Follow me on social media for about half an hour and you’ll see that as well as children’s books, I love food and cooking. I wake up thinking about what I might cook for breakfast and I regularly go to bed reading a cookbook and dreaming of what I’ll cook – in fact sometimes when I read a really good recipe I get out of bed and bake at ungodly hours.
Cooking with kids is a great activity, it’s also messy, challenging and usually ends in tears all round. But for now let’s focus on the positives…cooking is great for developing mathematics skills, and is of course perfect for developing reading skills. Recipes are excellent for beginning readers as they tend to have lists, and short sentences…not overwhelmingly long and daunting pages of text. At four PudStar could read the numbers for measuring and now at seven she can read any recipe from start to finish – ingredient pronunciation is sometimes amusing :).
The books below are ones that I recently talked about on the Bookworms show – 612ABC at 8pm (Brisbane time). The link to listen to this half hour show is here.
These are cookbooks that we have at home (many also in my library) and they are the ones we use time and time again, often many times a week. PudStar has gone from being the worlds best toddler eater (I thought this was my excellent parenting skills) to the fussiest eater under the sun – so at the moment I’m encouraging her to flick through recipe books to decide what to cook…and hopefully eat. Mostly they are books aimed at children to young adults, but there are a few in there that are just all round brilliant family cookbooks.
My favourite kids cookbook of the year is without a doubt ‘Alice’s Food A-Z: Edible Adventures’ as Alice Zaslavsky gets children and she gets food. A former teacher, and (more excitingly for kids) a former Masterchef contestant and television presenter, Alice has created a cookbook which encourages young people to try all sorts of different taste sensations from A-Z, and has lots of tips and interesting facts along the way. There are 40 recipes in ‘Alice’s Food A-Z’, and every one we have tried has been excellent – and more to the point – the fussy eater in the family has been so amused by the funny facts about each recipe that she’s given them all a go. The design of the book is outstanding and has huge child appeal; photography, typography and layout are exceptional.
‘My Grandma’s Kitchen’ by Louise Fulton – it’s a Fulton family cookbook so it has to be good. And it IS. So good. The vanilla cupcakes with passionfruit icing are fabulous. This is probably PudStar’s favourite cookbook. It’s a cross between a picture book and a recipe book – so clearly I was always going to love this book. ‘The Best Ever Birthday‘ is on sale for a riducoulous price on Booktopia and I’ve stocked up on this title as presents. Again this one is part part picture book, part recepe book – simple gorgeous. Design quality in both titles is outstanding and child appeal is high!‘Chop.Sizzle.Wow’ is a highly original graphic cookbook containing 50 quick, simple and classic Italian recipes from the Silver Spoon kitchen. Every recipe is illustrated, step by step, in comic book style, taking cooks young and old, new and experienced, on a playful culinary adventure. Simple appetizers like Sweet and Sour Caponata and Tomato Bruschetta, classic main courses such as Linguine with Pesto and Chicken Cacciatore and tempting desserts like Raspberry Semifreddo and Tiramisu, are achievable for everyone and perfect for sharing with family and friends.
No list would be complete without AWW title. I still have all my favourite AWW cookbooks and use them weekly – they are an Australian icon are they not? This one, ‘The AWW Cooking School for Kids’ is perfect for young cooks – in fact it’s just a really good all-round cookbook.
The next three are obviously connected to literary classics – and they are perfect for themed afternoon tea or party events, but also for everyday cooking. The Possum Magic one is an update on this classic cookbook and I’m SOOOOOOO pleased it is back in print! Have purchased it for some chef friends already.
I manage the school kitchen garden and I’m very fussy about the cookbooks I buy to go with our produce. The Fiona Inglis ‘The Garden Cook’ is outstanding – we use it every term without fail. ‘Kitchen Garden Cooking with Kids’ by Stephanie Alexander – well you can’t go wrong can you? Again, this is really an excellent book to accompany a school kitchen garden.
Sam Stern originally wrote ‘Cooking Up a Storm’ with his mum, Susan, when he was fourteen years old. I cannot get enough Sam Stern books in my library to keep up with demand for them. They have been super-popular for years now and this new one is excellent.
‘My Darling Lemon Thyme’ is my go-to family cookbook and my full review is here. Everything is pretty much refined sugar free and gluten free in this cookbook and I’ve read it from cover to cover like a novel. The photography is stunning, the recipes all WORK and they are divine.
This bread in ‘My Bread’ is made with the ‘no knead’ technique and is so ridiculously easy that a capable six year old could do whole thing (except the hot oven bit!). PudStar loves helping and by next year I reckon she’s on her own. I’ve simplified the text of the basic recipe to make it a bit more child friendly and you can download it here No Knead Bread. Once you get the hang of this technique, ‘My Bread’ is essential reading for every kind of sweet and savoury bread you can imagine – the chocolate and coconut bread is superb.Booktopia. You can also compare prices on Fishpond and Bookworld for Australian purchases.If you live in the US or would prefer to use Amazon click here. If you live in the UK or would prefer to use Book Depository click here. Purchases clicked through from the Children’s Books Daily site result in a small commission. Commission is used in part to maintain Children’s Books Daily and to support community groups which connect children with books.