09 April 2022

Weekend Cooking: 3 Books for Young Chefs

Are you lucky enough to have young companions in your kitchen? If so, here are three books you can share with them. Though all are geared to kids, adults and teens will enjoy reading these books too. Thanks to the publishers for the review copies.

Book cover of What's Cooking in Flowerville? by Felicita SalaWhat's Cooking in Flowerville? by Felicita Sala (Prestel Junior, April 5) is a gorgeous book that takes cooks and gardeners through the course of a year, with one painting and one recipe featuring a seasonal food item for each month. The book starts in the spring with asparagus and a yummy quiche recipe (see scan; click to enlarge). Other months feature pears, cucumbers (with tzatziki), cherries, squash, and herbs (with lemony bean dip).

Though youngsters may need help making the recipes, the dishes are all easy to put together and include steps even the youngest can accomplish, like stirring and adding in ingredients.

The paintings in What's Cooking in Flowerville? show a diverse group of people in terms of both skin color and age and depict the joys of being in nature and growing and harvesting one's own food. The gardens themselves are also diverse; we see balcony trellises, indoor potted herbs, rooftop gardens, backyard fruit trees, and a community pumpkin patch.

Book page from What's Cooking in Flowerville by Felicita Sala

The book ends with tips for gardening, harvesting, recycling, and sharing as well as illustrations of seeds, garden tools, and beautiful fruits and vegetables.

What's Cooking in Flowerville? by Felicita Sala is a delight for people of all ages and a great companion to Sala's earlier book, What's Cooking at 10 Garden Street?, which I reviewed a couple of years ago.

Book cover of Olaf Hajek's Fantastic Fruits with text by Annette RoederNext is another beautifully illustrated book featuring food. Olaf Hajek's Fantastic Fruits, illustrated by Hajek with text by Annette Roeder (Prestel Junior, April 5) is a stunning book that reveals some of the secrets of our favorite foods.

Each two-page spread features a single fruit (see scan). On the left we learn all kinds of interesting facts about the fruit, such as its origins, its growing conditions, and/or how to eat it. Here are few things I learned:
  • Some mangoes are called "smelly."
  • There are more than 1,000 different kinds of strawberries.
  • Melons are closely related to zucchini.
  • Peaches have been cultivated since about 6000 BCE.
In addition to this kind of information, Roeder also tells us at least one myth, fable, or legend relating to the fruit. We learn a Hungarian fairy tale about a girl who loved currants, that St. Barbara's Day is celebrated with cherry sprigs, and a Vietnamese story about how a watermelon united a king with his children.

Pages from Olaf Hajek's Fantastic Fruits with text by Annette Roeder

Each fruit profile is accompanied by one of Hajek's paintings. The illustrations are richly colored and enhance the text. If you look carefully, you'll find hints for how to eat or grow the fruit as well as a nod or two to the featured tale or story.

Olaf Hajek's and Annette Roeder's Fantastic Fruits begs to be shared with readers young and old.

Book cover for The Recipe-A-Day Kids Cookbook by the Food Network MagazineThe final book is from The Food Magazine: The Recipe-A-Day Kids Cookbook (Hearst Home Kids, April 5). This fun cookbook, for children aged 8 to 12, provides 365 dated recipes to inspire young chefs throughout the year. You can get an idea of some the dishes by looking at the pictures on the book cover.

A number of the recipes are linked to a specific holiday or special day--like ruler cookies for Teacher Appreciation Week and Coconut Rice and Peas for Puerto Rico Constitution Day. Others are simply seasonal--like Banana Caramel S'mores in July and Microwave Apple Crisp in September.

Most of the recipes in Recipe-A-Day Kids Cookbook are for snacks and desserts, though you'll find some fun drinks and salads and even a pizza recipe. The instructions run the gamut from as easy as flavoring popcorn or decorating store-bought doughnuts to a full-fledged soup recipe and from-scratch mini pineapple upside down cakes. The majority of the recipes will catch kids' attention, and the range of difficulty will help you match the right recipes for your young cooks.

A book page from The Recipe-A-Day Kids Cookbook by the Food Network MagazineThe Recipe-A-Day Kids Cookbook isn't just for kids. A number of the recipes will appeal to the whole family. I plan on trying several, such as the breakfast sliders (egg sandwiches), the peach Melba milkshake, the puff pastry tart with berries, and the miniature pimiento cheese balls.

The only way to tell if The Food Magazine's Recipe-A-Day Kids Cookbook is right for your family is to look through it. Note that while a number of international celebrations are included (like Brazilian Independence Day), the book is founded on U.S. holidays and the major Jewish and Christian holidays. (See the scan for three days in April.)

Note: The scans used in the context of a review; all rights remain with the original copyright holders. Any quality issue is on me.

Shared with Weekend Cooking, hosted by Marg at The Intrepid Reader (and Baker)


Tina 4/9/22, 8:22 AM  

Heck, I’d like that book! My granddaughter is 8 so I think she may like this as well. She’s shown interest in the kitchen prep with my son’s girlfriend lately.

Mae Travels 4/9/22, 9:04 AM  

Nice looking books.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

rhapsodyinbooks 4/9/22, 9:24 AM  

I love kids cookbooks because the recipes tend to be easier, great-tasting, and there is usually lots to learn from them. These look beautiful!

gluten Free A_Z Blog 4/9/22, 9:33 AM  

Thanks for the reviews. My grandkids love to cook and it's good to get more ideas in cookbooks such as these.

Jackie McGuinness 4/9/22, 11:57 AM  

Love the illustrations in the first book.

Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 4/9/22, 12:59 PM  

It's wonderful to have books to encourage young chefs. Thanks for sharing these.

Vicki 4/9/22, 3:30 PM  

I've never even thought of getting a kids cookbook, but now you have me thinking I want to check some out!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea 4/9/22, 6:49 PM  

These look delightful. I may have mentioned that my granddaughters are beginning to get interested in cooking and I purchased a couple books so far for them.

Melynda@Scratch Made Food! 4/10/22, 2:20 PM  

I will definitely have to check these out so I can cook with the grandson! Thanks.

(Diane) bookchickdi 4/11/22, 2:03 PM  

What's Cooking in Flowerville looks like a lovely book for children.

Marg 4/14/22, 11:33 PM  

I love the look of that Fruit book!

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