In this three-part memoir, Kathleen Flinn takes us through a lesson by lesson tour of her time at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, France. Shortly after being fired from her work in London, her boyfriend convinces her to follow her dream of attending the famed cooking school. The book is filled with Paris, recipes, experiences and memories of a very unique time in the country of haute cuisine.
As much as I liked Kitchen Counter Cooking School, The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry fell a little short. Although the book had all the right ingredients, the souffle collapsed, one would say. For one thing, she has a penchant for overly long titles with even longer and unnecessary subtitles. I had no immediate attachment to her or her story, despite having read and enjoyed her second book, Kitchen Counter Cooking School. I didn’t get into her experiences outside of the school, and even her time in class were teetering between boring and self-congratulatory.
Flinn has had a passion for cooking since childhood. She somehow got sidetracked from this passion by entering the journalism field. Despite the fact that being fired allowed her the opportunity to pursue her culinary passion, she holds a major grudge against the corporate world, and brings up being fired a few times too many. Her escapades around Paris with her boyfriend were amusing, particularly the incredibly rude house-guests. I felt really had for her at that point. I thought her time and experiences at Le Cordon Bleu to be really interesting, and had me wanting to go to some sort of cooking school in the Bay Area, or at the very least just cook more than 2x a week and make something other than stir-fry or various forms of baked chicken. A small element that I found comical is that there are two endorsements by Elizabeth Gilbert on this book, one on the front cover and one on the back.
I’d love to have her opportunities and good fortune to be able to devote that much time, effort and money into a passion of mine. I do admire her gusto, and the courage it took to set up a new life in Paris to attend cooking school. I think its awesome that she took her knowledge and used it to teach normal people how to enhance their meals back in Seattle, where she currently resides.