The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry by Kathleen Flinn

You know a book is going to be good when it opens with this quote:

"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all." 
- Harriet Van Horne

I'm pretty sure I gained at least 5 pounds just reading this book. If not, then over the next two weeks while I try out the recipes that follow most of the chapters I certainly will. I will enjoy every second from shopping to plating, though, because unlike Flinn... I am not being graded.

At 36, after finding herself having been made redundant while on vacation (so harsh,) Flinn takes her severance, her savings, and her boyfriend (who is an enabler, encouraging Flinn to follow her dream) and goes to Paris ti study at Le Cordon Bleu. We follow along with her as she explores Paris, entertains house guests, and drops food on the floor. We meet the other students and chefs (whose names have been changed) and Flinn manages to give us a peek into the classes while not revealing anything that the school would rather people enroll to learn. Even the recipes are Flinn's personal contributions or adaptations.

I devoured (haha) this book on a plane ride, and now I need to go to Paris and Culinary school. Flinn paints both with a brush so attractive that even the sketchy parts, the long hours, and the angry chefs come across as character building and endearing. In fact, the only thing that bothered me at all about her journey was that it wasn't longer. I wanted just a little bit more...but even as I say that I'm not sure where I wanted it to come from. The story is complete and just thorough enough. Perhaps what it I'm wanting is to read the next chapter - how much longer did they stay in Paris? What did she do with her newfound skills (aside from the book, obviously.) What is Mike doing? Her sister? What ever happened to the awful houseguests? Her classmates?  I want a sequel. And a movie. Thankfully, when you ask...the internet delivers.

Go, read, cook, eat.


101 Things I Learned in Architecture School by Matthew Frederick

This book is awesome. It's one of those pick-up, put down books - but I read it cover-to-cover. It ostensibly for Architecture students and hobbyists, but I read it with a broader view of "Architecture" so that in my head it applied to any project - from setting up my son's soon-to-be-toddler room to finally getting to the re-writes on my novel.

Examples of how to do this (chosen by randomly opening the book and looking at a page):

page 48: "If you can't explain your ideas to your grandmother in terms she understands, you don't know your subject well enough."  Apply to query letter and any synopsis ever required.

page 8: "Architecture is the thoughtful making of space." - Louis Kahn. Ever stared at a blank page? A blank room? A blank website? You're "making space" and hopefully - doing so thoughtfully.

page 82: "True architectural style does not come from a conscious effort to create a particular look. It results obliquely - even accidentally - out of a holistic process." AMEN.

rinse, repeat. If you create anything from scratch - science projects, skirts, business plans, buildings, characters - this needs to reside on your shelf.

The only thing I'm left wondering is why I took so long to read it.

Bonus: there's whole series.


Hornby Rocks My World

I love Nick Hornby (obviously) and I love Ben Folds (what's not to love?) and Pomplamoose has been in heavy rotation since I discovered their rendition of My Favorite Things last winter.

And then you put them together and get awesomeness.

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