I recently moved to the neighborhood of Fremont in Seattle. My amazing friend Abby sent me four housewarming gifts:
- A Set of Homemade Recipe Cards of her favorite recipes – I hope to post about these more soon
- A paper bouquet with a favorite quote of ours: “To practice courage, compassion and connection is to look around at life and the people around us and say, ‘I’m all in.’” by Brene Brown
- “The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry” by Kathleen Flinn, an autobiography about Kathleen’s student life at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris after quitting her job in Seattle
- A beautiful handwritten letter discussing the concept of Place-Centered Living – essentially, interweaving yourself into your neighborhood through active participation and awareness of its issues.
What’s funny is that, a week after receiving Abby’s extremely thoughtful package, I found that the cookbook store (!!!) in my neighborhood, Book Larder, was hosting Kathleen Flinn for the release of her second book “Kitchen Counter Cooking School.” I had to attend!
Book Larder’s Event Kitchen!
Welcome to an absolute favorite part of my neighborhood!
Kathleen prepared two kinds of sandwiches – a vegetable mushroom and mozzarella slider and a pulled pork sandwich. The recipe for the second sandwich is included in Kitchen Counter Cooking School. Both were delicious!
These were shooters of Kathleen’s Carrot-Rosemary Soup, online here and in the book!
Homemade Artisan Bread, which Kathleen writes about here. This was SO good, I loved the chewiness of the insides and wanted to steal the entire loaf!
The goal here is to blind-taste test four different kinds of four ingredients, ranging from cheap store brands to fancy-pants sources. Kathleen stressed that there were ”no wrong answers” – the point was to learn how vast the differences in taste, texture and quality could be for very basic standard ingredients. It was an illuminating exercise for us learning cooks!
We tried four kinds of olive oil – surprisingly my favorite was B, Kirkland-brand olive oil! “Costco shoppers rejoice!”
Chicken stock (D is missing) – my “highest rated” ended up being canned Swanson’s!
Interestingly, the home-made chicken stock rated the “worst” because it had the least seasoning. This got us thinking about how we should consider not just the flavor alone, but how the flavor would party well with its intended companion ingredients. You don’t want the richest, saltiest stock if your recipe has plenty of other seasoning included.
Sampling fresh grated parmesan, pre-shredded parmesan and manufactured. Texture was important here!
We also sampled kosher salt, Maldon salt, iodized salt and truffle salt!
My “scorecard” and cocktail!
It was so great to have a chance to meet Kathleen! She was so warm and witty, and receptive to my story about how Abby led me to her books. I’m hoping she holds some lessons or events here in her hometown after her tour!
Kathleen gave all attendees fresh rosemary from her garden!
The Kitchen Counter Cooking School was actually born out of Kathleen following a shopper at the Capitol Hill QFC and noticing all of the processed, pre-packaged foods that constituted the cart. She eventually struck up a conversation and (after some convincing) opened up the customer’s eyes with how much easier, cheaper, and healthier it could be if she tried cooking the pre-made ingredients. The book then details her trials with nine “students” who are learning how to cook and the lessons all of them learned through these experiences.
Abby has a concept about dedication that she references often. Essentially there is wanting to do something, there’s wanting to want to do something, and then there’s not truly wanting to do the thing at all. “Wanting to want” is still generally a good thing because it means your intention is there, but you have some obstacles to overcome or a mindset to lock into. So far, this book seems to be a story of Kathleen teaching people how to want to want to cook. She accomplishes that by removing the roadblocks – physical or mental or circumstantial – that keep ordinary people from believing it’s easy to get a homemade meal out on the table.
As someone learning to home cook essentially through websites, friends and cookbooks, I’m excited to include this book and her first as a resource. I look forward to discussing more once I get through both of them! Thank you to both Kathleen Flinn and Book Larder for putting on such an informative and delicious event!Posted by Lisa on 2012-09-27 18:59:44 | FEED YOU WITH A KISS