23 Following


Currently reading

Paddy's Lament, Ireland 1846-1847: Prelude to Hatred
Thomas Gallagher
Pivot: The Only Move That Matters Is Your Next One
Jenny K. Blake
When in French: Love in a Second Language
Lauren Collins
Beyond the Job Description: How Managers and Employees Can Navigate the True Demands of the Job
Jesse Sostrin
Vision and Art: The Biology of Seeing
David Hubel, Margaret S. Livingstone
Achieving Your Potential As A Photographer: A Creative Companion and Workbook
Harold Davis
Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age
Sherry Turkle
Picture Perfect Practice: A Self-Training Guide to Mastering the Challenges of Taking World-Class Photographs (Voices That Matter)
Roberto Valenzuela
Man's Search for Meaning
Viktor E. Frankl, Harold S. Kushner
Terms of Service: Social Media and the Price of Constant Connection
Jacob Silverman

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

The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices into Fearless Home Cooks - Kathleen Flinn Quick and interesting read. Flinn decides to "rescue" some volunteers from their fears and ignorance about cooking for themselves. It's an interesting sociological study in a way -- all the different reasons (family, culture, economics, time) that these women have never mastered the basics of cooking for themselves. Her plan is hatched when she ends up stalking a woman in the supermarket, whose cart is filled with boxes and cans. "The girl tossed 2 cans of diced store-brand tomatoes in their cart and the pair rolled away. I stood contemplating the wall of tomatoes featuring 19 different brands that offered them as whole, diced, peeled, fire-roasted, organic, imported, and packed with basil. Do they taste the same? I thought of MFK Fisher's argument and of the chefs who made us taste everything in order to develop what's often referred to as "taste memory." I thought of the book The Tasting Club by Dina Cheney. Essentially, the book suggests comparative tastings of olive oil, cheese, olives, coffees, teas and the like as a centerpiece for social gatherings. Why not comparatively taste canned tomatoes? I selected 9 different varieties of diced and took them in my arms to the checkout..." p.77"The trick to great scrambled eggs is to start with a cold pan. Add a couple of pats of butter and the eggs, and then turn the heat up to medium-low and stir regularly. It's a longer process but yields a softer result than the classic high-heat version in an elastic flavor and a rubbery consistency." p.149Using up food you've purchased: "I estimated the cost of every item and tagged each with a post-it. In the course of 2 weeks, if I had to throw an item away, I'd take the post-it note and stick it to an area inside one of my cabinet doors. Almost immediately, tossing something signaled defeat by surrender. My mind-set changed: Oh no, I don't want to put that post-it for this bell pepper on my door. At the end of 2 weeks, I'd thrown out about $16 in food, less than usual but still nothing to make me proud." p.224Flinn follows up with her students a few months or more after the classes ended. Many of them have made big (and small) changes in their approach to cooking and eating. In a self-reflective mode, Flinn muses:"How had I changed? My spice drawer is immaculate, thanks to the Great Spice Cleanout of 2009. Our freezer is lined with pasture-raised beef, pork and chicken, a nod to the various classes on the subject and, in a way, a circle back to my early life on the farm in Michigan. I make soup at least once a week now to clean out my fridge. As Thierry suggested, we have a photo in the back of our fridge, an image of Mike and me embracing in Paris. ." p.262"With that, I'm off to take a class on canning with Shannon [one of her students]. She recently earned her "Master Canner" designation. Last summer, Shannon didn't know how to hold a knife. Tomorrow, she will teach me how to preserve pears. It's the most fitting close to the circle that I can imagine. We live, we learn, we teach one another. Isn't that the way it should be?" p.263I have to say the book has reawakened some interest in cooking and especially tasting.