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Berkeley Parents Network > Reviews > What/Where to Buy > Cookbooks for Kids



Cookbook for 9-year-old beginner

Dec 2003

I'm looking for recommendations for a good beginning cookbook for a nine-year-old. She's very interested in cooking but hasn't got much experience. She's also very ''crafty'' so would like something challenging but not too advanced (does that make sense?). A good, well-written and interesting cookbook would be great for her. vs


Our now ten-year-old daughter was has used the the Better Homes and Gardens ''New Junior Cookbook'' for a couple of years now, and it remains her favorite. It's well organized, recipes require relatively few ingredients, the instructions are clear and the needed utensils are listed for each recipe; our chef now makes almost everything in it on her own and it's taught her some very useful fundamentals. She's moved on to more complicated books, but this was a great beginning the one she still turns to when she just wants to have some fun in the kitchen. I'm always on the prowl for good cook books for her, and this one is easy to find in stores and hard to beat for ease and quality of recipes. Deborah
One thing I discovered with kids cookbooks is the emphasis on sugar laden recipes (and graphics) that do little to teach basic cooking skills. Luckily, good cookbooks are out there and the books below are favorites with kids I know.

Honest Pretzels by Mollie Katzen offers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack recipes presented as step by step colorful illustrations. Sometimes the directions are a bit lacking but the illustrations seem to really engage kids and get them into the idea of cooking.

Cooking with Children by Marion Cunningham is an excellent introduction to cooking. The recipes are standard: cooking with eggs, biscuits, vegetable soup, and the like. But her directions are detailed; she offers suggestions on how to chop a carrot as opposed to simply listing chopped carrots in one recipe and she offers nice sidebars such as ''Learning to Use Your Stove''. This book also has simple illustrations.

Fanny at Chez Panisse by Alice Waters starts with stories and illustrations about life in the restaurant business. It then goes on to offer recipes that are unusual for a kids cookbook. These recipes teach simple yet versatile skills such as roasting red peppers or preparing gremolata. Our family particularly likes the pizza recipe! Kristin


Take a look at ''Honest Pretzels'' by Mollie Katzen (of Moosewood Fame). The recipes are illustrated and divided into very clear steps and the results taste good, too. Lauren
''Fanny at Chez Panisse'' is a great kids cookbook with simple, easy recipes and great illustrations. Rebecca Harrach
I love the book Elliot's Extraordinary Cookbook by Christina Bjork and Lena Anderson. It's by the same authors who wrote the Linnea books. This book not only has some fun kid friendly but substantial recipes, it's also story about Elliot, talks about food science (how cows ''make'' milk from grass), the history of foods (the potato), nutrition and the digestive anatomy, etc... It even has some food art history, food politics, and at least one arts and crafts project thrown in. And all of this is presented in a fun way that is accessible to the young reader. I hope you take a look at it. An Elliot (and Linnea) Fan
Two thoughts; I just bought three cookbooks for my husband, who is a beginning cook (and that's putting it nicely...). They are all ''easy'' and yummy, but they are all vegetarian. Student's Vegetarian Cookbook (Raymond), Quick Vegetarian Pleasures (Lemlin) and Better than Peanut Butter and Jelly (Muldawer and Mattare). They have a broad variety of recipes and I think would all be great. The other thought is to buy a classic Pillsbury cookbook. I don't know if they sell them anymore, but as a kid, I learned to cook from them. Easy easy recipes with easy ingredients and lots of instruction (they were made for housewives, I believe, who were not necessarily at the cutting edge of culinary endeavors). I still use my Pillsbury cookbook to make pies -- best recipes around. Great you are teaching your kids to cook!!
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