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The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks Hardcover – Oct 4 2011

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Viking Adult (Oct. 4 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0670023000
  • ISBN-13: 978-0670023004
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 2.8 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 272 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #312,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"[A] terrific, inspiring book."--"People" (A "People" Pick)

About the Author

Kathleen Flinn has been a writer and journalist for nearly twenty years. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, USA Weekend, Men’s Fitness and many other publications. She is a proud member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, and the Author’s Guild. She divides her time between Seattle and southwest Florida.

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By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER on Jan. 17 2012
Format: Hardcover
After observing a stranger's grocery cart packed with processed, ready-to-eat foods, Seattle's Kathleen Flinn (a graduate of Paris's Le Cordon Bleu) became concerned. And with good reason: since World War II, home cooks have grown dependent on the food industry's offerings of "convenience" foods, thus decreasing familiarity with whole foods and the techniques and utensils needed to prepare them. Furthermore, food television has turned cooking into a spectator sport, drawing people out of the kitchen and towards the couch.

But what to do about this trend? When Flinn happened upon an episode of TV's "What Not to Wear," she decided to adapt the premise and recruit a group of struggling home cooks, observe their kitchens and meal preparations, offer hands-on instruction and coaching and re-observe. This book documents her project and teaches many valuable lessons: how to stock a pantry; how to hold and use a knife; how to taste, including comparative tastings and suggested seasonings; how to bake simple bread and prepare eggs, whole chickens, fish and meats. Flinn writes fluently and accessibly, employing both humour and helpful instructions.

Though a couple of the book's chapters seem self-indulgent and irrelevant (like when she describes a teaching stint on a cruise ship), Flinn proves a supportive, entertaining and informative teacher. Ultimately, she inspires a respect for food, the true starting point to healthier living.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been cooking for myself and my family for 20 plus years now. I have long placed importance on taking the time to cook from scratch with unprocessed products as much as possible and I love to cook. I had a Mom who cooked home made meals for us regularly and I took an interest in cooking early on. Having said that, I still gleaned an astonishing amount of knowledge from this book, as well as inspiration and enlightenment. I love how the writer ties food to our emotional lives. I had never before considered how closely our relationship with food is intertwined with our emotions and how our early experiences shapes how we deal with it as we grow up. But it makes so much sense, when you consider food is necessary sustenance for life. I also found the book to be a fun, engaging read and the writer just simplifies cooking so very, very well. I tend to be the kind of cook who needs a recipe to get started, but through this book I've found the tools and the confidence to start simply putting things together on my own, which is so liberating! I highly recommend this book for ANYONE ~ young/old, non cook, beginner, old pro ~ whatever! I will have both of my children read it at some point.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm a closet foodie and I love to cook and bake, but after working all day I don't have the energy. After reading this book I realized I'm far from alone.

For The Kitchen Counter Cooking School project, author Kathleen Flinn recruited nine volunteers who needed help. Each had something that needed improvement - they were cooking unhealthy food, buying take-out and resorting to what they thought would be the fastest and most convenient method of food preparation. All the volunteers were women and I could relate to all of them to some degree.

At the start of the book, the author introduces each volunteer by describing a visit to their homes and in particular their kitchens. There were issues with outdated food, too much food as well as content. Food labels were looked at, cooking methods discussed and even storage issues confronted. Each woman was surprised when a spotlight was pointed at their fridge and cupboards. Sometimes it takes an outsider to say, yep, storing 15 boxes of pre-made pasta dinners at this cost doesn't make sense when you can make something yourself for a fraction of the price, is much healthier and doesn't take nearly as much time as you'd think if you know what you're doing. The author rented a kitchen and once a week the volunteers learned how to do exactly that.

The book is divided into parts and each describes a food product or group and how best to prepare it. The volunteers were given the tools and instructions and were encouraged to experiment. Their delight in discovering that they could produce healthy and attractive dishes was evident. I like how the self-esteem of a person can be raised just by learning a method of cooking they previously thought had been impossible to master.
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