Monday, March 28, 2016

Nonfiction Monday: How to cook in 10 easy lessons by Wendy Sweetser

I've been looking for new "making" books this year as I try to drag this section out of the 80s (not that craft books from the 80s are necessarily bad, but some of the pictures....oy) and I picked up a bunch of cookbooks to check out.

This one is addressed to middle grade kids and is pretty awesome. It's one I can see giving to kids - and adults - who want to learn the basic skills of cooking. It's divided into 10 "super skills" and each uses previous skills to add to the current skill and practice in the recipes.

The book starts with a list of basic equipment, safety tips, and general instructions. It starts with instructions on using knives, chopping and cutting then gives you recipes for soup, fresh vegetable platter, and fruit salad to practice your slicing skills. Next, you learn to peel and grate, then adding your knife skills in make pork kebabs, cheese straws, key lime pie, and apple tarts. Then you move on through crushing and juicing, mashing and pureeing, frying, boiling, grilling, making sauces, whisking, and kneading. Each section gives several recipes - to practice your accumulated skills. The recipes cover a wide range of tastes and dietary needs. Some are vegetarian, they range from dips to main dishes, and there isn't a preponderance of desserts.

The book is illustrated with simple, colored pictures of equipment and hands demonstrating the various moves. I am disappointed that all the hands are white though. I appreciated that a variety of tools were pictured, as in the juicing section it offered options for a simple juice press, a juice extractor, and a larger hand-cranked press. Being someone who dislikes a lot of fancy kitchen tools, it was nice that pretty much everything can be done with a few simple tools. There are also "check your skills" boxes that take you back to the pages for quick refreshers on the different techniques.

Verdict: The one downside is that the book is only available in spiral-bound hardcover, but it's pretty sturdy and no cookbook lasts forever. This is a really good approach to teaching cooking to older kids and one that I definitely recommend.

ISBN: 9781633220393; Published 2015 by Walter Foster Jr.; Borrowed from another library in my consortium


Ami said...

We just got this one, and several others in the collection! I have been impressed with their binding - they hold up a lot better than I had expected.

Jennifer said...

Good to know! I'm tackling weeding the 700s next...