The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn

May 26, 2012

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School chronicles a project inspired by a supermarket encounter, which turned into an epiphany: Cooking has become a spectator sport of Cooking Channel watching.

At the grocery store Flinn struck up a conversation with a woman loading up a basket full of processed food.  Flinn spent time cruising the aisles of the store with the woman and convinced her to put the packaged food back on the shelf and to try cooking with real food. The shopper later became a part of a group of nine women and a year-long project; teaching them cooking skills and how to make informed food choices instead of opting for unhealthy conveniences.

Flinn enlisted the help of other culinary professionals, rented kitchen space, and started a class on cooking fundamentals. She told her students why they should eat grass-fed beef, buy organic, and follow advice like Michael Pollan's, "Eat only things your grandmother would recognize as food". She taught her group how to stock their pantry and economize by planning meals that would utilize all groceries purchased.

Later the students shared with her how learning to cook from scratch with fresh ingredients really impacted their lives; their health, their finances and their families.  The women gained confidence in the kitchen, saved time, spent less money on food and felt good about truly nourishing their families.

Flinn reported on the state of home cooking in general, which has dramatically declined since the end of WWII.  Most women are never taught how to cook and are lacking basic home economic skill and are dependent on the food industry's offerings of unhealthy processed foods.   

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School is informative, convincing and inspiring. It’s a great read for anyone interested in learning to cook, refresh skills, or gain cooking confidence. Recipes included!

Kathleen Flinn is an American writer, journalist and chef. Her first book, best seller The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry describes her experience attending the famed Paris culinary school Le Cordon Blue.

Reviewed by Library Staff