I am so pleased to present Kathleen Flinn’s newest book, THE KITCHEN COUNTER COOKING SCHOOL. This is a book that has the capability to really change your life. It has changed mine.
I think I’m a pretty good cook. I know how to use a knife, am able to whip up a meal with “stuff” lurking in my fridge, and am quite familiar with what most people consider unusual or unique fruits and vegetables.
When I read Kathleen’s book I realized I have neglected to utilize so many simple means of cooking. I actually hurried to the store to purchase a whole chicken. Used the thighs in one recipe, then had the remaining parts of the bird for more meals. Win/win. I used Kathleen’s recipe for braising for my chicken thigh dish. The aroma was amazing. And I used up some odds and ends of veggies that had been hiding out in the back of my fridge. With only a few ingredients and a good knife, I had an award winning dinner. Then I tried another and another of the suggestions in Kathleen’s book. All with more than just good results.
Kathleen attacks the problem so many women in this country are dealing with: not cooking because of lack of time, knowledge, or money, or all three. After a chance encounter in her local grocery store, Kathleen decides on a project. She puts an ad in the paper for volunteers to learn how to cook. She ended up with nine women, all from different walks of life and in different stages of life.
Kathleen has help with the lessons from a few top culinary professionals. They aid in the preparation of tastings each day and take on some of the actual classes. What lucky women these students are.
Each lesson is a study in wonder. I learned new stuff with each one. The choosing of the knives is crucial. How you care for them can mean the difference between keeping a good knife for a lifetime or having to replace it regularly. I immediately stopped my husband from putting our Chef’s knife in the dishwasher. Mortal sin!
The intelligence of the instruction is superb, and the instruction is matter of fact so that a layman like you or I easily understand it.
When asked what the inspiration for writing THE KITCHEN COUNTER COOKING SCHOOL was, Kathleen had this to say.” It turned out to be a confluence of events. I was asked to do a graduation speech at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and it hit me. Who am I to give anyone advice? I’m not even working as a chef. Right after that, I ran into a woman shopping with her young daughter in a supermarket, her cart packed with processed foods. I observed her through the store and ultimately ended up talking to her. She was a smart woman who relied on convenience foods because she felt she was a poor cook and that got me thinking. Is this the real state of cooking in America? So I set on a project to find out.”
Kathleen also talks about what she thinks is the ultimate downside to not knowing how to cook.” Studies show that the more you cook at home, the healthier you are as a general rule. If you can’t cook, you put yourself at the mercy of companies to feed you and their interests are purely financial.”
Kathleen says,” Get a chef’s knife and learn basic knife skills. Hands down, that has the biggest long-term impact. The second thing is to learn fundamentals of roasting, steaming, braising and sautéing. Learn to use the whole chicken. For the same cost as a package of boneless skinless chicken breasts, you can buy the entire bird. Once you get the hang of it, it takes less then 10 minutes to cut one up. But I think a key thing is that the sterile nature of plastic-wrapped chicken breasts often makes us forget that was once an animal; working with a whole chicken helps you remember and, as a result, I found consistently that people waste less meat when they work with this in mind.“
I fell in love with Kathleen Flinn’s first book, THE SHARPER YOUR KNIFE, THE LESS YOU CRY, because of the experience in Paris. I am absolutely nuts over this new one because it is helping me in ways I never thought possible. In this day and age when we are all interested in being healthier human beings, this is the perfect book to help get you there!
I am thrilled that Viking, the very generous publisher has agreed to provide one lucky viewer with a hard cover copy of THE KITCHEN COUNTER COOKING SCHOOL by Kathleen Flinn. So, leave a comment with your email address so I can contact you when you win! This giveaway will run through Sunday, Oct. 2. Only postal addresses within the continental U.S., and no P.O. boxes, please. Good luck!