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Great Cookbooks for Families: Kids’ Kitchen

By Katy Killilea

kids kitchenChildren who are serious about cooking need Kids’ Kitchen. It introduces skills like whisking, grating, and chopping; describes how pigs and eggs and grains become food and wind up on our plates; and offers clearly written recipes for everything from chocolate mousse to roast chicken to jam.

British food writer Amanda Grant pulls it all together and organizes the recipes into chapters based on the origin of foods like the sea, the garden, and the dairy. The writing is clear and very little is assumed: the recipes include reminders to put on oven mitts before handling a hot pan. With its sharp photos full of foods and kids (toddlers through preteens) sipping smoothies and squeezing dough and licking their fingers, it’s fun to flip through and choose a project.

Some food-loving kids might choose to make broiled lamb chops or chicken and leek pie. Once convinced to look beyond the generous selection of sweets, my kids chose to make the Chunky Oven Fries. They were awfully good, and much more fun to make than plain old roasted potatoes (which is what they are–but cut in a different shape and accompanied by a special dipping sauce*).

We made the potatoes collaboratively, with me in charge of the slicing and spattering oil. It seems absurd that my children will one day be allowed to use my chef’s knife or turn on the oven. Although this book is geared for kids of many ages, to read and carry out many of the recipes independently would, I imagine, require a kid to be at least ten or eleven.

(*As with most things in life, they’re also delicious with ketchup.)

Chunky Oven Fries

4 large baking potatoes
3 tablespoons oil
2 teaspoons paprika (optional)
2/3 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons barbecue sauce

1.    Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Scrub the potatoes until they are nice and clean.
2.    Cut each potato in half lengthwise, then in half again, then again, so each potato is cut into 8 wedges. Put the oil in a roasting pan and put it into the oven.
3.    Dry the potato wedges with a dish towel. Remove the roasting pan after it has been heating for five minutes. Quickly add the potatoes.  Sprinkle on the paprika (optional). Return pan to oven.
4.    Cook for ten minutes. Remove pan from oven and flip each wedge over. Return to oven for 10 minutes more.
5.    Mix the sour cream and barbecue sauce together in a small bowl.
6.    Remove roasting pan from oven, and use a spatula to place the potatoes on a plate. Dip into the sauce and eat.

Serves 4

The details:
Kids’ Kitchen
By Amanda Grant
$14.95 Sterling Publishing

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