Holiday Recommendations

If you're looking for recommendations for the little chef in your life I have some suggestions for you! I was asked recently about cookbooks for kids. Here are my thoughts as of today:

cookbooks2.jpg

My first recommendation is William-Sonoma's  The Kid's Cookbook. (I can't tell for sure, but it looks like the one I have was updated and is now The Cookbook for Kids.) It's a pretty comprehesive book and I like that mine has the spiral binding, so the book lays flat. Cookbooks that flip pages while you're trying to cook and look at instructions make me crazy! It has clear instructions, a list of all the equipment needed for each recipe and a section at the beginning with some basic technique instructions.

Next is  Cooking Class by Deanna Cook- this book has clear step by step instructions. a good variety of recipes, starts with easy things and moves to more complicated recipes, and has the spiral lay-flat binding that I like! My favorite thing about this cookbook is the step by step instructions are illustrated with photos. I find that extremely useful! (The America's Test Kitchen Cooking School cookbook has this as well and I love it! In case you're looking for a good grown up cookbook!)

kid chef bakes  by Lisa Huff is also well thought out cookbook (there's also kid chef  by Melina Hammer but I don't have that one). The thing I like best about this one is the beginning of the book is presented as cooking lessons with a technique to learn and a recipe to make while practicing. On the down side it does not have the step by step photos nor does it lay flat. 

One non-kid cookbook I recommend is the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook. This is one of the very first cookbooks I ever received- I think it was probably a wedding gift. I didn't begin cooking until I was in college and I was too broke to buy cookbooks then! While I think there is benefit in cookbooks aimed at kids who are interested in cooking, I don't think they should feel they aren't ready for a regular cookbook. This is a very easy to use book, it has reliably good recipes for essentially everything. It's not fancy- it doesn't call for specialty ingredients nor does it take shortcuts with a lot of prepackaged foods. It has recipes labeled as 'fast' and 'easy' (I'm kind of giggling about that now that I type it out) but it's helpful to know which are the good introductory recipes.  

My last recomendation is the book I use for our kitchen science classes. It's called Amazing (mostly) Edible Science. This isn't a cookbook for every day recipes- but it's got some fun recipes for things like edible finger paint and some basic molecular gastronomy along with more usable recipes like pizza and popovers. And then explanations of the science behind the cooking. It's a fun one to have around.