14/02/2013Kids Kitchen by Jennifer Low
This A4 size glossy colour book is a great starting point if you want to start cooking with really young children.
The selling point is that recipes require no slicing or chopping and don't use hobs, so parents who are nervous about heat and sharp tools with their children can get some confidence built up with these recipes.
The sections included are:
- breakfast lunch and dinner
- bread and crackers
- pies, pastries and squares
- candies, confections and cool treats
There is also a section at the beginning about how to measure, line tins, use yeast etc when working with little ones, and how to use the recipes and keep safe.
Ten examples of the kind of recipes:
- chicken in crunchy coats (drumsticks)
- dumpling raviolis
- pizza bread
- peanut butter and jelly cookies
- vanilla cupcakes
- rainbow sugar cookies
- chocolate satins
- no cook bars
- fudge tarts
- banana malted ice cream
What's good about the book:
The book delivers on its strapline - yummy, no knives, heat safe recipes which children can really make. The author has gone to a lot of trouble to ensure that recipes which normally would require chopping are tweaked to make them possible without pans and knives. You can select any recipe from this book, or better still, let your kids pick something, and know that you can make it with them safely, even if they are very little.
I like the language, which is straightforward. The author designed the recipes to be read aloud by an adult to the child cook, or for an older child to read alone, and the language is definitely suitable for that - short sentences, descriptive and using normal language and not too many cooking terms. For example "Press a mound of meat into a tablespoon. It should be rounded over the top of the spoon. Push the meat out of the spoon and roll it into a ball."
Some of the recipes are really inventive and funky - like Chicken Bobs (balls on sticks), Cow Coat Cupakes (mini marbled cakes), Choc-Mint Mini Pinwheels (cookies baked onto lolly sticks) and Peek-A-Boo Meatloaf (see our attempt at this recipe here).
The book is attractive, well set out, pages not too busy. Full colour photos of everything. Recipes are use mostly tbsp and cup measurements but does give some metric measurements. The book has a wipe clean plastic dust cover.
What I like less about it:
Overall I think it is a good book, so the negatives do not outweigh the positives, but there are some.
The book overwhelmingly panders to the sweet tooth. There are less than 20 recipes which are truly savoury, which is a shame because the ones which are savoury are very good. It's not a book for the sugar-conscious. I know cakes are the best way to get children hooked initially on cooking, but I think the moment when children realise they can make a full meal that everyone can eat and not just pudding is a special and empowering experience.
Some of the recipes are in small quantities or using small equipment and therefore are less useful for making a meal for the whole family. You'll just need to practice and gauge a bit with some of them.
Who would I recommend this for?
If you want recipes which are safe to do, easy to explain and carry out, and which children will think are yummy, this is definitely worth a punt.
If you already have a few good baking recipes which you make with your kids, you may find this less useful. There are other books which include a wider range of meals that children can make.
But if you like baking sweets, you'll like this.
If you've never, or rarely cooked with your children, or you have very little ones, or several young children in your care, this is a great starting point.