Kids Can Cook Book Reviews

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Booklist, April 1, 2012

On Pacific Northwest Recipes

The Pacific Northwest is known for its coffee shops, fresh seafood, and cool, rainy weather perfect for stews and other rich, delicious meals. Orr focuses on ingredients readily found in Washington and Oregon, including marionberries, salmon, and kale, and describes the health-conscious sensibilities of the people living in those areas. This title ambitiously fits 28 recipes into 7 sections: drinks, appetizers, soups and salads, main dishes, side dishes, desserts, and holiday fare. While the audience is meant to be children, some of the recipes might be better suited to more sophisticated palates. (Braised chestnuts and brussels sprouts, kids?) Unfortunately, various pictures depict young children handling woks and vegetable peelers by themselves; however, the text encourages them to use grills, stoves, and other dangerous equipment with adult supervision. Parents will have maybe more fun than their children preparing these appetizing meals.

School Library Journal (Series Made Simple), April 2012

On the Kids Can Cook series

These cookbooks combine information about different regions of the United States with recipes from each featured area. The titles begin with introductions that explain the geography and/or cultures in the region that have influenced the cuisine. A short paragraph preceding each recipe explains the origin of that dish. All of the books are illustrated with color photographs of the food, children cooking, and places of interest. Some images are fuzzy and look like they could have come from a family photo album. Many recipes are difficult and are unlikely to be accomplished by children the age of those pictured in the some of the photos. A few, like the “Espresso Ice Cream Soda,” have questionable child appeal. Others have dubious connections to the areas they are meant to represent (is an “English Muffin Pizza” really a New England dish?). Nonetheless, the books offer an innovative way for readers to learn history, geography, and culture as they cook.

Midwest Book Review, Children's Bookwatch: February 2012

Midwestern Recipes is a kids' cookbook from the regional-based series titled Kids Can Cook. Most recipes are accessible to kids age 10 and up, some with adult supervision. Regional inspired recipes include entrees for Breakfast; Soups, Salads, and Sides; Sandwiches and Main Dishes; Sweet Stuff; and Holiday Treats. There are step by step instructions and color photo illustrations and sidebars about the history or ethnicity of a featured food or recipe. Some examples are Apple Pannekoeken, Wild Rice Soup, Tater Tots, Hot Dish, Strawberry Shortcake, and Pumpkin Harvest Bread. A glossary and bibliography plus internet resources are listed at the end. These recipes were collected and edited by an Iowa-born food editor who enjoyed Midwestern home cooking all her life. Cooking from regional recipe collections is an excellent way for young people to become connected with the rich variety of ethnicities and food sources in different regions of the U.S.