Learning How to Cook the Basics from Kathleen Flinn

Last week, the our team had the opportunity to spend a day in the kitchen with New York Times best-selling author and trained chef Kathleen Flinn. She shared many incredible stories, spanning several continents and inspiring individuals. To start, she shared the story of her experience teaching cooking skills to people with no previous understanding of cooking and a general fear of the kitchen. It turned into her best-selling book, The Kitchen Counter Cooking School – This book ended up making a great impact on both her subjects and her personal life.

The entire gatheredtable staff and I had the chance to take this cooking 101 “crash-course” in Kathleen’s home last week. Every one walked away inspired, motivated and ready to get home and test their new skills!

We wanted to share with you the staff’s top 5 favorite learnings from Kathleen’s class and a few bonus recipes provided by Kathleen.

1. “How to use your vegetable scraps” – Ryan
Any time you are in the kitchen, cutting an onion, skinning a potato, chopping the ends off a carrot- don’t throw the scraps away! These lovely ends are the makings of a perfect vegetable broth! Simply throw everything into a pot, add enough cold water to cover everything, bring to a boil and then let simmer for 3-4 hours.
Additional advice from Kathleen: “Doesn’t taste good? Let it cook an hour longer!”

2. “How to hold a knife” – Eric
The trick is to have your thumb and pointer finger on either side of the blade, applying pressure against one another.

This what we thought was the proper technique:
knife 2

And THIS is the correct way to hold a knife:

3. “How to secure a cutting board” – Jesse
Do you always find your cutting board to be sliding around while you are using it? Well, no more! Place a wet paper towel underneath your cutting board to secure it in place throughout chopping.

4. “Sticks and Cubes” – Victoria
If you are ever wondering how to easily cut a vegetable, just remind yourself of one simple phrase – “sticks and cubes.” Secure your vegetable with your left hand and cut the vegetable into sticks. Make the width as wide or as skinny as you’d like, then cut the vegetable into “cubes” by cutting in the opposite direction as before.

5. “Practice” – Aileen
If you are ever discouraged by the outcome of a meal you make, simply remind yourself that it is part of the process – and like anything in life, failure is just a quicker way of learning. Kathleen’s words of wisdom to us were, “If you make a bad meal, don’t worry because you’ll always make another one.”

Below are two amazing recipes that we made with Kathleen last week. Use the gatheredtable web clipper to add them to your library:

Carrot and rosemary soup – Kathleen Flinn

No Knead Bread – Kathleen Flinn

Want to learn more about the basic’s of cooking class we took? Here are some great links to the skills with learned with Kathleen:

More about Kathleen Flinn (via Amazon)
Kathleen Flinn is best known as the author of the New York Times bestseller “The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry,” a memoir with recipes about leaving her corporate life to study at the venerable Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and falling in love along the way. Her acclaimed follow-up, “The Kitchen Counter Cooking School: How a Few Simple Lessons Transformed Nine Culinary Novices Into Fearless Home Cooks” was named a 2012 Book of the Year by the American Society of Journalists & Authors.

Her latest book, “Burnt Toast Makes You Sing Good“, is a multi-generational culinary memoir that tracks the trials of her Midwest family.

Flinn and her books have been featured in dozens of media outlets, including People, Elle, Good Housekeeping, The Wall Street Journal, The Christian Science Monitor and CBS This Morning. She is at work on two books, one fiction and one-fiction, and teaches both cooking and food writing around the country. She and her husband, Mike, divide their time between Seattle and Anna Maria Island, Fla., their trusty rescue dog, Maddy, in tow.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s