Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School review

I love a good memoir, especially when it teaches me something, and I definitely loved this one. I learned more about simple recipes, cooking techniques, and kitchen etiquette in this book, than I ever would have expected and the only thing that could have made it better was videos illustrating some processes. 

Author Flinn takes nine at-home cooks (or non-cooks as often is the case) and just teaches them the basics of food and cooking. No more processed junk, we can make those same dishes ourselves. No more poor knife skills, we can do it properly, FASTER. Everyone learns a few basic recipes and how to spin off of those into a more complex dish or meal. Everything from salad dressing to bread baking is covered, including making the perfect scrambled eggs, something I definitely needed help with. 

My husband and I have been into eating "healthier" for the past few years and I've tried to eliminate a lot of the processed foods from our house. We haven't bought salad dressing in probably a year and have completely done away with "boxed" dinners that ruled our house in the early years of our relationship. We definitely have a few processed staples hanging around, like bread, parmesan cheese, and bbq sauce, but Flinn has definitely inspired me to learn to make my own. Or at least buy fresh parm instead of the shelf stable grated stuff. 

Another huge push I've been giving after reading about these women and their lives is to buy quality knives. We have a moderately priced knife set in a block that sits on the counter. 5 dinner knives and 6 assorted others. Flinn really impresses upon her students and the reader that a cook really only needs 2 or 3 good knives, but they need to be a nice quality. Ours are most definitely not. We won't even talk about the fact that the biggest knife in the set can't easily slice through a tomato. Sigh.

Finally, the most important point I think Flinn makes, is the idea of less waste. We all waste SO MUCH FOOD, whether it be forgetting about the lettuce in the crisper drawer and having to throw that away, or buying too much at the grocery store and not being able to eat it in time. I've been incredibly conscious about using all of our produce before it goes bad, after reading this. That alone is saving us money and reducing the perfectly good food that gets thrown in the garbage.

If you're a reader of fun memoirs or at all a foodie, I would highly recommend checking this one out. It was inspiring, enjoyable to read, and completely easy to relate to. Loved it! I'm going to be purchasing my own copy just to reference from time to time!

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School
Kathleen Flinn
304 pages
Adult Non-Fiction
September 2011


Lisa said...

I was reading it at Christmas, and I was telling Mike all about the knife chapter while we set up on Christmas Eve. He just nodded and chatted- and then the next morning I had knives under the tree! A chef knife, a paring knife, and an in between one. A meeeeeellllion times better than the ones in our block too!

I loved the book, really inspired me to stop with the boxes. It's NOT that much more work, but it is easier to keep a "just add water" package on hand instead of being sure you always have blueberries in the freezer or something.

Lisa said...

Hmm. No way to subscribe to comments?

Beth S. said...

Loved this book! It was one of my favorite reads of 2011.

Marg said...

My knives are exactly like that too! Time to invest in some better tools for the kitchen!