Kitchen Counter Cooking School

Cooking Lessons for Any Home Chef

You may not be looking for cooking lessons, but what about a funny, absorbing, vacation book guaranteed to teach you something you can  use in the kitchen when you head back home?  The Kitchen Counter Cooking School is is just as worthy of space in your beach bag as it is on your cookbook shelf. Kathleen Flinn, a Le Cordon Bleu trained chef, pulls you into her story, as well as those of her nine somewhat reluctant cooking students. Her heart for these kitchen novices drives her as she helps them to become comfortable in the kitchen. Ultimately, they all learn unexpected lessons about themselves in the process.

Flinn opens a chapter on bread with this vivid description from her childhood.

On the farm, my parents made bread twice a week. In one of my earliest memories I perched atop a wooden chair in the hot farmhouse kitchen on a snowy winter’s day. I drew hearts on the steamy window, my small fingers cold against the pane of glass as my father shaped and patted loaves of dough into four pans.

As I was completely absorbed in the story of these women, I learned many cooking lessons as well.

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School taught me how to create meals from what I have in my refrigerator. I learned how to rely less on recipes, improvise in creating meals, and waste less food.

Some of my family’s favorite recipes were discovered in the pages of this book: basic roasted chicken, the fettuccini Alfredo my kids request on their birthdays, and a simple weekday spaghetti sauce. I learned how to make vinaigrette from what is in my cabinet without measuring, as well as how to taste as I cook to avoid cooking disasters and the resulting pizza orders.

Whether you are comfortable with a gourmet French cookbook or don’t have much cooking experience at all, there are cooking lessons for you in this book.

I applaud Flinn for her courage in stalking these dazed women in the grocery store and inviting them to learn to enjoy cooking. And I am grateful that she wrote The Kitchen Counter Cooking School about their experiences in order to share them with the rest of us.

If you have read this book, what lessons did you take from it?

If you like this book, you may also enjoy Flinn’s story about her time at Le Cordon Bleu, The Sharper the Knife, the Less You Cry, which also includes some great recipes.