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The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking Schoolby Kathleen Flinn
Synopses & Reviews
The Wednesday Chef cooks her heart out, finds her way home, and shares her recipes with us
It takes courage to turn your life upside down, especially when everyone is telling you how lucky you are. But sometimes what seems right can feel deeply wrong. My Berlin Kitchen tells the story of how one thoroughly confused, kitchen-mad perfectionist broke off her engagement to a handsome New Yorker, quit her dream job, and found her way to a new life, a new man, and a new home in Berlin—one recipe at a time.
Luisa Weiss grew up with a divided heart, shuttling back and forth between her father in Boston and her Italian mother in Berlin. She was always yearning for home—until she found a new home in the kitchen. Luisa started clipping recipes in college and was a cookbook editor in New York when she decided to bake, roast, and stew her way through her by then unwieldy collection over the course of one tumultuous year. The blog she wrote to document her adventures in (and out) of the kitchen, The Wednesday Chef, soon became a sensation. But she never stopped hankering for Berlin.
Luisa will seduce you with her stories of foraging for plums in abandoned orchards, battling with white asparagus at the tail end of the season, orchestrating a three-family Thanksgiving in Berlin, and mending her broken heart with batches (and batches) of impossible German Christmas cookies. Fans of her award-winning blog will know the happy ending, but anyone who enjoyed Julie and Julia will laugh and cheer and cook alongside Luisa as she takes us into her heart and tells us how she gave up everything only to find love waiting where she least expected it.
"'When the author, an American journalist and software executive working in London, is sacked from her high-powered job, she enrolls as a student at the Cordon Bleu school in Paris. With limited cooking skills and grasp of the French language, she gamely attempts to master the school's challenging curriculum of traditional French cuisine. As if she didn't have enough on her plate eviscerating fish and knocking out pt choux, she determines to write a book about her experience and gets married along the way. The result is a readable if sentimental chronicle of that year in Paris in which her love life is explored in great detail, dirty weekends and all, and cooking features as a metaphor for self-discovery. Some readers may feel disappointed that the narrator's encounters with French cookery remain largely confined to her lessons at the Cordon Bleu. On those rare occasions when she ventures into the food-obsessed city, the descriptions of meals are glancing at best. Although her struggles with the language and lack of knowledge about the culture lend comic elements to the story (once, trying to order a pizza over the phone, she said, 'Je suis une pizza' — I am a pizza), they, too, constrain the author's culinary explorations. (Oct.)' Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"The book is best when [Flinn] sticks to cooking, France's culinary history, diverse regional traditions and the challenges of meeting the impeccable standards of Le Cordon Bleu's demanding chefs. A fascinating look inside a famed elite institution." Kirkus Reviews
Read Kathleen Flinn's posts on the Penguin Blog.
This is the funny and inspiring account of Kathleen Flinn’s struggle in a stew of hot-tempered chefs, competitive classmates, her own “wretchedly inadequate” French, and the basics of French cuisine. Flinn was a thirty-six-year-old middle manager trapped on the corporate ladder—until her boss eliminated her job. So she cashed in her savings and moved to Paris to pursue her lifelong dream of attending the venerable Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. Fans of Julie and Julia and the late Julia Child will be richly rewarded by this vibrant tale of self-discovery, transformation, and ultimately love.
In 2003, Flinn, a 36-year-old American living and working in London, cleared out her savings and moved to Paris to pursue a dream diploma from the famed Le Cordon Bleu cooking school. The ultimate wish fulfillment book, her story is a true testament to pursuing a dream.
About the Author
Kathleen Flinn has been a writer and journalist for nearly twenty years. Her work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, USA Today, and many other publications.
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