The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School

(note: the following review and giveaway is by/ from Jacqueline).

Hardcover 285 pages
published by Viking Adult (available October 3, 2011)
ISBN-13: 9780670023004

Type: {Impress Your Friends Read: notable; prize-winner or all around intelligent crowd conversation piece.}
Rating: {An Unputdownable: Couldn’t eat or sleep until I finished this book.}

Why You’re Reading It:

  • You want to start cooking more, but are not sure how to get started.
  • You want to avoid highly processed food.
  • You want to save money.
  • You want to waste less of the food that you purchase.
  • You want to have fun while doing it!

What I Thought:

First, let me be honest. I love to cook. I take cookbooks into bed to read. I dream about the week’s meals as I ride the train to work. Making a home cooked meal each night is not a chore for me, but a pleasure. So while I’m not the target audience per se for this book, I am the kind of person who can tell you if Ms. Flinn knows her stuff. And readers, she knows her stuff! I found myself nodding and saying “yes!” throughout the entire book (in my head!)!

I love her natural, engaging voice. It’s as if your funny, food loving friend is by your side, and not some stuffy chef or worse, your critical mom (!)! She teaches you, along with nine women who want to change the way they eat, the practical aspects of cooking fresh, honest-to-goodness food. Some things you’ll learn are how to hold a knife, how to make stock, and how to braise an inexpensive cut of meat so that it falls off the bone. She has a refreshing, “whatever works” attitude. You don’t need to buy special, expensive tools or 394,702,734 pans to make the food in the book (but a sharp knife will help!).

A very strong and I felt unique chapter was about food waste. Food waste isn’t fun or sexy, but she writes about it with intelligence and a deep respect for food. Flinn provides excellent strategies on how to combine what you have to make spectacular, creative, nutritious meals. I am fully confident that after you read this book, you could become one of those people who can scan their pantry and whip up a great dinner using that half of an onion in the crisper, the remainder of the roasted chicken from the other day, and a peach!

Even though I consider myself a total foodie, I learned many new things myself! One of my favorite parts of the book was the chapter on soup. I thought it was fascinating that she went into the etymology of the word (supper, soup and sop all derived from the same Germanic root!). I also, ahem, never cut a whole chicken into individual parts. Now I know how. Thank you Kathleen!


I liked this book so much that I want to give away a copy to you – yes YOU – that person who wants to change their relationship to cooking but doesn’t know where to start. In the comments, tell me what you’d most like to transform about how you feed yourself for a chance to win the book. I’ll pick a winner with the Random Number Generator on October 13th!

19 thoughts on “The Kitchen Counter Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn

  1. Hey Wallace! Love the sound of this cook book! I definitely need something to help me spice of my cooking life. I tend to make the same meals all the time and am getting utterly bored with eating – which is not a good thing, because who doesn’t love to eat, right? So, I would definitely love to learn some new recipes and especially the basics of cooking (since I skipped right over those and just dove right in and so at times, I’m in need of basic cooking skills). Please throw my name in the hat – thanks!

  2. I loved her first book about attending Cordon Bleu in Paris & can’t wait to read this one! I want to add more vegetables to our diet.

  3. Like you, Wallace, I LOVE reading cook books…perhaps if i actually USED the recipes in the books instead of just dreaming and thinking about them I can myself out of my cooking rut!!

  4. mmmmmm!!!!!! What a great giveaway!!! Sounds delicious!!!! I go back and forth between cooking and non-cooking phases, but lately I feel so lost (and depressed) whenever I enter the kitchen–I never see what I want, I don’t know what to do with what I have, and everything else either looks bland, or feels like too much work–this definitely sounds like the kind of book that can help me be at home in my kitchen again!!! :D

  5. I’m not usually interested in cooking books but this does sound interesting. I (like most people I guess) occasionally get a craving for sweet or fatty foods. I wish I knew a way to make these myself as I’m sure home-cooked ‘bad’ food has to be somehow less bad! Thanks for a great giveaway!


  6. I’ve heard great things about this book so it’s definitely on my TBR list! I’d like to cook for myself more often! I don’t cook good meals unless I’m making them for someone else. When I’m alone I get sandwiches. Must change that!

  7. I just want to learn more about how to cook properly. What to buy, how to make it. I’m a busy working mom and I struggle with offering good food options to my family. I am currently reading her first book about when she went to cooking school so I’m excited to read this next book!

  8. I would love to find some motivation and practical ways to cook every night. I’m so exhausted by the time I get home from school that I often just kind of make do with odds and ends; the only exception is if I had the wherewithal to put something in the Crockpot before I left for work. I think this book could help!

  9. I loved Flinn’s first book “The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry”, and it’s because of her that I sharpen my cook’s knife right before I chop anything. I started cooking a lot more at home after I read her book. I would love to read this book too, because she has a great writing style and makes anyone feel like they could cook like a pro. :) Glad you liked the book!

  10. I would like to be able to feed my family on a regular basis without having to rely on my husband to plan and cook the meals. I grew up in a family where my parents owned a Chinese restaurant and my dad and grandfather cooked all of our meals, but I never learned. I feel completely inept in the kitchen and can only make spaghetti and tacos. I am good at following recipes so I’d love to see what this book has to say and maybe it’ll help me overcome my insecurities in the kitchen.

  11. The more I cook and experiment, the more I love it. I hate to admit it…what stops me from totally transforming my cooking is my frugal ways. There are so many recipes out there that I would love to try, but I choke when I go to the store and see how much the ingredients are. (Luckily, I am getting better at growing my own herbs and veggies, that helps)

  12. Will be moving to a new kitchen in a few weeks, and after a summer of enforced shortcuts and much eating out, would like to resolve to cook economically, creatively, and healthy henceforth. Unfortunately, I’m at a total culilnary washout, and need as much coaching as possible!

  13. I’m not a great cook by any stretch, but I like to cook. I want to change how I use ingredients…I feel like the meals are beginning to all taste the same. This sounds like a great book…thanks for the review and giveaway.

    savvyverseandwit at gmail

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