Monday, April 23, 2012

Nonfiction Monday: Cook it Together by Annabel Karmel

I've been looking for years for a really interesting, solid kids' cookbook. However, it seems that the vast majority are of the "how many ways can you combine peanut butter and various types of sugar" and never actually teach kids how to cook anything, just different ways to arrange snacks. Plus, they all have the same things because there's a limit to what you can make without an oven or sharp utensils!

Ok, rant over, because I have FOUND THE BOOK.

DK has done it again, with Annabel Karmel's Cook it together. Tons of photographs, simple recipes to follow, and really interesting, actual food!

The book begins with a section on spices and herbs, along with instructions on growing your own parsley. The main book is divided up into a main ingredient with several accompanying recipes. Each recipe has clearly marked steps, a list of ingredients, and tips from the author.

For example, the section on "Tomatoes" gives facts about the fruit and instructions on growing, then we get to the recipes - tomato bruschetta and tomato soup. Under "Corn" there's corn and chicken pasta salad and corn fritters. We learn how to make potato wedges and souffles, and in the section on rice there's a recipe for arancini (rice balls with cheese in the middle), and paella with seafood and chicken. There's fun food, snacks, and desserts as well - banana bites, banana butterfly cakes, strawberry layers, strawberry cheesecakes, baked apples and apple meringue tarts. And how many kids' cooking books teach you how to make apple and chicken curry, teriyaki-glazed salmon skewers, honey cakes, and your own chocolate truffles? The book finishes up with dark and white chocolate cakes, fruit brulee and chicken pitas with yogurt and mint dressing!

Everything is clearly illustrated with photographs, the instructions appear to be clear and simple, and my only regret is that when they printed the US version they gave it a pink spine - and the cupcakes on the front are kinda girly. This, however, has not deterred an excited stream of patrons from checking this book out. The only thing keeping it from constantly circulating is its repose on my shelf for a few months while I tried to find time to test out some of the recipes. Alas, that will have to wait, although I did purchase risotto rice for the arancini...

Verdict: You NEED this book in your library! The best kids' cooking book I've seen in a long time. Great variety of recipes, perfect for many different skills and ingredients, and food that both adults and kids will want to try!

ISBN: 9780756643027; Published May 2009 by DK; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library


Ms. Yingling said...

Have you ever been able to find a nonspiral bound version of the Betty Crocker Kids Cook! book in its various incarnations? I remember working my way through all of the recipes. They weren't fabulous, and I haven't seen a new version, but I remember that the one I had included lots of basic information. I may buy this one.

Jennifer said...

Hmmm, no, not familiar with that one. The pictures of kids are a little young in this one for middle school but the recipes are AMAZING.

Tara @ A Teaching Life said...

DK books are so wonderful for younger readers...they are just so visually appealing.

Books4Learning said...

Thanks for participating in NonFiction Monday. Oh my, love the cover! That cupcake looks too good to eat! :) I love DK books. Looks like a good one. Thanks for the review.

Fats Suela from Gathering Books said...

I agree with you. Most kids' cookbook are focused on snacks, and not really meals. I'm glad you have found your book (and will probably be mine too when I get a copy of this from our library!). Thank you for also mentioning that the book adds tidbits about the ingredients used in it. Simple and easy recipes are what I need in my oh-so-hectic life! Thanks for sharing! :)