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The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks

Average Rating 4.5
( 15 )
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  • Posted October 20, 2011

    Wonderful book for anyone trying to live a healthier lifestyle, but lacking basic cooking skills/knowledge

    I'm a third gen non-cook, where holiday meals are celebrated by making reservations and cooking consists of trying not to burn mac and cheese from a box. This book isn't about recipes as much as it is about conveying basic cooking skills by following the journeys of nine self-professed novice cooks and their teacher. I have never taken a home ec class, and I grew up in a home where tv dinners were the norm. Living on my own, I've gotten tired of eating out and relying on frozen dinners. I need a change, but watching food shows is intimidating and confusing, and cookbooks almost seem written in another language. Thankfully, I found this book by chance in my local B&N. It's easy to read, with clear directions regarding basic skills like making soups from scratch, cooking vegetables, preparing simple pasta sauces, understanding what a flavor profile is. The author comes across as knowledgeable and funny, with an earnest desire to help those who haven't gone to culinary school. This past weekend, I made my first batch of homemade bread from a recipe in the book. It was so easy, I made additonal bread for a family dinner, and no one could believe I made it! Me, the one who can burn water! I highly recommend this book for those non/novice cooks. Also, I am looking to expand on what I learned in this book, and am impressed with both the recommended readings (I got the Artisian bread book following my bread success) and the online cooking videos that the author has partnered with rouxbe. The free demos are very straight forward, and the majority of the reviews for the site are positive. This book has provided me with a way out of being dependent on others whether it's the supermarket, a restaurant or fast food chain, for preparing my meals. Good luck to all of my fellow non-cooks.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    It Could Change Your Life

    Kathleen Flinn returns from Paris where she studied at Le Cordon Bleu. Back in the Seattle she is unsure what to do with her new culinary degree until a trip to a local grocery store give her an epiphany. Seeing a woman's cart filled with boxes of "ultraprocessed products" kicked her "chefternal" instincts into overdrive. As she talked to the woman she realized this woman was afraid to cook things fresh because she thought it would be too hard or wouldn't taste right. She spent some time traveling with her around the store and convinced her to put the packaged food back on the shelf and try cooking with real food. This made her start to wonder if she had found what to do with her degree.

    This led Kathleen to gather a group of volunteers who felt the same as the woman in the grocery store. She enlisted the help of other culinary professionals, rented kitchen space and started a class on cooking fundamentals from making simple Alfredo sauce to proper chopping techniques and even weekly taste testing of things like olive oil and salt. This book tracks the volunteers through the classes and includes common sense recipes and details for the reader as well.

    My Thoughts
    I enjoyed this book. My husband is the "chef" in our family and have inserted several post it's within the pages of things I want to share with him.

    This book really reads a lot like fiction, taking peeks into these people's lives with wonderful lessons and recipes as an added bonus. While very instructional it is entertaining and humorous. The author has a delightful writing style.

    With fast food quickly becoming the common way to eat these days, this book will teach you that fast food can be nourishing, tasteful and does not come from a drive thru lane. I was actually stunned how easy it is to make dishes that I thought could only be found in a restaurant, with wonderful flavor and none of the preservatives found it the prepackaged dishes found on the grocery shelves. This may be a book to add to your cookbook shelf after reading the story of the volunteer's journey at the The Kitchen Counter Cooking School. It could change your life.



    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Viking. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 21, 2012

    Highly Recommended

    This book was not only enjoyable to read, it was filled with facts, tips & useful information. I read the book, then went back, went through it again & filled up 4 recipe cards front and back with the things I'd learned that I wanted to keep handy. Now the book is going to a friend to read-I'd give it a 10!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 26, 2011

    Changed my life

    This book has changed the way i think about cooking 100%. If you feel like dinner is a chore, read this. Seriously. You guys know i hate cooking. I am really excited to make healthier meals for david and the kids now. I didnt know where to begin, but this makes it all feel much less overwhelming.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted October 29, 2012

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