Review: The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn

I’m a closet foodie and I love to cook and bake, but after working all day I don’t have the energy. After reading this book I realized I’m far from alone.

For The Kitchen Counter Cooking School project, author Kathleen Flinn recruited nine volunteers who needed help. Each had something that needed improvement - they were cooking unhealthy food, buying take-out and resorting to what they thought would be the fastest and most convenient method of food preparation. All the volunteers were women and I could relate to all of them to some degree.

At the start of the book, the author introduces each volunteer by describing a visit to their homes and in particular their kitchens. There were issues with outdated food, too much food as well as content. Food labels were looked at, cooking methods discussed and even storage issues confronted. Each woman was surprised when a spotlight was pointed at their fridge and cupboards. Sometimes it takes an outsider to say, yep, storing 15 boxes of pre-made pasta dinners at this cost doesn’t make sense when you can make something yourself for a fraction of the price, is much healthier and doesn’t take nearly as much time as you’d think if you know what you’re doing. The author rented a kitchen and once a week the volunteers learned how to do exactly that.

The book is divided into parts and each describes a food product or group and how best to prepare it. The volunteers were given the tools and instructions and were encouraged to experiment. Their delight in discovering that they could produce healthy and attractive dishes was evident. I like how the self-esteem of a person can be raised just by learning a method of cooking they previously thought had been impossible to master. At the end of the book, I enjoyed seeing how each volunteer benefited from what they’d learned during the lessons.

Each chapter ends with the recipes that are taught in the class. I found the chapter on meat to be especially instructive and after reading about how many hormones and antibiotics are fed to livestock, I want to learn how to cook more vegetarian dishes!

People may dislike cooking or simply don’t cook for various reasons. Perhaps they were never taught properly, or as children they were shooed out of the kitchen. Maybe their spouses like doing it more than themselves. Whatever the reason, I recommend this book. It shows how anyone can learn to prepare nutritious and cost-effective meals even if they’ve always thought the task a daunting one. The recipes are simple and fast and there’s something for everyone in The Kitchen Counter Cooking School.

Click here to watch the book trailer and here is where you can find bios of the volunteer participants.


(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea on October 12, 2011 at 6:45 AM said...

This does sound pretty darn good.

Staci on October 12, 2011 at 7:53 PM said...

I believe this book has my name written all over it!!

bermudaonion on October 12, 2011 at 7:54 PM said...

I would have loved to have been one of those volunteers!

DCMetroreader on October 13, 2011 at 1:01 PM said...

I wish we could volunteer for the author to come to our kitchens as I could use help!

Laura Fabiani on October 13, 2011 at 6:33 PM said...

This book sounds like it can teach even those who like to cook a thing or two. Great review!

Beth(bookaholicmom) on October 15, 2011 at 12:40 PM said...

With every review I read on this book, I want it even more. It sounds like a very interesting premise. This would make for an interesting cooking show.


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