Great Cookbooks for Families
Reviewed by Katy Killilea
Oh, to be able to start from scratch with a fresh, new baby! My only quibble with this cookbook is that I didn’t have it sooner. It is beautiful–plenty of photographs, clean design, and it’s spiral-bound so you don’t have to prop it open with a spatula. It takes you every feeding stage, from infant to toddler to child. Each age group gets its own section, with age-appropriate nutrition and meal planning information. Ostensibly the most complex recipes are aimed at children ages 3 to 6 years old, but I think they would work wonderfully for children much older than that–as well as their parents. Do you know anyone who has outgrown brioche pudding?
Many of the recipes are ideas rather than actual cooking instructions. For example, in the baby section, the listing for “avocado puree” directs you to mash an avocado and add breast milk or formula until it’s thin enough for your baby to eat. And in the children’s lunch section, I didn’t actually need a recipe for making toast with cream cheese and apple slices, but I’m sure I never would have thought of the combination on my own. With this book as a reference, a parent can come up with novel concepts easily.
The text of this British book contains translations for American cooks. I recognized courgettes (zucchini) and Victoria sponge (a cake), but mangetouts were new to me, and I am grateful to the editors for filling me in (they’re sugar snap peas.) Sausage hedgehogs, hot bacon salad, and potted beef spread might not be on most American children’s menus, but these recipes make the cookbook fun and transport you for a moment back to your semester abroad or perhaps to the lunch room in the original version of The Office.
This is a quick breakfast idea, recipe No. 96 of 365 in the book. The flavors will be familiar but the format is tweaked in a fun way. The authors estimate that the dish takes ten minutes to prepare.
Cinnamon French Toast Fingers
From The Big Book of Recipes for Babies, Toddlers & Children: 365 Quick, Easy, and Healthy Dishes By Bridget Wardley and Judy More
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Cinnamon to taste
- 2 slices whole wheat bread, cut into fingers
- 1 tablespoon oil (Katy’s note: use a flavorless oil, like canola or light olive)
- Maple syrup (to serve)
Mix the egg, milk, and cinnamon in a flat dish. Coat the bread fingers in the egg mixture on both sides. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the bread fingers and fry until golden on both sides. Serve with maple syrup in an eggcup to dip the toast fingers in.
Photo credits: Red Leaf Press (book), Joe Killilea (child).
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