Sunday, November 13, 2011

Weekend Cooking: The Kitchen Counter Cooking School

For this Weekend Cooking I have a double review with Leeswammes. We both read the book around the same time and asked each other questions (see below). Make sure to check out her review as well!

Title: The Kitchen Counter Cooking School
Author: Kathleen Flinn
Genre: Non-Fiction
Subject: Cooking, Food
Publisher: Viking Adult
Release date: September, 2011
Length: 304 pages
I got this book: From the publisher for review through NetGalley.

From Goodreads:
"The author of The Sharper Your Knife tells the inspiring story of how she helped nine others find their inner cook.

After graduating from Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, writer Kathleen Flinn returned with no idea what to do next, until one day at a supermarket she watched a woman loading her cart with ultraprocessed foods. Flinn's "chefternal" instinct kicked in: she persuaded the stranger to reload with fresh foods, offering her simple recipes for healthy, easy meals.

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School includes practical, healthy tips that boost readers' culinary self-confidence, and strategies to get the most from their grocery dollar, and simple recipes that get readers cooking."

Personal opinion:
I really enjoyed reading this book. It was fun to have a peek in the eating habits of the participants and to be able to follow all the changes they made throughout the course. In between the story there are snippets of information about healthy cooking. So not only the participants but also the readers gain the insights on how easy it can be to cook more healthy. In between chapters there are all kinds of easy and useful recipes and I am convinced that there is something to learn for everyone in this book. I do have to admit that I did skip two meat chapters because I couldn't read about how people cut up a chicken. I don't eat meat myself for the very reason that I know where the meat comes from and I don't need another lesson on that ;) I can recommend this book to all foodie book lovers and especially to the people who eat a lot of processed foods. This book is a great eye opener.

I really liked it!

Judith: Did the book inspire you to cook more healthily?

Uniflame: I am not sure if I can call it more healthy because I
already cook out of the box on most occasions, but I do want to expand
what I am doing even further, thanks to some new information in the

Judith: Do you think the women in the book are representative for the
women in our own country (the Netherlands) or do we generally cook
healthier than them?

Uniflame: Yes and no. I do see more and more people cooking from boxes
because they don't know how to make their own pasta sauce but here the
counter movement is already on it's way. I do still think that
families eat more whole foods because of our potato, vegetable, meat
culture but that students and singles live more on processed foods
because that is easier. I think we are right in the middle of the
battle between companies are advertising processed foods at the moment
and the counter movement of eating healthier. It is a bit of a mess
currently in the Netherlands.

Judith: Was there something that surprised you in the book, something
that you had no idea about?

Uniflame: The thing that keeps surprising me when I read certain
American foodie books, is that people can live on their own for so
many years without being able to cook. That fact isn't so common in
the Netherlands. While this fact isn't new to me, it amazes me again
and again. Another thing is the fact that people often don't really
know how food is made. To me it seems rather impossible not knowing. I
don't mean anything bad by this at all, it is just such a huge difference
in our food culture.

Purchase links: Amazon
Other reviews: Leeswammes, Beth Fish Reads
If you have reviewed this book and want your link here, please leave a comment with the link, and I will add it :)

This review is part of Weekend Cooking, a weekly meme on everything food related. Please check out the other posts as well.


  1. It was nice doing this review with you, Uniflame!

    Although the book was definitely American, lots of food-related facts are of course universal and it was great to read and learn. :-)

  2. Sounds like a thought provoking read. For the past year or so I have cooked all of my meals from scratch and the difference has been amazing - I've never felt so healthy.

  3. Well we're not all like that :) it surprises me too how many people can't cook from scratch. So interesting to get your perspective

  4. I think people like convenience. As someone who loves to cook and despises processed food-ie unhealthy, expensive, why would you eat it-I am also amazed when I spy on someone's cart and see what is in it. Cooking is really quite easy-my husband who is not a cook but eats healthy-as a bachelor would just cook broccoli and chicken. I am going to read the book.

    Thank you.

  5. I'm not sure where I fall on this continuum of American cooks but I know I want to read this book :)

  6. I agree with your comments on the things you were surprised about. Like you, it's not new to me either that people can get by for ages without knowing how to cook or knowing how food is made or where it comes from, and yet it continues to amaze me. I strive to prepare meals for myself and my family that are as close to whole food sources as possible, and I am often surprised how many processed, packaged foods many of my friends consume. To them, making something from scratch is making it at home from the box in lieu of buying it already made. Yikes!

    I'm glad to be setting a good example of healthy, quality eating to my children and I try to enlighten others when I can, but it's hard not to sound so 'preachy" when I do. My husband says I'm an elitist when it comes to food and food preparation. I say, "what's your point?" LOL ;)

    Great post.