Kathleen Flinn’s book The Kitchen Counter Cooking School opens with this:
While in the supermarket one day, Flinn (a graduate of the Le Cordon Bleu), spots a woman loading her cart with processed food. Flinn follows the woman around the store until they reach the meat counter, where she stops the woman from buying pre-cut chicken breasts in favor of asking the butcher to but up a whole chicken for her. Flinn goes on to tell the woman how to cook and even goes so far as to persuade the shopper — whose name Flinn never even learns — to replace nearly all of the processed foods in her cart with whole ingredient alternatives.
Did you cringe a little reading that? Because, man, I sure did. Like, Oh jesus seriously, some foodier-than-thou lady swoops in and improves the lives of a bunch of poor know-nothings? Barrrrf.
Well. I assure you I could not have been more wrong.
In fact, this memoir turned out to be an unusual blend of thoughtful and practical. Flinn makes a point of getting out of what she calls the “foodie bubble” (at which point I was pretty much won over) and gets nine women together, all of whom are very uncomfortable in the kitchen: they all feel don’t have time/money/skills to cook from scratch.
Each chapter details how the women got together for one of the kitchen’s lessons on how to make something — how to roast a chicken, etc. — and closes with an actual recipe for what was just made. (I admit I haven’t made any of the recipes yet, BUT the chapter on knife skills has radically changed the way I hold and use a chef’s knife.)
Along the way, Flinn realizes she’s not immune to some of the traps her students fall into (like a fridge full of expiring food) but her personal recollections manage to never feel tacked on or patronizing, like look at me, I’m just like you! Overall, it was just an unexpectedly fun read and I really recommend it.
With that in mind, I’m giving away a copy!
To enter to win, all you have to do is become a fan of gezellig-girl.com on Facebook and I’ll draw a winner in two weeks’ time (8 Nov 2011). Good luck! Congrats to Tina T. of Palm Coast, FL for winning this! Hope you enjoy it!