This is part of my Summer Reads series where I’ll be reviewing a series of “not just cookbooks”. With a few exceptions!
With a lot more of us staying close to home this summer, I know parents are looking for things to do with their children (or things for their children to do while they work). My virtual cooking club, then camp has been a huge hit – I know a lot more people are baking and cooking at home and that, by default of being around, kids are a big part of that these days. And I’ve been asked a LOT about what books I’d recommend for parents needing a little help choosing recipe. Which is why for this week’s Summer Reads, I’m revisiting*** some of the kids’ cookbooks I recommend, (apart from my own, of course!).
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. I do like the variety of recipes covered and I appreciated the fact that there are 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!
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 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 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!
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. 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.
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. 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!
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! 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! A must have for any budding chef (and their parents!).
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. 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!
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. There are a lot of great, basic techniques and recipes covered in this book – recipes simplified but not dumbed-down…
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! Wonderful step-by-step photo instructions that really teach you how each step of a recipe should look.
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 received copies of some of these 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
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