as a teacher, as a writer and as a cook; the word that describes Kathleen Flinn and her work is approachable. Her books, classes, writing and recipes are all approachable. New cooks and veteran cooks alike benefit from Kathleen’s honesty and wit.
I have read each of Kathleen’s memoirs and they are drastically different books. They are each impeccably written and researched, full of tantalizing recipes, but travel down different roads at different places and times.
The organization of the book (knives, tastings, chicken, bread, soup, etc)was as natural as putting one foot in front of the other. The newfound confidence of most of her students was exciting. With each week (and presumably chapter) I watched them learn and build upon what they learned AND I learned as well.
As someone who has 15 different oils and vinegars, three (yes 3) shelfs brimming with spices, a pantry that I could live from for 5 months, THREE freezers filled with game meat and pork and beef from pigs and cows my father raises each year AND over 500 cookbooks, I should be able to go to the farmers market each week (now I will hit two twice a week)and never set foot into a grocery store (that is NOT the case: I spend a ton on food, weekly). This wonderful book gave me the insight to manage my kitchen, pantry, fridge and freezers to change how I shop, cook and feed my family. For the know-it-all that I am, I learned so much.
I enjoyed the book because I do so many of the things Kathleen talked about(almost only buy whole chickens and make stock all the time, make soup to clean out fridge, make my own vinaigrette are a few). But I RELISHED the book for what I learned (two favorite things: food science of processed food p. 200-202 and the history of soup p228)and will try to change: here are a few personal highlights and take aways from this book:
*going to ditch the table salt (after I do the salt tasting)
*try new cuts of beef (my family LOVED page 156, when Lisa bent over to decribe the cuts of beef: my dad the hunter and butcher read it twice!)
*Start quoting Kathleen's mother to my daughters "who says you cant" and "in a hundred years no one will knwo the difference" (page 167)
*Look at food the way Beve does (p 205): 3 g fiber, less than 6 g sugar and 6 g protein (shocked my kids)
GO AND BUY THIS BOOK AND REFER TO IT OFTEN. I know that I will. Thanks Kathleen.
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