In which Annie (high school teacher, mother of two young girls and a younger boy) and her aunt Deborah (children's bookseller, mother of two young women in their 20s) discuss children's books and come up with annotated lists.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Kitchen reading

Dear Annie,

Well, here I am in New York with Lizzie (20 yrs old) where she is about to embark on a three day adventure of making a wedding cake for her cousin Michael (your brother, of course) whose wedding day is Thursday.  The basic recipe is the same one he used to make your wedding cake eight years ago.

Which makes me think about cooking -- and although these kids are grown now, both Lizzie and Michael have been cooks since childhood.  The first kids' cookbook our household bonded with (Lizzie & Mona both) was
Klutz Kids Cooking
. It's very kid-friendly in layout and choice of foods.  This is not high cuisine: the three we ended up making most were muffins with jelly baked inside, popcorn with cheese on it, and sloppy joes made by adding equal parts of ketchup and mustard to cooked ground meat.  And it comes with plastic measuring spoons which we still use.

Pretend Soup
Molly Katzen, author of the Moosewood Cookbook and sequels, has done several cookbooks (vegetarian, of course) for kids. Pretend Soup, aimed at preschoolers, is definitely healthier than Klutz, but is also very clear and simple.  Each recipe has an adult page and then a clearly illustrated kids' page with all the steps in the recipe.  It gives you a fun way to play in the kitchen with little ones -- and still end up with lunch.  Katzen's book for older kids, Honest Pretzels (ages 8 and up) eliminates the parent pages and lays out what kids will need (both ingredients and equipment) and how much time the recipe will take, before taking the reader through the (once again) well-illustrated step-by-step.  The first complete meal Lizzie and Mona ever cooked for us came from Honest Pretzels: it was tacos made with homemade tortillas.  Excellent, and heart-warming too.

Teens Cook
Then there was the summer when the girls were in middle school and I had brought home Teens Cook.  This books is sophisticated enough for an experienced teenage cook, but still clear and with a great choice of recipes.  Mona points out that the photographs of every dish were very helpful, both deciding what to cook, then figuring out how to do it.  Anyway, that summer, I came home from work many evenings to dinner from the cookbook, lovingly prepared by my girls.  I have fond memories of potstickers, made with wonton wraps and a really good homemade filling.  And a great red beans and rice with cornbread.

So grab a cookbook this summer and head to the kitchen with your kids.  Always an adventure.  I'll report back on the wedding cake.


Aunt Debbie

No comments:

Post a Comment