Great Cookbooks for Families
Reviewed by Katy Killilea
Nutrition advice books are a drag. I already know about Ezekiel bread, that juice is full of sugar, and that everyone needs to eat colorful fruits and vegetables. The same advice is churned over and over, repackaged, and disseminated to readers who are bored to tears. Recently, however, a few bright, chunky books have me rethinking this dour stance.
One of these noteworthy books dares to ask, "What would happen to a baby fox if it ate Sour Patch Kids instead of mice?"Â The book is Simple Food for Busy Families. There's a fair amount of standard nutrition info, a handful of zingers (I'll never fully cleanse the image of a nasty fox strung out on Sour Patch Kids from my mind), and incredibly useful charts-cum-recipes for mixing and matching ingredients to make things like fruit cobblers, quiches, and stews.
Eat Well Live Well with Growing Children has less advice and many more recipes. Each recipe is introduced with flattering words about its nutrient content and how easy it is to make. And the recipes are truly simple, thoughtful, and realistic–you'd use them even with a child hanging on each of your legs. The book covers everything from basic speedy breakfasts (smoothies), to kooky, delicious after-school snacks (red lentil and sweet potato dip), treats with benefits (granola bars made with a mixture of whole grains and fruits), and kids-all-smiling dinners (fish & chips).
Superfoods for Healthy Kids promises immune-boosting recipes. Its chapters take us through a child's early years with fantastic recipes, all viewed through the lens of the developing immune system. Best of all is the "Foods to Fight Common Illnesses" section. It includes advice on coping with childhood ailments as well as recipes targeted at remedying them. Suggested recipe for chicken pox? Blueberry smoothie. Ear infection? Broth. These may not be magic bullets, but at the very least it's a place to turn when you want to feel like you're doing something to help your child feel better and recover faster.
Simple Foods for Busy Families
By Jeanette Bessinger and Tracee Yablon-Brenner
$19.95 Celestial Arts (Tenspeed Press)
Eat Well Live Well with Growing Children
By Karen Kingham
Superfoods for Healthy Kids
By Lucy Burney
$14.95 Sterling Publishing