Come one, come all, novice cooks this book is for you

Kathleen Flinn’s THE KITCHEN COUNTER COOKING SCHOOL (Viking Books, 2011) is a must for those who don’t have their kitchen balance.  Flinn, a trained chef, got the idea one day in the grocery store to pass on her expertise to those less inclined or intuitive in the kitchen.  She takes unskilled culinary women of all ages and different walks of lives and teaches these volunteer cooks the basics for how to prepare everyday meals.

When I started the book I was wishing I had been one of the lucky ones that were collected to be part of this experiment because I sure could use it.  But as the weeks went by I became grateful to have had a front seat at the counter but in the wings and now I am able to return to the lessons over and over again in the book.

Definitely smack dab in the middle of the target audience that Flinn was seeking to reach with this book.  So glad that bulls-eye was big enough for Viking Books to provide me with a copy and a giveaway + magnet to one lucky visitor.  I have never loved the kitchen and truth be told I just have not spent much time there nor am I adventuresome either.  Flinn’s cooking school has made me a more confident cook with the knowledge that not every dish is going to come out perfect and not everyone tastes things the same way.

Armed with that in mind I ran through several of the class exercises in my own kitchen as well as cooked up a number of the recipes.  And you know what?  I did pretty good.

These are some of the adventures in the kitchen I had, I learned the proper way to hold a knife from Chapter 4, IT’S NOT ABOUT THE KNIFE.   Chapter 5, A MATTER OF TASTE certainly taught me much about the various oils.  And I practiced the “Five Marvelous Ways to Cook Vegetables with “Flavor Splashes” at the end of the chapter.

I could go on and on but I will leave you with some of my favorite takeaway tips:

  • salt will forever go in a bowl when I am cooking;
  • vow to always have good knife with high carbon content in the kitchen;
  • do more tasting when I cook;
  • always measure flour for baking the in appropriate manner;
  • no more rinsing the pasta.

These are some of the gems that stood out for me, but there are so many more and recipes to boot.  If you would like to eligible to win a copy of THE KITCHEN COUNTER COOKING SCHOOL* leave a comment below and your favorite cooking tip so we all can learn.

*Contest open until Monday, October 31st.  Winner will be chosen randomly and be notified by email.  If winner fails to reply within three days a new winner to be randomly selected.  Open to US residents only.  Don’t forget to share email so I can find you.

About poofbooks

With a wave of the wand and a good book in hand travel to places and spaces beyond your imagination. Because reading does not require you to leave the comfort of your own living room or the bunny slippers behind. So if a vacation is not in your plans for this year, take a bookation, you will love it.
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9 Responses to Come one, come all, novice cooks this book is for you

  1. BermudaOnion says:

    I would have loved to have been one of those she picked too. I guess my favorite kitchen tip would be to have a bowl handy for scraps while you’re chopping and peeling.

  2. Mary Pat says:


    Would love to win this book. For less sugar content in pasta, cook only to al dente.

  3. booksnyc says:

    I am still pretty new to cooking on a regular basis but I took a cooking class this summer where they gave us the tip of rubbing a stainless steel spoon just before rinsing your hands to eliminate the scent of garlic and onions from your hands/fingers.

    Thanks for offering the giveaway!

  4. Debra Brown says:

    I just have to get used to the WordPress Comment link. It is so small and snuggled in with other words.

    I forgot to leave a tip. This is probably not what you had in mind, but! When done cooking something up, add warm water to the pan while still on the burner. It makes clean up so much easier. Perhaps you all knew that, but somehow, my mother never did and we had to scrub very hard at our pots. 😀

  5. Shari Vasko says:

    Sounds like a great book – count me in! I love to cook but it is not always intuitive for me, so I would love these tips.

  6. Debra Brown says:

    Whew, I finally found how to leave a comment. 😀

    I’d love to win this book. I NEED this book. 🙂 Thanks for the giveaway.

    kescah at comcast dot net

    • poofbooks says:

      Okay, so I have been experimenting with this whole comment thing. I thought I flipped things to make commenting easier but I guess it is back to the drawing board.

  7. Tami says:

    I’ve been cooking for thirty years now and the best tip I can give is to not take it too seriously. For most of us, we’re not making a living doing this, we’re just trying to prepare a tasty meal for our families. Just because the professionals use 7-10 spices/recipe doesn’t mean you can’t make a tasty version using salt/pepper and a few kitchen basics.

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