The Kitchen Counter Cooking School



Hello Reading Friends– A few weeks ago our Lit Group settled in for breakfast at an Italian coffee shop to celebrate our 30 year anniversary of reading together!!  Everyone brought a book to recommend and I snatched the copy of The Kitchen Counter Cooking School from Debbie and dug in that very afternoon. Thanks Debbie for the loan!  Here’s what I found…

The author, Kathleen Flinn, returned from studying at Le Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris a bit at loose ends, no job in mind.  But one day at the market she noticed a woman with a cart burgeoning with ultra processed foods.  She couldn’t help but say to the shopper, would you like me to help you replace that cartful with some healthful ingredients for simple meals?  Surprisingly the shopper was intrigued and so new project began…

Flinn recruited 9 volunteers to come to her kitchen counter cooking school.  First she visited each of their homes and they talked through their food on hand, cooking and eating styles…  Then they all came together for a series of classes on all the cooking basics– knife skills, baking bread, cooking fish, soup…  with a healthy dose of “food tastings’ thrown in. How do 9 kinds of olive oil compare???

As the weeks pass, the new cooks evolve in their skills– and as they did, I picked up a whole lot of techniques and tips as well.  There were, of course, some great basic recipes to build upon.  So many good resources, I know I need to go out and buy my own copy of the book to keep in my kitchen!

It’s sort of a cooking manual with a fun story line to keep you reading…

So back to the Lit Group– after our breakfast bookish “show & tell,”  we headed out to The Bookman– the kind used book store you can get lost in, nearby, followed by lunch to talk over all the new reading we’d picked up.  Reading and eating.  It’s what we do best!

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Thanks Lit Group Reading Buddies for the fabulous day out– and all those reading recommendations– Here’s to another 30 years of reading together!


30 Years of Books

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41IU-ciqOzL._AA160_  Unknown-7  Unknown-2Hello Book Reading Buddies– If it’s the second Tuesday of the month, you’ll find us, old friends,  leaning in around a restaurant table, deep in discussion.   Our Lit Group.  It’s been meeting for 30 years this August.  That’s a lot of books! 

So our intrepid leader, Jenni, sent out a note for us to list our favorite 30 books from all that reading.  After a whole lot of agonizing and editing (and a little cheating involving 10 extra favorites), I came up with my list.

1.  Reason for God– Tim Keller
2.  China Road– Rob Gifford
3.  Gilead– Marilyn Robinson
4.  Snowflower and the Secret Fan– Lisa See
5.  The Shadow of the Wind– Zafon
6.  Bel Canto– AnnPatchett
7.  Wild Swans– Jung Chang
8.  The Distant Land of my Father– Bo Caldwell
9.  I feel Bad About my Neck– Nora Ephron
10.  The Help– Stockett
11.  The Girl in Hyacith Blue– Susan Vreeland
12.  The Painted Veil– Somerset Maugham
13.  The Professor and the Madman– Simon Winchester
14.  Pride and Prejudice– Jane Austen
15.  Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress–SIjie
16.  Corelli’s Mandolin– DeBernieres
17.  The Color of Water– McBride
18.  Sister of My Heart– Divakaruni
19.  The Secret Life of Bees– Monk Kidd
20.  Memoirs of a Geisha– Golden
21.  A Moveable Feast– Hemmingway
22.  The Poisonwood Bible– Kingsolver
23.  Bonhoeffer–Metaxas    
24.  Traveling Mercies– Anne Lamott
25.  A Grief Observed– Lewis
26.  The Shell Seekers– PIlcher
27.  East of Eden– Steinbeck
28.  The Joy Luck Club– Tan
29.  Soul Survivor– Yancy
30.  The Glass Castle– Walls
31.  Emma–Austen
32.  Count of Monte Cristo– Dumas
32. Thousand Splendid Suns– Hosseini
33.  Blue Like Jazz– Miller
34.  The Guernsey Potato Pie Society– Shaffer
35.  Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhoos– Young
36. The Tale of Two Cities– Dickens
37.  The Book Thief– Markus Zusak
38.  Unbroken– Laura Hillenbrand
39.  The Namesake– Jhumpa
40.  The Kill a Mockingbird– Lee  

Do you have any of these books on your own “favorites” list?  Or any suggestions for what we should be reading next?