The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry : Love, Laughter, and Tears in Paris at the World's Most Famous Cooking School
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 & Julia and the late Julia Child will be richly rewarded by this vibrant tale of self-discovery, transformation, and ultimately love.
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 p�t�� 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.)
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September 01, 2008
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