Book Review: Betty Crocker’s Kids Cook
My four-year-olds are avid foodies: Twin A with a carb fixation and Twin B with more omnivorous tendencies. While they have both become more selective, now and then rejecting chili and other foods with multiple ingredients, they still have good appetites-and an interest in how food is prepared.
Here is a photo of my sons watching us cook. In our kitchen the seating area is behind the stove. The kids can stand on kitchen chairs and lean over the back of the stove to see what we are cooking and how. They have done this since we moved here when they were 2, watching, asking questions, offering requests and opinions.
Twin B has practiced his cutting with a butter knife and play dough and progressed last year to slicing mushrooms… or should I say dicing them them? He cuts them into diverse looking chunks. No matter, they taste the same on pizza whether thin or thick.
He has questions about recipes:
“How do you make soup like this?”
“Well, by cooking onions in a little butter until they get sweet and then adding chicken broth carrots, and celery. At the end I added broccoli. Do you like it?”
My mother realized we may have a future chef in the family (and who doesn’t want a chef in the family?) and bought a cookbook at a yard sale: Betty Crocker Kids Cook! * It’s hard-cover, spiral bound, and published in 1999. The kids love it. Especially Twin B.
I keep the cookbook with mine on the shelf in the kitchen and, especially when it was new to us, he frequently asked to look at it. The book has photos of kids who endorse the recipes, accompanied by cartoons of aliens or monsters. The recipes are all illustrated with photos of the finished product. I think my son reads it more like a menu, identifying the things he would like to eat and asking to make them. Sometimes in the evening he brings the cookbook to his dad and asks to read it. They discuss the steps listed to make certain
We have made the banana bread, chocolate chip muffins (the boys’ favorite), pretzels, and apple crisp. You can see that we prefer the desert section, but I am going to help them make sloppy-joes one of these days.
My favorite part is that most of the recipes use real ingredients. When I first laid eyes on this book I thought “great, time to buy a lot of Pillsbury refrigerator biscuits and crescent rolls… sigh.” But I have found that most of the ingredients are things we keep stocked, like flour, sugar, baking soda, apples, bananas, etc. While the chocolate ice cream pie (with the decadent photo) requires a parent to buy a pie shell and chocolate ice cream, there are very few shortcuts like that in the book.
It’s fun that the kids can use their hands to mix and kneed some things. I like to premeasure most things and let the boys pour them in. I also like that most measurements are whole numbers. 1 cup of flour. 1 tsp salt. 1 cup sugar. (That is, until the conscientious mother starts making substitutions of part whole wheat flour and cutting back the sugar.) Later maybe we can study units and measurements this way.
*Now that I have looked up the book on Amazon and seen that someone is selling it for $499.00 I wonder if I should still let them use it. The chocolate chip muffins and the banana bread pages are almost worn out from flipping between them!
What a great cook book!