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The Family Kitchen: Easy and Delicious Recipes for Parents and Kids to Make and Enjoy Together

Great Cookbooks for Families
Reviewed by Katy Killilea

Familykitchen on kid o infoCould this be for real? Food that everyone in the family will eat–and eat happily? Debra Ponzek, an accomplished professional chef, has collected the recipes her family enjoys making and eating together in this lovely volume. Ponzek’s goal is to help us make yummy, peaceful meals that everyone can enjoy while enjoying one another’s company, both in the kitchen during prep time and at the dining table when the meal is ready to eat.

Divided into chapters that reflect the way families live (e.g., “Backyard Suppers on the Grill,” “Snow Days,” “Bake Sales”) and devoid of babyish, bland, or plain food, this book is full of inspiration. The food is simple but creative, and each recipe has a “call the kids” box, which offers suggestions on how your kids can participate in helping with the meal. Measuring soy sauce for a marinade or squeezing limes? Most junior chefs love those sorts of jobs.

If you have a 5- and 7-year-old help you make the Asian Flank Steak Salad, will they eat it? Um. No, not mine. At least not with gusto. But they liked shredding the cabbage with the Cuisinart, and they ate the steak part of the salad, even though it had been marinated in “stinky stuff” like garlic and scallions. And no one freaked out or panicked at the sight of the meal, which has been known to happen at my house from time to time.

Doesn’t it seem that most of the kids you know, even the picky ones, have at least one or two flavors–in addition to pasta and jam–that they like? Capers and salami, sushi and miso, broccoli and lemons. Ponzek knows how to play up to these. My picky eaters spent the very beginnings of their lives around the corner from an Indian restaurant and grocery store, so curry is something they learned to like early on. We dove right into the book’s Curried Chicken Salad with Apples and Currants. Except for the currants, which had to be relegated to a ramekin as an optional topping.

Curried Chicken Salad with Apples and Currants
From The Family Kitchen By Debra Ponzek

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(Note: the author recommends starting with just a little curry powder if you think your kids won’t like it, to help them develop a taste for the spice.)

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder, or to taste
  • 4 cups cooked chicken breast, cubed (about 1¼ pounds)
  • ½ Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • ½ cup diced white onion
  • ¼ cup currants or raisins
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper

In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise and curry powder. Add the chicken, apple, onion, currants, parsley, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and toss gently.

Serves 4 to 6

Photo Credit: Random House Publishing

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