I like to bake. I can make a killer cherry pie, thanks to my mom’s recipe, crust and everything from scratch. I’m definitely not a cook. I would love to have had cooking lessons from someone like Kathleen Flinn, author of The Kitchen Counter Cooking School.
Flinn is a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. More important, she learned that so many of us lack the knowledge and basic skills to cook. Her book is subtitled, “How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks.” She took a group of nine volunteers, invaded their kitchens and pantries to discover what they had their and how they cooked (or didn’t), and then set out to teach them basic lessons.
Flinn set up her class in a caterer’s kitchen. Then, she taught her students to use a knife properly, how to hold it, the type of knife to use to chop vegetables. She and her students sampled and compared salt, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, tomatoes. Her students learned to cook chicken, make artisan bread, make vinaigrette. They learned the pleasure of cooking from scratch, not from a box.
It was fascinating to “meet” Flinn’s nine students, to peek inside their kitchens, and, then, like Flinn, to revisit them after the class and observe the changes. Kathleen Flinn’s students not only learned to prepare better and healthier food, they gained confidence in their own skills.
Kathleen Flinn includes her recipes, hints, and lessons in The Kitchen Counter Cooking School. It’s a refreshing change from cooking shows that offer fancy recipes with often obscure ingredients. Flinn teaches real people how to cook for real life. I wish I’d been in her class. (I just might have to try out those online classes she has on her website.) I can’t wait to share The Kitchen Counter Cooking School with my fellow librarians next month in the brown bag luncheon.
Kathleen Flinn’s website is www.kathleenflinn.com.