It’s been a bumper fall for new cookbook releases and I’ve been so excited to see a bunch of wonderful cookbooks for kids this year too! Have some budding chefs on your holiday list? These might be just the thing!
Kid Chef Bakes
You might remember I reviewed Kid Chef Bakes a while back (see here for my full review) and was impressed. The companion to the popular Kid Chef) it’s targeted at 8-13 year olds and is perfect for both beginner bakers as well as more ambitious little chefs. With bright pastels, full colour images and lots of tasty-sounding recipes, it’s not only fun to look through but also a great place to start for kids who want to learn some basic and more complex techniques and recipes.
The book is divided into two sections (Baking School – In the Baker’s Kitchen and Baking Skills – and Recipes) with two Appendices, a Glossary, a Resources section and a Recipe Index. The In the Baker’s Kitchen section discusses must-know information including things to do to prepare to bake, a list of items for the baker’s pantry, equipment for bakers and safety tips. The Baking Skills section is a must-read section for any kid baker wishing to undertake the recipes in the book – teaching everything from how to properly measure liquids to how to test if your baking soda is still active! While the majority of the recipes are sweet, there is one chapter with savoury baked goods with 11 recipes for things like pesto straws, bread rolls and quiche and other non-dessert (i.e. sandwich bread) recipes scattered through the book but the emphasis is definitely on desserts and treats. There are classics like angel food cake, a really good looking loaf of banana bread, biscuits and scones, muffins, some gluten-free items like a flourless chocolate cake, cupcakes, bars and cookies, although I’d argue that ambitious kid bakers might want a few more challenging items (there are recipes like profiteroles but I might have expected a fancy layer birthday cake. On the whole, though, I did like the variety of recipes covered and I appreciated the fact that there is a LOT of basic techniques taught in these recipes, really setting kids up for success and being more independent in the kitchen. A must for budding bakers!
The Soup Sisters Family Cookbook
This is the third cookbook in the bestselling Soup Sisters cookbook series, and contains over 100 family-friendly recipes to make and share with kids of all ages. Soup Sisters began in 2009, founded by Sharon Hapton, as a means of providing nutritious, delicious and comforting soup to women and children in need. What began as a single chapter in Calgary, Canada, has now spread to over 20 cities across North America. The recently-launched Souper Kids program involves children aged 8 to 17 who are learning how to give back and how to make a real difference in the lives of families who need it the most.
This cookbook (a compilation of recipes from over 100 contributors, including volunteers, home cooks, and chefs such as Yotam Ottolenghi, Nigella Lawson, Michael Smith, Elizabeth Baird, Anna Olson and Curtis Stone, as well as celebrity “souper” kids Logan Guleff, Abby Major, Zac Kara, and Skylar and Chloe Sinow) has a definite family focus – aiming to bring people together in the kitchen to cook and eat together. The recipes are a collection of classics mixed with more imaginative kid-inspired recipes and are divided into Garden Grown (vegetarian), Magic Beans (beans and legumes), Noodling Around (yup, noodle soups), The Main Event (more hearty offerings) and Chill Out (chilled soups – I have a recipe in this chapter!). There’s a great section in the front of the book with tips for cooking with kids and setting up your pantry and kitchen equipment and recipes for basic stocks (the base of all great soups!).
The book is really well laid-out – lots of clean, white space with bright images and even some shots of the “souper chefs” themselves (there’s a fun section at the back too with bios of the kids who contributed recipes, such a fun read). The book does not contain photos of every finished dish, though, which I feel kids do really appreciate (this big kid does, too!), that would be my only “con”. In any case, soup is a great place to start kids cooking and I have found over the past 8+ years teaching kids to cook that they will most definitely be more likely to try vegetables in soup form. A wonderful addition to any budding cook’s library!
A Grandfather’s Lessons: In the kitchen with Shorey
It’s Jacques Pépin – in the kitchen with his granddaughter. What’s not to love about this? This is a book of delicious, kid-friendly, real food recipes, simplified (but by no means dumbed-down) so that kids will be able to cook them on their own (or with a little bit of help). Pépin says of this book that he
wanted to cook with things with my granddaughter that she likes, and also, I wanted to teach her easy, logical steps that she could understand. I wanted to prepare food that is simple but elegant, and, more than anything, I wanted it to be fun.
This is a fabulous book for budding chefs; but the book is more than just tasty recipes that are fun to make. Throughout the book, you and your young chef will learn lessons in etiquette – table manners, how to set the table, how to fold a napkin properly – all important life skills. As well as photographs of most of the recipes, the book also includes charming illustrations (by Pépin himself) and photographs of Pépin and Shorey cooking together. The food they prepare isn’t complicated but it’s varied (Hors d’Oeuvres; Soups and Salads; Eggs, Sandwiches, Pizza and Breads; Fish and Seafood; Poultry and Meat; Pasta and Quinoa; Vegetables; Desserts and Confections and a chapter on Decorating for Fun) and there are dishes to appeal to all levels of sophistication. It’s a refreshingly “real” cookbook; not at all fancy, but homey and approachable and I just love the whole concept. If you weren’t a Pépin fan before (though who isn’t?), this will seal the deal. A delight.
In my experience, there’s nothing kids love to do more in the kitchen that bake so I was really interested to check this title out. It’s an appealing format (spiral bound – my absolute favourite!) and contains 50 recipes, lots of step-by-step photographs and fun facts and tips for young bakers. I love that the photos show kids actually cooking the recipes (albeit in a remarkably clean kitchen!) – you all know I’m a sucker for little hands photos! The books is very bright and colourful and while it packs a LOT of information into each page, it’s most definitely a kid-friendly format – I know as a child that I would have spent hours and hours poring over this book. The recipes are divided into Good Morning Treats; Crackers and Quick Breads; The Bread Bakery; The Cookie Jar; Save Room for Pie; and Cake and Cupcake Factory. There’s also an excellent Welcome to Baking Class section at the start covering kitchen safety, equipment and ingredient basics and some basic baking vocabulary) – invaluable for beginner bakers! There are lots of tips and tricks for success in the kitchen as well as the actual recipes and also cookie cutter templates, gift tags, bake sale signs and stickers that kids (of all ages, let’s face it!) will love! A really comprehensive book for budding bakers and their parents with recipes for every level of competence in the kitchen. So much (delicious) fun!
Please note: I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This post also contains affiliate links from The Book Depository. This means that if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price (at no extra cost to you) which goes towards maintaining eat. live. travel. write. Thank you in advance!
Disclosure: I received copies of these books for review purposes from the publishers. I was not asked to write about them and am not being compensated for writing this post. All opinions are my own.
Disclosure: I was provided with a copy of “Kid Chef Bakes” for review purposes. I was not asked to write about the book, nor am I being compensated for doing so. All opinions 100% my own.