You might be surprised to see me writing about cookbooks specifically targeted at children. You might remember a piece I wrote for Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution a while back suggesting that kids don’t need their own cookbooks – just a well-written recipe will do. Well here I am eating a little bit of humble pie.
Because whilst it’s all very well for me to say that kids don’t need their own cookbooks, a lot of feedback that I get is that it’s “easier” for me because I know how to cook (actually, anyone who has seen me in action with the boys will know that I do know a little bit about cooking but not everything. What I have going for me is that I am very organized and willing to take risks – both just as important as knowing how to cook!).
A lot of people I talk to say they love the idea of using real cookbooks when they cook with kids but that they are simply not confident enough in the kitchen to teach their kids (or others) how to cook. And it got me thinking… My generation and younger are kind of those “in between’ generations – I’m just a little bit too young to have had Home Ec as a compulsory part of my schooling as are those folks with kids or who work with them who are younger than me. I’m going to guess that this generation of kids will grow up much more skilled and confident in the kitchen that many people of my age, simply because it’s a hot topic (it should never NOT have been a hot topic in my opinion) – teaching kids about food and nutrition and how to cook is definitely something that is receiving a lot of attention these days and I think we’re becoming a lot more aware of just how important it is.
So ok then, what to do when you want to teach your kids how to cook but you’re not so confident yourself. Certainly a regular cookbook might be a little too intimidating for some to start out with and I am regularly told that even “basic” recipe books that I suggest are too complicated for some. I guess I hadn’t really thought of it in this way before which led me to do a little more research on kids’ cookbooks to see if there might be something out there that I hadn’t seen that would be of use to those with a little less confidence than me in the kitchen.
Enter these two titles from Dorling Kindersley…
When I look at a children’s cookbook, the first place I go is the contents to see what type of recipes they include. I’m impressed with the range of recipes covered in Cook It– definitely nothing overly complicated but challenging enough to make it interesting for both children and their adult supervisors!
The book includes a nice intro to nutrition – a non-intimidating section on Healthy Eating where it talks about the importance of including all five food groups in a balanced diet. I also loved that the book covers – in words and pictures – different baking and cooking techniques… This is stuff a more experienced cook might take for granted but which is invaluable for the novice (both child and adult) in the kitchen…
I’m a very visual person myself so I really appreciated the step-by-step pictures showing what the ingredients should look like at each different stage of the the recipe. Again, an instruction like “mix until all the ingredients come together” might sound straightforward for some but for others, that visual helper is invaluable.
The other title I got to check out was the DK Children’s Cookbook…
The Children’s Cookbook covers a wide range of kid-friendly (to make and eat!) meals – lots of excellent base recipes (roast chicken – a must know for anyone!) which are a great place for beginner cooks (both big and small) to start out in the kitchen. Once you have simple techniques and recipes mastered, you’re well on your way to using your creativity and putting your own spin on classic dishes.
This book also gives easy step-by-step instructions and also includes a chart on how to use the recipes. It’s a great resource for less than confident cooks helping children in the kitchen but also encourages independence in the kitchen because once a child has worked their way through one or two of the recipes, they’ll know how to read the recipes and where to find the information they need.
I love that this book includes actual photos of the ingredients – it really cant get much simpler than that. I regularly hear of people Googling ingredients they are unfamiliar with – this takes the guess work out!
Overall, I am pretty impressed with these cookbooks – enough to add them to my recipe repertoire for my youngest cooks – the Cooking Basics boys – in the fall. I know a lot of parents who love to cook with their kids but who don’t know where to start will appreciate these books as well.
A Dorling Kindersley Canada kids’ cookbook giveaway for Canadian readers!
Thanks to the kind folks at Dorling Kindersley Canada, I have one copy of “Cook It” and The Children’s Cookbook” to giveaway to a lucky Canadian reader.
How to enter:
There are 2 ways to enter (maximum of two entries per person for the duration of the contest).
1. Leave a comment on this post telling me who you’d teach to cook with these cookbooks.
2. Tweet the following message: Enter to win 2 kids’ cookbooks from @DKCanada + @eatlivtravwrite (Canada) Details: http://bit.ly/1jyNpLR then come back to leave a second comment letting me know you did.
Eligibility and contest rules:
– Open to Canadian residents only.
– No purchase of any product necessary for entry.
– Winner will be chosen randomly (using www.random.org) from all qualified entries on Sunday July 6th 2014 after 6pm EST.
– Winner will be notified via email Monday July 7th 2014.
Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of “Cook It! and The Children’s Cookbook” for review purposes. I was not asked to write about the books, nor am I being compensated for doing do. All opinions 100% my own.
Please note: The product links from Amazon, Amazon.ca and The Book Depository are affiliate links. If you click on these links and purchase the product I have linked to or any other product, I will receive a small percentage of the sale price.
Many of you will know I’m in France for most of the summer. While I will be eventually blogging about things I do here, the best way to keep up with me will be by following my photos which you can do on my Summer 2014 set on Flickr or Instagram where I am @eatlivtravwrite (if you don’t have the app on your phone you can still check out the photos online.