It’s been a bumper fall for new cookbook releases and I’ve got a whole lot of posts coming up highlighting some of my favourites. Today I’m excited to share two excellent books for the budding chefs on your holiday list (alongside, you know, this one 😉 )
The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs
You know a book coming out of America’s Test Kitchen is going to be well-tested and this is no exception. 750 kids tested these recipes, both in their home kitchens and alongside professional chefs in America’s Test Kitchen kitchens so you just know they will be reliable! I’ve been so impatient to see this book and it certainly does not disappoint. The book is visually appealing with lots of photos of the dishes, tips and techniques and actual kids who look like they are cooking (as opposed to overly staged photos). I love the way they have incorporated quotes from the recipe testers through the book which address the recipes, the skills they learned and how the dish tasted. This is a cookbook any budding cook needs in their kitchen!
From the publisher: “For the first time ever, America’s Test Kitchen is bringing our scientific know-how, rigorous testing, and hands-on learning to help KIDS in the kitchen!
Using kid-tested and approved recipes, America’s Test Kitchen has created THE cookbook every kid chef needs on their shelf. Whether you’re cooking for yourself, your friends, or your family, The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs has delicious recipes that will wow!
By empowering young chefs to make their own choices in the kitchen, America’s Test Kitchen is building a new generation of confident cooks, engaged eaters, and curious experimenters.
Recipes include French Toast for One, Monkey Bread, Hummus, Guacamole, Best Hot Chocolate, Pesto Flatbread “Pizza”, Roasted Tomato and Corn Tostadas, Sesame Noodles with Snow Peas and Carrots, Crispy Baked Cod, Sheet Pan Pizza, Quinoa with Herbs, Mexican Street Corn, Banana Bread, Birthday Cupcakes, and Fudgy Chocolate Mug Cakes.”
As you’d expect with America’s Test Kitchen, this book is comprehensive and full of practical advice. For a kids’ book, this can be a delicate balance – making it informative yet approachable without it being overwhelming for budding cooks but this book delivers. Visually, it’s a fun read – the graphics, drawings and images draw you in and the overall design, though busy, is eye-catching and keeps you reading. There are SO many fun facts, tips and techniques on each page, you’ll linger much longer than you intend – and keep reading!
There are so many useful sections in the book – the recipes, obviously (Breakfast, Snacks and Beverages, Cooking for One, Cooking for Family and Friends, Side dishes and Desserts), but also a super useful “Getting Started in the Kitchen” (outlining the symbols used in the book, tips for success with the recipes, “Decoding Kitchenspeak” (a glossary of terms used in recipes), a primer for a well-stocked pantry, tips on how to measure (volume measurement is used here), a beautiful visual guide to kitchen tools, 7 Essential Prep Steps and even sections on garnishing and “plating like a pro”. Tips continue to be shared throughout the book – there is SO much information to take in but it’s delivered in a friendly, approachable format that kids will love. A must have for any budding chef (and their parents!).
New Favorites for New Cooks
This is a brilliant book for kids both new to the kitchen and a little more experienced. I love the fact that Federman doesn’t talk down to kids – the recipes and information are written clearly and are easy to follow and understand and don’t scream “kid recipes” at all. I’ve always maintained that what kids really need to get them going in the kitchen are well-written recipes for dishes they’ll be excited to cook and eat and this book does an excellent job of providing those (heck, I love the look of many of these recipes!). It’s a beautiful looking book with gorgeous photography that makes the food look approachable and accessible which is so important for a kids’ book.
From the publisher: “With fresh ingredients and easy recipes, New Favorites for New Cooks, will turn any kid into a budding chef. Recipes such as Savory Scones with Fresh Herb Butter, Black Bean Taco Bar, Two-Minute Guacamole, Meatballs and Tomato Sauce, and Yogurt and Berry Compote Parfait engage every sense with bright colors, fresh flavors, and exciting textures, and showcase healthy, seasonal ingredients. Packed with information about kitchen science and history, and heavily illustrated (every recipe is photographed), this cookbook makes being in the kitchen fun for everyone.”
With recipes for all meals of the day (Breakfast, Lunch, In-Between Meals and After School Snacks, Drinks, Dinner and Sweets and Treats), there is definitely something for any kid to get excited about (having great looking food in cookbooks is a great starting point for getting kids excited about food). There’s a handy glossary of the terms used in the book as well as a list of the kitchen tools and equipment you’ll need to make the recipes. Federman provides parents with some guidance about how to work with kids in the kitchen but also encourages kids to “investigate” – find out things they are unsure about and bolds all the words included in the glossary to encourage them to look the terms up as they work so they learn as they go. There’s a Recipe Rating System to help parents decide how much help their budding chefs will need, a guide to measurements and measuring (ingredients are only listed in volume, not weight) and a handy Knife Skills Primer with photos of different cuts of vegetables which is very useful. Throughout the book you’ll find other tutorials teaching various other essential skills (how to separate an egg, how to wash and dry lettuce etc…) which all feature photos to show the techniques. There’s so much to love about this book as an adult who teaches kids’ cooking classes 🙂 Highly recommended!
You might also like: Three Books for Francophiles for the Holidays
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). Thank you in advance!
Disclosure: I purchased both of these books for myself. I was not asked to write about them and am not being compensated for writing this post. All opinions are my own