The Book Project: The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry

Posted: 25 January 2008 in the book project

What, Who, When: The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World’s Most Famous Cooking School by Kathleen Flinn in 2007

Why on Earth: Sometimes I’m an impluse shopper.  Not so often.  I have enough books as it is and although I often feel like I could buy everything in the bookstore, I usually walk out with nothing.  I’m afraid to be disappointed.  I don’t want to have to find a home for a book I don’t want and I won’t keep one I don’t like.  It all comes down to laziness, as usual.  So, as wonderful as the books in the bookstore look, I’m more likely to take a picture, or jot down the name of one I like and read it later, library, gift, found or, eventually, bought.

I love to cook.  I love to read about cooking.  I love to read recipes and books about recipes.  I love to read books about chefs and books about cooks.  I steer clear of celebrity chefs with the exception of one Anthony Bourdain book, which I loved and devoured in the space of a day.  Otherwise, if it involves food, it’s a likely reading candidate.  This short look at the author’s experience at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris sounded like exactly like somthing I’d like – she was an amateur, who loved food, loved cooking and fell into Le Cordon Bleu. 

Well?: I finished this book in early January and I haven’t written about it for you.  I haven’t because I felt silly for being so touched by a basic book.  It’s a simple recap; fired from her corporate job, the author flounders for a moment before her boyfriend encourages her to do what she has always wanted to do, take her savings and apply to Le Cordon Bleu and complete their basic to advanced cuisine cooking courses.  She eventually finishes and it’s as hard as you would imagine it would be.  The pages mix harsh French chefs and the obligatory French recipes with chapters on sauces, roasts and

It’s fairly well-written and inspiring without being sappy, but it hit me much harder than I expected.  As I contemplete leaving a job most people dream about for a career that I dream about, I found it hard to read the words of someone who has successfully done just that.  It brings my desperation sharply into focus and makes me more aware of being so close to the edge.  So close to done.  So close to finding out if it really was the right choice.


  1. linaria says:

    K. is obsessed with cookbooks, food blogs, cooking memoirs, anything of that nature.

    Blogs that come up in conversation more than once a day:
    anything from the Daring Bakers:

    Books that currently reside on our coffee table:
    Death Warmed Over: Funeral Food, Rituals & Customs from Around World, ISBN 1580085636

    The Soup Peddler’s Slow & Difficult Soups, ISBN 1580086519

    Cook Off: Recipe Fever in America ISBN 0670032514

    I don’t really understand the appeal. I’m a good cook but I’d rather make something to eat than read about making something to eat, you know? Nevertheless, I am surrounded, so I try to feign an interest at least.

  2. backlist says:

    Thanks for the insight! Some of those sound like particularly great reads!

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