Read The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn Online


In 2003, Kathleen Flinn, a thirty-six-year-old American living and working in London, returned from vacation to find that her corporate job had been eliminated. Ignoring her mother’s advice that she get another job immediately or “never get hired anywhere ever again,” Flinn instead cleared out her savings and moved to Paris to pursue a dream-a diploma from the famed Le CorIn 2003, Kathleen Flinn, a thirty-six-year-old American living and working in London, returned from vacation to find that her corporate job had been eliminated. Ignoring her mother’s advice that she get another job immediately or “never get hired anywhere ever again,” Flinn instead cleared out her savings and moved to Paris to pursue a dream-a diploma from the famed Le Cordon Bleu.The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry is the touching and remarkably funny account of Flinn’s transformation as she moves through the school’s intense program and falls deeply in love along the way. Flinn interweaves more than two dozen recipes with a unique look inside Le Cordon Bleu amid battles with demanding chefs, competitive classmates, and her “wretchedly inadequate” French. Flinn offers a vibrant portrait of Paris, one in which the sights and sounds of the city’s street markets and purveyors come alive in rich detail.The ultimate wish fulfillment book, her story is a true testament to pursuing a dream. Fans of Julie & Julia, My LIfe in France, and Eat, Pray, Love will be amused, inspired, and richly rewarded by this seductive tale of romance, Paris, and French food....

Title : The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780670018222
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 285 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School Reviews

  • Petra X
    2019-06-08 23:52

    How do you rate a book 5*, what criteria do you use? I can tell you when a book is 10 star, so far above anything else in story, characterisation and writing that you know you probably won't read a better book that year. (view spoiler)[This year, for me, I've already read the book, The Book of Night Women. Any book that has me on the side of someone who burns babies alive has to be an extraordinary writer. (hide spoiler)] This book is not like that. It is, however, quite well-written, the recipes at the end of every chapter are detailed, the experiences the author had at Le Cordon Bleu were interesting and the author and her husband are very likeable people. Each part is maybe 3/3.5 stars. I liked each part. But, it's as the saying goes, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Like a recipe. Eggs, flour, butter, sugar and vanilla essence are quite ordinary, but combined, ah, a cake with a buttercream filling and a pretty, frosted top, that's something else. And so it is with the book. And as with the cake, after finishing the book, you first thought is "that was really nice, that was good" and you smile and go about your business in a very good mood indeed. (view spoiler)[Don't bother with the book if you are looking for a book on the lessons of a cooking school, Michael Ruhlman is better for that. (hide spoiler)]

  • Rozanne
    2019-06-10 21:44

    The parts about what it's like to be at cooking school were really interesting. The parts about what it's like to be Kathleen Flinn were not.

  • Margitte
    2019-06-10 02:41

    The challenge of cooking at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school; great recipes, and some personal memories in between. Food as art. A memoir.On the look of food, from El Bulli cuisine:" A culinary language is being created which is becoming more and more ordered, that on some occasions establishes a relationship with the world and language of art.”This is a great read for cooks and aspiring chefs (I'm not one of the latter).The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn is a memoir, and therefor a different path from The Hundred-Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais, which is a mesmerizing, beautiful novel. To compare the two will be unfair. What the two books have in common is the behind-the-scenes tale of professional French cooking. The books of Julia Child played a big role in this memoir.The tasteless inclusion of salacious tidbits brought the rating way down. Out of place. I want to read about food, not forced into voyeurism! "Good morning, sexy" and "Good evening, handsome" .... well yes ... whatever! The rest of it don't deserve any mentioning. Sharing life in France, the people, the environment in which the author spend the months in Paris, were wonderful.I was amazed at this comment: " ...pungent mounds of dried spices." Not my experience in a spice market at all. In fact, it was a mesmerizing, exhilarating experience for me to be there. The most amazing place to ever visit.The author scored a point by buying Veuve Clicquot champagne. ... :-))The Widow Clicquot: The Story of Champagne.I do not plan to change my take on preparing soups and I suspect the author did not either.The soup seems painfully laborious. Most vegetables are cooked separately and then brought together in the end. To make the soup, Chef uses no fewer than eleven pans, five passoires, three chinois, and a dozen stainless bowls ... I will force this moron to wash the dishes by hand, all by himself, and see if he would want to repeat this madness, right?Lolol.There are really some great tips in the book, for instance how to cube an onion - the origin of this book's title. The method is demonstrated on Youtube (French Cooking Lessons). My solution, since we often handle a whole bag of onions for big groups, is to fill a big bowl with cold water, and then just slice the onions under water. The gasses are then released into the water, and not into the air. Elementary, my dear Watson. Lift the onions out of the water with a strainer, dry it in a salad spinner. Fearless and tearless, ready to use. Playing with garnishing, which also tastes delicious, is really fun. Well-presented food always establishes the festiveness of an occasion, right? The book provides great tips on this matter. Inspiring.The memoir reads like a letter from a good friend: chatty, funny, personal. Including a touch of personal horn-blowing. Expected in a memoir, right?Overall a really enjoyable experience. Who remembers the hilarious movie "Julie and Julia" with Meryl Streep in the lead? This memoir is similar. In fact, there's a strong Julia Child-tone, feeling, to this book, and many references to her work. And then a bouquet garni of Julie's experiences.Lovely read!

  • Genene Murphy
    2019-06-14 01:40

    Sometimes there's more to a story than what's printed on its pages. For example, my copy is stained with wine and chicken stock. And I suspect that's what Flinn intended: to give an experience. Reading the first chapter, I knew that this would sit on my kitchen counter and not in my shelves. And if the vicarious experience of living in France and falling in love--with cooking and a guy named Mike--isn't enough, consider the discovery between recipes and insider accounts of what happens at a famous cooking school. Consider Flinn's tone. She explores life decisions and doubts--that either cloud or crystallize her future--with an easy, likable narrative, a story that you might overhear at a bar. (She got fired? Are you kidding? And then what?) And while the story meanders a bit, you're willing to follow it through to discover what could be; it's much like cooking. Once you start, you have to finish. And it might leave you wanting more. An excellent read. Enjoy with a robust glass of wine. And follow with a somewhat drunken call to your friends while making chicken stock.

  • Kate
    2019-06-13 22:48

    Thoroughly disappointing as a culinary memoir. I second what one reader said before in that there's absolutely no conflict at the heart of the story. Kathleen begins this novel as a chef and ends it as a chef, albeit one who can now add puff pastry to her repertoire. Even when Mike is in the hospital, or Kathleen experiences a terrifying kidney infection, her carefree voice and sparse prose treat it as a minor annoyance, along the lines of a clogged toilet. Tra la la, tra la la, we get it. Your life is charmed. You live in a stunning flat where the price is inordinately lower than you expected. The amazing chef of a three-star Michelin restaurant adores you because your conversation is so full of wit and charm. Your gorgey-studmuffin boyfriend drops everything to come be with you. Your one fight lasts all of three sentences. Oh darn, obnoxious houseguests who stole my towels! Oh darn, I have to be up at 5 am to go to a fruit and vegetable stand before they run out of endives! Oh darn, my duck l'orange is too crispy! My life blows!I was almost insulted with the descriptions of characters. Flinn brought them in, introduced them, then dropped them. She ran through the obligatory pieces about their quirks and mayyybe a few sentences about how they "evolved" at Cordon Bleu, but it was so obnoxiously superficial. The part that really made me *headdesk* was when she felt that she could understand "war" because she could visualize Jovina (is that her name?) crying over her husband in Afghanistan. Vom. Spare me.The only reason that this gets two stars is because the food descriptions and the cooking descriptions were vastly rewarding. This is where Flinn shines. Unfortunately, she does a better job describing how to gut a fish then she does describing her husband.

  • Julia
    2019-05-31 03:28

    The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry, is a lovely read. No stranger to stories about food, I found this particular piece interesting because it ventures beyond the personal associations we all have with food and channels the deep seeded desire we all have to drop everything and pursue the one thing we love, in this case cooking. The author's voice is clear, while she discusses her daily successes and failures in the kitchen, she leads the reader through a tour of culinary paris, and a trip through her emotional maelstroms. Her trials in the kitchen of Le Cordon Bleu culinary school guide her through the difficulties adjusting to life as an unemployed, newly married American expatriate living in Paris. This book makes me want to move to Paris, rent a tiny apartment and learn to speak french so I can invite my friends to partake in the experience with me. And maybe, in the process, become a chef.

  • Christine
    2019-06-03 20:43

    Gosh, it's been a long time since I've read a book I didn't like. Unfortunately, I read this upon returning from France, and so perhaps I had too high expectations for it, but Flinn's narrative is just sort of lame. I got about halfway through the book before deciding that life was too short to waste it on a mediocre read, and I moved on. The recipes and the descriptions of the inner workings of Le Cordon Bleu are really interesting, but Flinn herself is a little annoying. Sometimes you feel she's digging for some spectacular insight on being a foreigner in France or being novice chef in a world famous cooking school, but then she just sort of drops the ball and the chapter ends. If you're interested in Le Cordon Bleu, this might be interesting, but otherwise there are better food/travel memoirs out there (Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert or Almost French by Sarah Turnbull).

  • minervasowl
    2019-05-29 00:35

    Amazing (as indicated by a five-star rating on this site) might be a bit strong, but it is a wonderful book, and I enjoyed it immensely.Flinn's account of her Le Cordon Bleu adventure is in many ways what I had hoped that How to Cook a Dragon would be.There is a lovely combination of romance and reality of living in Paris and attending the legendary cooking school.The food and experiences and stories and characters are skillfully interwoven, and the result is an inspiring nudge to follow your own dreams and see where they take you, even (and perhaps especially) if they do not lead you farther along your career path or up a corporate ladder.

  • Alexa Hamilton
    2019-06-01 03:50

    I sat down and read this book in an evening because I love food and I love the idea that people go do these crazy, rigorous courses in other countries to learn how to cook incredible food, every time. And they talk about tasty, tasty food a lot. There is a recipe at the end of every chapter and most have some relation to what Kathleen is cooking as part of Le Cordon Bleu's course so most of it is very classic and meaty, which sounds great but isn't really what I cook. Don't read the book for the recipes, read it to find out what taking a course at Le Cordon Bleu is like, and of course, to wish that your life sounded as together as Kathleen Flinn's when you put it on paper.

  • Hessa
    2019-06-02 00:40

    Already unmoved by it. I am currently attending this said school and i must say there is more drama and "vivre" in the classroom than her writing. its flat. nothing simmers or boils from the pages. i expected it to be transcendent, with language far more flowery and humorous than this. although it is quite accurate in detailing the events of the school,however the plot is vague. I'd recommend it if you really want to know what its like being a culinary student in Paris. Otherwise, pick up eat, pray, love, if you haven't read it already.

  • Lynn
    2019-05-25 23:25

    It’s not the first time such an experience is recorded and published. Michael Ruhlman shared his journey in the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), the Harvard of cooking schools in The Making of a Chef. Katherine Darling gave us a glimpse of her life in New York City’s famed French Culinary Institute in her memoir – Under the Table and Dalia Jurgensen showed us the real kitchen scene through her writing in Spiced: A Pastry Chef’s True Stories of Trials by Fire, After-Hours Exploits and What Really Goes on in the Kitchen. Of these, I love Kathleen Flinn’s The Sharper your Knives, the Less you Cry the most.Ruhlman’s book was great and detailed and his account made me feel like I was a participant in CIA. However, perhaps I’m a woman and could identify more with what Kathleen has gone through. Hers was not just about her journey in the famed Le Cordon Bleu (Paris) but of her struggles when she was laid off, the choices that she had to make and of her relationship with her then boyfriend-turned-fiance-turned-husband. Her tales were personal, yet compelling and I could hardly bear to put down the book. A bonus – I love her literary style.

  • Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
    2019-05-30 23:52

    I loved the parts about the cooking but the other parts about her life just about bored me to tears. The thing is this is my favorite type of book and it just didn't do it for me.

  • Nicole
    2019-05-18 01:38

    Kathleen Flinn's memoir of her time at Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris made me really happy, really inspired to do things I've always wanted to do, and really hungry. Of course, the book is filled with various recipes that feature prominently in the various chapters, and most of them are adapted or at least something that could reasonably be achieved by the home cook. Flinn's story is really heartfelt; just like a good meal, it is obvious that the author's heart and soul went into its production. Especially touching is her relationship with her husband, who always supports her and encourages her to do her best and follow her dreams, even when she feels they are somewhat silly or unrealistic. Like attending the world's most famous cooking school, in a foreign language. I really appreciated that Flinn included the French language pieces in French; too often, books with the action in a foreign language relate the experience in English, and it fails to express the inevitable confusions that happen when someone is not speaking their native language. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to take a chance on their future, or on love, or on herself. I felt really attached to Kathleen's story and her journey; it is impossible to not root for her and her accomplishments.

  • Vikki
    2019-06-04 21:40

    I loved this cooking memoir! Kathleen Flinn is a journalist. She went to Le Cordon Bleu in Paris and graduated. She took and passed all three classes-Basic, Intermediate, and Superior. It was so interesting to hear how it all worked. She is a great writer and very funny.Flinn had met Julia Child on two separate occasions. She had gone to a cooking workshop at a fancy resort before she (Flinn) went to Le Cordon Bleu. A woman came in late and sat next to her saying the salmon at breakfast was so good she just had to finish it (thus, she was late). And it was Julia Child! Our author commented to her that she was surprised that she was taking this class and Julia said something to the effect that there is always so much to learn. Flinn told her that she had a secret dream to follow in her footsteps and go to Le Cordon Bleu. A few years later Flinn again ran into Julia Child. Julia remembered her and asked if she had gone to Le Cordon Bleu yet. Amazing woman that Julia! Flinn describes her classmates, assignments, the finals, and includes recipes in this wonderful book. One thing I will always remember from reading this book in my amateurish cooking is to Taste, Taste, Taste!

  • Chris
    2019-06-11 03:40

    While I enjoyed this journey with Flinn to the famed Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris, I couldn't help but feel something was missing. She described going to class, the demonstrations, what it is like to live in Paris, etc., but I didn't get a feel for what really goes on when you are a student. She learns all these fancy French dishes, but I wanted the nitty gritty, HOW do you learn how to make these? Some of the students weren't even cooks, how did they learn? There were translators, but I found it really incredible that she went knowing little to know French--she was living in Paris! More focus was spent, I felt, on her fellow students rather than the process. That's what I wanted as a reader and cook. I also got a bit weary of her perfect, yes perfect, fiancé then husband, who put his life on hold, literally, while she went to cooking school. You may see a trend in that almost every year I read a book (usually a food memoir) of an American living and cooking in Paris. Check out my food memoir bookshelf, the books by David Lebovitz and Elizabeth Bard and head and shoulders above this one.

  • Ricardo
    2019-06-12 01:41

    We listened to this as a family on a series of highway trips and really enjoyed it. The author decides to attend Le Cordon Bleu, the famous Paris culinary school, after getting laid off from a high-powered job in London. She tells a double story, that of her studies at the school and that of her romance with the man who encourages her to go to Paris, joins her there, and eventually becomes her husband. Highlights include her anecdotes about apartment life in Paris, and her often fraught relationships with the various chefs she must impress in order to finish the three part course on "Cuisine." The audio book includes the recipes that appear in the print edition. These are read aloud in between chapters, right after the episode in which the particular dish has been the subject of a lesson of some sort, whether in cooking or in life.

  • Donny
    2019-05-25 01:44

    With her journalist background, Flinn is a better reporter than writer. Her prose is sometimes lacking (and sometimes downright embarrassing, especially when she reaches for insight), but her story (a woman in her 30's who's laid off so she uses all her savings to attend Le Cordon Bleu in Paris) is still interesting. Just hearing how the famous school works, with its difficult teachers, competitive students and crazy assignments (so much meat stuffed with meat stuffed with meat!) is good enough to get through this quick read.

  • Kase! Wickman
    2019-06-09 20:51

    one line review!alternate title: eat, complain about your non-existent white people problems, lovemore lines review!I’ve been lugging Kathleen Flinn’s “The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry” from undersized East Coast apartment to undersized East Coast apartment for at least three years. Each time I nestled the press galley copy I snagged from a sophomore year internship onto the shelf, I’d consider reading it, then take a nap. (Actually, let’s not kid ourselves with the shelves — what are floors for, anyway?)Years later, after reading hundreds of pages of Flinn whimpering and whining her way through learning to cook at Le Cordon Bleu and “learning to love” in Paris, I realize I probably had the right idea with all the naps. Suh-nooooze.Flinn is abruptly fired from her job in London, and, with the unyielding support of her long-distance boyfriend Mike, decides to Fulfill Her Dreams and follow in Julia Childs’ enormous, buttery footsteps, all the way to the world’s most famous cooking school. Oh, and Mike is totally prepared to quit his job in Seattle and move to France to be with her! And both of them have enough accrued wealth to accommodate this obvious set-up for a memoir mid-life crisis DREAM COME TRUE.Guess what! Kathleen and Mike never run out of luck or love — they get married, and Flinn’s greatest foes are a cranky chef and the butter-heavy cuisine that begins to show on her oh-so-slim (as she’s happy to point out throughout the book). Quelle désastre! Quelle…a premise for a book!Flinn’s memories of culinary school, between loving portraits of her beautiful international classmates and lovely descriptions of baguettes and wine and blah blah tell us again how you’re 120 pounds but daily gnaw butter directly off the cube whilst cooking, are begging for a minimally adapted screenplay, complete with one token shot of a monkey, a la Eat, Pray, Love.Of course, I was one of the millions of suckers who paid actual money to see Julia Roberts discover herself in a plate of butter noodles, so, you know. I’ll see you in line when The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry becomes the vehicle for Katherine Heigl’s inevitable likability campaign. (What a jerk that one is.)

  • Grillables
    2019-06-14 23:23

    It was probably a mistake to read this so soon after _My Life in France_, as it suffered in comparison. This is the story of a corporate type who gets laid off and decides to pursue a lifelong dream of taking classes at Le Cordon Bleu. Not a bad story, but definitely rather superficial. For those more interested in the actual cooking/classes, try Michael Ruhlman's _The Making of a Chef_; for Francophile enthusiasm, try _My Life in France_.

  • Joelle Anthony
    2019-05-21 23:44

    I give it 5 stars, but a warning. If you're a vegetarian, with a strong constitution, then 4 stars. If you're a squeamish veggie, then 3 or maybe you should skip it altogether. I liked the writing though and the way it was put together and even though I'm a bit of a squeamish vegetarian, I managed to get through all right. I enjoyed it enough to live with that aspect of it. My favourite chapter is actually the epilogue, but it wouldn't do you any good to skip to it because you have to have the build of the whole memoir for it to have any impact.The only thing I found annoying about it was all the English translation for the French. I don't really think the author could've done it differently though. Those who don't speak French need it, and those who understand it, just have to put up with the repetition of having it translated. Having the French is great because it adds so much flavour.

  • Kathy
    2019-06-12 02:52

    This book is not for the squeamish! I thought it would be interesting to see what it's like for students attending Le Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris and it was...but I had no idea that when they prepare any sort of meat or fish, the creature has not been anywhere near a butcher. The students ARE the butchers. Don't even ask me to explain how they get the eyes out of a dead fish or what it's like to behead small furry creatures that are pets in America. An eerie fascination took over and I read the entire book and enjoyed it for the most part :) Do not read it if you enjoy croissants or other puff pastries because it will tell you EXACTLY how much butter is in them :( I enjoyed the author's humor as she described the interaction amongst students & chefs and also managed to throw in a great deal of description of the wonders of Paris itself.

  • Text Addict
    2019-06-16 20:33

    A nice, light memoir of the author's decision to go to, and time at, Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Great on details about cooking techniques and living in Paris, pedestrian on insight. Not wrong, mind you, just not exactly a surprise. I admit one reason that I give it only 3 stars may be that it convinced me that I'd never want to go to Le Cordon Bleu, even if I could afford it. First, too much stress - though she points out that a lot of that is what you bring to it. Second, too much pork and shellfish, which I don't eat. Disappointing, though I really shouldn't have been so surprised. On the other hand, it did inspire me to discover that there's a kosher culinary school in Brooklyn. Much cheaper, too ... and it has recreational classes. Hmmm.

  • Kathye Allen
    2019-06-10 23:51

    While I have never had the urge to live in Paris or attend Le Courdon Bleu, I throughly enjoyed the authors telling of her time there. If you like to cook or travel or both, you will find this a good easy read. For anyone (myself included)who likes to read cookbooks like novels the fact that Ms Flinn includes some very tasyt sound receipes is just the icing on the cake.

  • Marissa
    2019-05-25 01:30

    I enjoy the I-did-something-crazy-and-wrote-a-book-about-it genre. This book was an interesting glimpse into Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. It didn't make me want to learn to cook, but did make me want to visit Paris and work on my French!

  • J.H. Moncrieff
    2019-06-09 00:44

    3.5 starsThis mildly entertaining account of a fired exec who earns a degree at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris has one big, fatal flaw: talking down to the reader. We are introduced to translators who repeat the instructions of the French-speaking chefs, which makes sense. But every time they say something, we are reminded that they are translating, or told once again that they are translators. It quickly became quite irritating, as did having very basic, obvious French translated, or having the same phrases translated over and over again.I'm wondering if this was something Flinn's editors insisted upon, and no fault of the author, but it got frustrating to read a book that assumed readers couldn't put two and two together.Perhaps this is why Flinn's story, though interesting, never really got its hooks in me. But there's also not much revealed about how she evolves through the experience, except for an afterthought tacked on at the end. She must have felt intense fear about losing her job and spending all of her savings, not to mention the culture shock of living in Paris and not speaking the language, but this is mostly glossed over in favour of a play-by-play of her daily cooking lessons.

  • Peri Dotty
    2019-05-22 21:23

    Eh. It didn't suck and I read the whole thing (okay I skipped a lot of the love life stuff) but the book left no positive lasting impressions. I would have liked 80% more cooking-related experiences and 100% less sniping on other women (who were all out to steal her boyfriend [surejan.gif]). Obviously personal relationships are often at the core of our lives, so I understand why Flinn included some of her personal stories; however, just as often the personal stories overshadowed the rest of the life experience, which I anticipated would revolve around learning how to cook and cooking school. Much of Flinn's personality came across as whiny and insecure. There were a lot of complaints that didn't add anything to the story, such as a 'long' commute; ignorance of French culture; ignorance of French -- hey maybe before you move to France to attend cooking school that is *in French*, take some classes!; an ill-fitting uniform. The recipes at the end of each chapter felt extraneous, as often the dish did not match anything she'd written about in the chapter. And, of course they were all recipes for professional chefs, which your mass-reader will not be, so that also felt disconnected. Just didn't click for me.

  • Barbara
    2019-05-18 21:31

    An interesting look into what it's like to study at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. This is a memoir of Kathleen Flynn and the story is very personal. We get acquainted with some of her fellow students, the chefs, and her fiancé whom she marries during the course of the narrative. There is a recipe at the end of each chapter, and some of them look doable, while others appear more complicated. I enjoyed the book, but I like the follow up to this, "The Kitchen Counter Cooking School" better.

  • Rita
    2019-06-14 20:53

    Excellent read. I have zero desire to actually implement the recipes (except for the french onion soup and, ok, the crepe with bananas and nutella) but that does not matter a bit -- it's all about the people and the story, all very well told.

  • Chris
    2019-06-17 04:41

    This book combined two things I enjoy reading about - food and France. It was an early ambition of mine, inspired by watching The Duchess of Duke Street on PBS of all things, to work in a kitchen. I have long realized that it's fortunate I never pursued that ambition since I lack both the physical and intestinal fortitude necessary, based on every kitchen memoir I've ever read. Visiting France is still on the table, although no longer top of my travel wish list. In this book, Kathleen Flinn does what I always used to assume I wanted to do. When she is fired from her job, she cashes in her savings and goes to Paris to study at the Cordon Bleu school. She describes her classes, the chefs, the food, her classmates, and her experiences living in Paris with initially marginal French skills. She also describes a bit about her childhood and what in it led to her love of cooking, which was interesting enough. Her current personal life was less compelling, but journeys of butter-and-cream-fueled self-discovery do not happen in a vacuum, and she did have a couple of major events in her personal life that may have felt too integral to leave out. I didn't mind them, but they didn't captivate me. I feel this book is not destined to be a classic about either food or France (Anthony Bourdain and Joanne Harris still my favorites), but it was an enjoyable read nonetheless. I found Flinn to be quite an engaging narrator, lighter and more matter-of-fact (and far less irritating) than Julie Powell (Julie & Julia) and Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love). She learns some life lessons along the way, but neither whines nor navel-gazes.

  • Patrice Sartor
    2019-05-24 00:23

    3.5 stars.This was my Food for Thought's book selection for November. I was wary after reading the subtitle, for in this book club we've read a number of books where someone graduated cooking school and wrote about their experiences. I usually find these whiny, overly dramatic, and filled with mediocre writing.Flinn's title, I'm happy to say, didn't feel whiny at all. Probably because of that, and her entertaining tales of her fellow students and chefs, I finished it. Flinn's background in journalism and experience with blog writing may have enabled her to pen a better cooking school memoir than I'm used to.Still, I found the gushing lovey-dovey stuff about her boyfriend-eventual husband a bit too much. Okay, you are dating the perfect man for you, I get it. He's SO VERY WONDERFUL. Got it. Those sections are why it took me (what felt like) so long to finish the book. But hey, at least she is no-nonsense, and didn't whine. She has become, like her blog, fearless in the kitchen.All of the recipes sound great, and they tie into the chapters well. The back of the book offers an index of recipes, and even cooler, a menu planner for book clubs. Neat extras.