Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Honest Pretzels

Mollie Katzen happens to be one of my favorite cookbook authors. Apparently, I'm not the only who feels that way, as she is listed by the New York Times as one of the best-selling cookbook authors of all time. And deservedly so, after writing such classics as The New Moosewood Cookbook and The New Enchanted Broccoli Forest.

Thank goodness she has applied her skills to helping children become proficient in the kitchen! Mollie believes that cooking with children can be an absolutely wonderful, eye-opening experience for the adult as well as for the child. This great book provides the directions needed to make this an enjoyable process for both age groups.

All the recipes are broken down into simple steps, with each one nicely spaced in a neat white box, most accompanied by cute little drawings. This presentation makes it exceedingly easy for a new cook to follow. Step one? Check, ready to move on to step two. Take a look at the easy to use format for Guacamole or Not-from-a-box Macaroni and Cheese. Mollie gives thorough explanations on the components of each dish and is careful to point out the sections that require adult assistance.

The book is aimed at cooks "ages 8 & up", which seems to be the point at which a child could pick up this book on his/her own and start cooking. But don't count out cooks younger than this! A child as young as age four or five could still appreciate the process, as well as interpret some of the photos. We picked one of the easier recipes (Peanut Butter Doo-dads) for my five year old to start with, which he loved.

I really like that the recipes are actual dishes, not easy peasy little throw together things that just give the illusion of cooking. Here, kids are actually helping put meals on the table, with dishes like Spunky Chili, Gingerbread French Toast or Garlic Bread. There are also healthy snacking options to make, such as Sappy Trails Mix or Honest Pretzels.

Hands down, this is one of the best children's cookbooks that I have seen. Healthy food, easy to follow recipes and great instructions. This is a wonderful way to introduce your children to the kitchen and learn the basic process of following a recipe. Mollie says "Open up your kitchen to your children, let them lead you through the recipes in these pages, and make the leap. I think you'll be glad you did." I wholeheartedly agree!

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