Kids Cooking Made Easy; By Leah Schapira and Victoria Dwek; ArtScroll/Mesorah
Cooking and kids – there’s a very special connection between the two. For busy parents and their even-busier children, working together in the kitchen to prepare a Shabbos meal or a weekday dinner can be a terrific bonding time. For young people old enough to cook without adult supervision, whipping up a great dessert or nosh for a sleepover is an activity that builds confidence (and keeps them out of trouble)!
You simply can’t be bored when you’re cooking.
Leah Schapira, co-founder of the popular recipe database, cookkosher.com, and Victoria Dwek, noted food editor and recipe developer, are the authors of the popular Made Easy cookbook series. In Kids Cooking Made Easy, they turn their attention – and their trademark humor, wit, and fabulous recipes – to the next generation.
This is not just a “dumbed down” adult cookbook. Its many features are designed to make cooking a delight for younger readers, and the recipes were carefully selected to appeal to kids’ tastes.
You can feel the camaraderie between these two accomplished women from the first pages of the cookbook, whereby they share how they chose which foods to include. As Schapira writes, “Once the kids in the neighborhood heard we were taking suggestions for our next book, they all came running. Soon, kids lined up to tell us what they love to eat, what they like to buy, and what they wish they could make themselves.”
What kind of foods appeal to kids, and are simple enough for them to safely cook themselves? A teen coming home from school for a study session with friends could make a pot of pizza soup in about half an hour (and it beats algebra). If the kids aren’t ready to fry on a stovetop, did you know you could make pancakes safely and neatly with a sandwich maker? (Bonus: they all come out the same size.) Boys, Dwek notes in the introduction, were interested in meat dishes like Sino Steak Sandwiches while girls ooh-ed and ahh-ed over Skinny Berry Coolattas. So both recipes went into the book.
Parents of picky eaters will find that if their child gets to choose and cook his or her own meal, there won’t be any reason to have to nag anymore. Even the most difficult eaters will not be able to resist Honey BBQ Chicken Nuggets or Teriyaki Beef Sticks – especially if they made it themselves – while Cauliflower Poppers will entrance even the most anti-vegetable teen.
Desserts range from simple Grab and Go Muffins to elegant Chocolate Bon Bons and include important tips, like how to melt chocolate or use a piping bag. The Sweets and Crafts chapter is particularly creative and unusual, showing how to make “edible art” pieces – perfect for party activities or just to liven up a boring rainy afternoon.
Every recipe includes a mouth-watering photo, tips, lists of ingredients and what tools and equipment are needed, interesting tidbits, and a Cooking School feature that explains a specific cooking concept connected to the recipe.
Kids are going to love this. And guess what? So are their parents!Jennifer Eisen
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