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The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry    by Kathleen Flinn order for
Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry
by Kathleen Flinn
Order:  USA  Can
Penguin, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Thirty-six year-old Kathleen Flinn sat back on her heels and contemplated what her next move would be when her job on the corporate ladder in London was eliminated. Cashing in her savings, and with a gentle push from her boyfriend, she moved to Paris and enrolled in the world famous cooking school, Cordon Bleu.

It was a bold move and one that entailed hard work, lots of failures along the way, good food and a true sense of accomplishment when she graduated. (In case you're wondering why the name for the title, I'll let you discover that for yourself, as I did. So simple.)

The streets of Paris - as well as the denizens of local restaurants and bistros - become familiar through Kathleen's ramblings with Mike, who encourages her at every turn. We meet the homeless man who cherished her containers of extra food. We learn the locations of markets and shops where the ingredients for the recipes that she cooked at the school were procured - basic recipes that could launch her on to her own interpretations. My daughter graduated from the Culinary Institute of America, so I identified with Kathleen's care of her knives, which she carried with her in their own special cases - and so much more that my own daughter learned to her family's gustatory delight.

I'm sure almost everyone at one time or another has had the desire to attend this school. Not many make that dream come true. Kathleen worked hard and long hours and suffered the displeasure of the teaching chefs who she realized later were pushing her to her limits to achieve her goal. She made good friends with other students from various countries, all there for their very own particular reasons - not all of them wanted to work in or own their very own restaurant. Kathleen's goal wasn't completely clear to her she is a journalist. But we can all benefit from the school's recipes that she has included at the end of every chapter. Luscious recipes that make one want to head to the kitchen and start cooking.

I found The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry an entirely delightful book, as I suffered with the author through her trials and tribulations and gloried in her triumphs.

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