Saturday, April 9, 2011

BOOK REVIEW - "The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry" by Kathleen Flinn

The book, The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry, by Kathleen Flinn ("Kat") isn't a literary piece but it is delightful reading for people like me who enjoy reading cookbooks in bed before going to sleep.   The author had been working as a journalist, principally in the food sector, prior to deciding in 2003 to pursue her dream of attending the venerable Le Cordon Bleu culinary institute in Paris.   The book is based on her 600 pages of personal notes, 120 hours of audio recordings, and selections from the 300-plus recipes in the Cordon Bleu program.  Her experiences at the school include demanding yet charming instructors, struggling classmates, and fascinating food ordeals and trivia.  Woven through the book is Kat's developing relationship with Mike, who follows her to Paris to set up a life together.  If that isn't enough fun reading, the book also contains mouth-watering recipes!  Following is one from the book.

* 1-1/2 pounds chicken pieces, skin removed
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1/2 chopped onion
* 2 large chopped carrots
* 2 stalks chopped celery
* 1/2 cup white wine
* 5 quarts chicken stock (may substitute water for half)
* 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence (may substitute thyme or mixed Italian herbs)
* 1/2 bunch parsley, 1/2 bunch thyme, 3 bay leaves - all tied together in a bunch
* 4 garlic cloves, minced
* 2 ounces wide noodles (or substitute per your preference)
* 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus fresh pepper to taste
* 2 teaspoons minced parsley (optional)
Rinse the chicken under cold water; pat dry.  Trim any excess fat.  Set aside.  In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat.  Add the onions, carrots, and celery and cook, stirring regularly, until softened.  Add the white wine and stir the bottom to loosen any brown bits as it reduces by one half.  Add the stock and/or water.  Heat through.  Add the chicken.  Bring to a low boil, skimming fat and foam from the surface.  When it appears that no more skimming is necessary, drop the heat to a simmer and add the herbs.  Simmer partially covered for a half hour.  Add the garlic.  Simmer another half hour.  Remove the chicken from the soup with tongs.  Continue to simmer the liquid for a few moments while the chicken cools.  Remove the meat from the chicken and shred it into pieces and return to the pot.  Add the noodles and increase the heat to a gentle boil, then cook until soft.  Skim off any foam and check seasonings, adding salt and pepper as needed.  Remove tied herbs.  Stir in the fresh parsley. 

NOTE:  When reading other cooks' reviews on various websites (e.g. and it is advisable to first assess the culinary credibility of the reviewer.  The same goes with this blog!  Although I haven't tested this recipe I trust Kathleen Flinn's culinary credibility and will definitely make this recipe.  It sounds perfect!


  1. Wow, that recipe is long and complicated. Of course, my audience would be more attuned to books like "The 4-Ingredient Cookbook."

  2. Well, when you're just throwing things into a pot, it's no problem adding lots of things. Seriously, make this! Freeze it. Next time you have a cold, pull it out of the freezer and enjoy. Just what the doctor ordered!

  3. It looks like a tasty recipe to me! It doesn't seem too long to me. I think the book sounds really interesting too! :)