This term the Petits Chefs are cooking our way through a series of cookbooks and this week, we used 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.
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! 🙂 Highly recommended!
I chose the Marble-size Meatballs with Quick and Easy Tomato Sauce for this week’s recipe, figuring well, who doesn’t love meatballs and who doesn’t need to learn how to make them – right?
We divided into three groups to work on this recipe – one group made tomato sauce and the other two made meatballs. Our tomato sauce group was super industrious, mincing loads of garlic and tearing basil leaves to go in the tasty sauce…
(yup, even though the recipes are super kid friendly I still highlighted different parts of the ingredients and method in the same colour so they boys would know what to do with the different ingredients…)
We didn’t “quite” make “marble sized” meatballs (the mixture is pretty wet and hard to make tiny ones, at least when you have 15 boys crammed in a less-than-ideal setup in a STEM lab) so I let them go with “regular sized” ones. They did a great job…
While the meatballs baked, we cleaned up… Full disclosure here – this included asking boys to wash raw meat out of their hair and off their face (#reallife cooking with kids!). We learned about rinsing the dishes with raw meat before stacking them in the dishwasher (nothing worse than finding lumps of cooked meat on the bottom of the dishwasher after the cycle) and then we went through the recipe together. I find recipes with “down time” are great when you’re cooking with kids because it allows you to get that cleanup done (and it’s also incentive to get the work done – no food unless the area is clean…!).
Then the boys got to plating. We had some beautiful creations and the boys loved adding extra flair to their dishes with extra Parmesan, pepper and basil…
The recipe made a LOT more sauce than we needed and in hindsight I should have cooked up some pasta to serve with this but no matter – the boys seemed VERY happy as they left the lab and I know many of them sampled the food before they even left the building!
Stay tuned to see what book we cook from next week!
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Disclosure: I purchased this book for myself. I was not asked to write about it and am not being compensated for writing this post. All opinions are my own