Don’t get alarmed, dear reader, Cooking with Kids isn’t suggesting that you have children as the main or even incidental ingredient. No, this is about encouraging your youngsters into the kitchen and teaching them skills that will serve them well through life.
Many of us rue the day when cookery lessons were abolished. Pupils were instead given Home Economics lessons and learned the nutritional value of all kinds of foods that they would never know how to cook. They would understand the principles of healthy eating but would buy from the freezer counter because, well, what do you do with mange-tout?
Kids love helping mum and dad and they naturally view cooking as fun. It has all the elements of play: mixing, rolling, filling, painting and decorating; add the prospect of actually eating the end result of a good time, and happiness is assured.
Erin Quon is an award-winning, San Francisco food stylist. Her co-author and 5 year old daughter, Tatum, evidently gave invaluable advice about child-friendly recipes. Not only is the food delicious but the process of making all these dishes will delight your young chefs and leave them with a love of a variety of good things to eat. Anyone who cooks is less likely to be a fussy eater.
There are four recipe chapters starting with Rise and Shine, then Snack Timse, Dinnertime and Sweets. Each recipe has clearly-marked activities for kids. A chef’s hat and orange text will show the tasks that are easy for small hands. Any help needed from adults will be in the form of handling any hot pans, lighting ovens and hobs, filling blenders, etc. It’s all about cooking WITH your children.
Although the dishes are designed to be tempting to children they will be equally welcomed by the whole family. Chicken Chow Mein is quite sophisticated and your youngster will proudly announce that he made the sauce. Adults need not fear that this is baby food. These are dishes that you might even consider making when the kids are not around. OK, your icing on cookies might not be so thick nor as colourful as when made by small hands, but the recipe will be the same.
There are some delightful recipes here. Chocolate Peanut Butter Brownies are bound to please the whole family. Creamy Sweetcorn Chowder has, as you would expect, sweetcorn but also potatoes, celery, carrot and onion. Your children are bound to enjoy eating food that they have helped prepare, so take advantage of that attitude and get them to cook with plenty of fruit and vegetables. Yoghurt Sundaes are stunners. Packed with fruit and topped with granola (muesli), these would make a healthful and smart breakfast or dessert.
Cooking with Kids has recipes that are fun to make and delicious. This isn’t a toy. You can’t just hand the book to your 6 year old and expect dinner in an hour. The point is that you spend time together but it has the added bonus, and a big one, of teaching youngsters to love good food. A worthwhile volume and a great gift for those with children.
Cooking with Kids
Author: Erin and Tatum Quon
Published by: Apple Press
Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018