Great Cookbooks for Families
Reviewed by Katy Killilea
This is much more than an international cookbook for kids–it’s also a geography lesson and an introduction to cultural anthropology. Sushi, hummus, and pad thai might all meet up in your kid’s stomach, but it’s easy to forget that each dish comes from a different country–and it’s not Whole Foods-istan. The Around the World Cookbook by Abby Dodge not only instructs your child how to make yummy foods from around the globe (some are old favorites, plus many new recipes to try); it also includes maps, photographs, and cultural traditions that put the food in context.
Divided roughly by continent, with special sections highlighting what foods humans all over our planet share (for example, “pocket foods” like El Salvador’s pupusas, Tunisian brik, Italian calzone, Japanese gyoza, and English pasties), the text provides readers with a rich base of information. In addition to the geography info, there are photo-illustrated instructions on basic cooking techniques like chopping an onion and washing berries.
The book has a hard cover and internal spiral binding, so it is easy to consult as it lies flat on a countertop. The recipes are tempting and not dumbed-down for a kid’s palate. Instead, authentic recipes that will appeal to kids are offered. Each is illustrated with photographs of the finished product as well as the preparation process. Obviously, how much independent cooking a child can handle depends upon her age and dexterity with sharp tools. But with a nearby adult for assistance, these recipes offer plenty of opportunity for a child–even a very young child–to participate. Any steps that might be dangerous (fire, knives, and the like) are marked with a warning symbol, so you can see at a glance what kind of adult supervision/anxiety the recipe will demand.
Lebanon, Jamaica, Vietnam, Russia, Argentina–your child can lead you on a culinary tour of these countries and many others. What follows is a recipe for a Tunisian soup traditionally eaten for breakfast. The author’s introduction to the recipe includes info on other cultures and breakfast soups.
Tunisia: Leb Lebi
1 (29-ounce) can chickpeas
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
Â¾ teaspoon caraway seeds
Â¼ teaspoon ground cumin
5 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
salt and pepper
1. Dump the chickpeas into a colander. Rinse and drain.
2. In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and light brown around the edges, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the caraway seeds and cumin. Cook, stirring, about 1 minute.
4. Stir in the chickpeas, broth, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover with a lid. Simmer until the chickpeas are very tender, about 25 minutes. Remove from the heat.
5. Using the back of a wooden spoon, crush some of the chickpeas against the side of the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm in bowls.
Around The World Cookbook by Abigail Johnson Dodge
2008 DK Publishing, New York