I’m a self-proclaimed bookworm and David likes to joke that I always have my nose stuck in a book.
My favorite books are usually the ones that have been recommended to me. But I stumbled on this one on a chance trip to Barnes & Noble. It stared up at me from the non-fiction table and based on the title alone, I knew it had to be mine.
The author, Kathleen Flinn, is a graduate of French cooking school, Le Cordon Bleu, and the book was born out of a volunteer project she undertook to teach a group of nine women, with little to no previous experience, how to cook.
“Sounds a lot like what I do,” I thought. I was ready to be inspired.
Each of the classes represented by chapters tackles a different topic from soup, to spices to meat. I enjoyed the useful and practical tips and recipes included throughout the book. As a reader, I almost felt as if I was in the classes myself. You truly feel the highs and lows experienced not only by the author, but also by the students.
- A basic formula for vinaigrette = 1 part acid + 3 parts oil
- Simple tips for creating good flavor
- Using leftovers
- What to do when you get to the bottom of a jar of mustard (add some lemon and olive oil for vinaigrette)
- Why you don’t have to buy ingredients for soup (i.e. how to make soup using what you already have in your fridge)
- Flavor profiles (an easy way to make veggies taste even better!)
Other useful nuggets from the book:
- Basic technique for preparing a whole chicken
- 10 ways to flavor roast a chicken
- 5 ingredient cake frosting
- How to create a chicken stock from bones
By the end, each woman had undergone a transformation and was armed with new tips and techniques to take back to her own kitchen. Many continued to use what they learned. Several lost weight and all had a renewed sense of confidence in the kitchen that kept them going back in to cook more and away from pre-packaged foods.
When you love what you do, teaching becomes more about inspiring and less about showing.
What books inspire you?