Thursday, February 3, 2011

Cookbook Review: Kids Fun and Healthy Cookbook by Nicola Graimes

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     While this cookbook is definitely not aimed at the gluten free community or at vegetarians, it is a fun book as the title promises! There are techniques and recipes in the book that are appropriate for children of all ages, so worrying about it not being for the right age group is not an issue if you're buying it as a gift. I would say it would be fine for kids up to 12 or so, depending on their personal skills.
I enjoy the fact that Graimes' book is readable (and enjoyable) by both children and adults. It gives plenty of safety advice, explaining things in a simple and calm manner while avoiding chastising reminders about hot stoves or making messes. I also enjoy the fact that Graimes discusses the different food groups and explains how each food plays a role in contributing to a balanced diet. I will say that the one thing I disagree with is that the book states that potatoes should not be considered as a serving of vegetables, while I think they should. Potato flakes, fries, potato chips, and the like are not considered servings, but real potatoes should be. Yams and sweet potatoes are great for you – there is no reason to not consider them vegetable servings.

All the basic cooking techniques are covered in the book, from egg cracking to whisking, stirring, basic sautéing, chopping, and peeling. The book itself is divided into sections for breakfast, light meals, main meals, desserts, and baking.

It is great to see a cookbook that is geared towards kids that both explains and utilizes fresh, whole foods in all the recipes. This book really pushes the fact that kids can accomplish many things on their own and should not be afraid to try to do new projects or ideas. The book is mostly plant based with a few dishes calling for meat thrown in. The use of eggs is pretty liberal throughout, simply because they are an easy to cook item.

For those of us on a gluten free diet, the majority of the recipes can be easily converted to suit our diet and the vegetarians and vegans can just substitute proteins and omit other ingredients to satisfy other needs. Some dishes, such as hard boiled eggs, would just be useless to the vegans, but there are relatively few of these instances.

Check the book out here before you buy it!

Happy cooking!

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