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Kitchen Playdates

Great Cookbooks for Families
Reviewed by Katy Killilea

Playdates ChronicleThe title of Kitchen Playdates is misleading–it sounds like it’s going to be cute ideas for cooking and playing with kids in the kitchen. No. This smart book acknowledges that adults like to get together to eat great food, have some drinks, and that they like to do this (gasp) even in the presence of children.

These are recipes for adults that take kids into account. Each is purportedly simple enough to make with kids underfoot and includes notes on how to put interested kids to work. But what makes this book really different from the gazillion other simple, stylish, beautifully photographed cookbooks is the ingenious ideas for kid-oriented activities. They will delight children and could even keep them out of earshot while the adults discuss important matters of the world today, or how Mr. X is recovering from his vasectomy.

The activities are loosely related to the recipes, but they can be done anytime. For example, the “Spice Treasure Playdate” has kids “paint” using inexpensive bulk spices and glue (the author warns readers, “Just avoid cayenne”). She also suggests providing kids with small jars and letting them make spice blends in the style of sand art (wherein layers of different colors are visible through the glass). Fun, pretty, and an olfactory education as well. And much easier to clean up than glitter.

Details:
Kitchen Playdates
By Lauren Bank Deen
2007 Chronicle Books
$24.95

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