Obviously, I am a big fan of cookbooks for kids! What better way to learn about cook than thinking of it as a form of play? And what better way to teach kids about a plant-based diet than making it part of a game — the cooking game!
I am also a big fan of Jennifer S. Larson and her kid cook books. Delicious Vegetarian Main Dishes is the latest and I was absolutely delighted when I got the galley copy. This book is part of the You’re the Chef series which include books on sandwiches, meaty main dishes, soup and salad. pizza and pasta.
Like all the books in the series, the photographs are stunning, the illustrations (drawings) are clear and the instructions simple. Each recipe starts with a side bar that has icons at the top for the “dangerous or more advanced” things used. They include icons for the stovetop, toaster, knives, microwave and oven. This is followed with a time estimate, a list of ingredients and a list of the equipment needed.
The instructions are clear and illustrated with color drawings of things like a colander, a cutting board with onion on it, the pan need and sometimes the packaging on an unfamiliar item. Visually it is stunning – the pages are bordered with vegetables, fruit, eggs and pasta. I know it sounds strange but it works!
The book contains 9 recipes: 5 vegan, 3 that use cheese but where you could substitute soy or cashew cheese and 1 that is full of eggs and cheese (no way to make it vegan).
This is a great gift for any kid who is interested in cooking and wants to know more. The book has a colorful simple picture book format. It is unabashedly aimed at kids but not at all childish. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to an adult who wanted to learn how to begin cooking vegetarian meals. No matter who the gets it, this is a book to keep and cherish for a long time!
The main criticism of the You’re the Chef series is the price. Each title retails for $26.60. I, however think of it this way: my first cookbook is over fifty years old so the cost per year for a volume like this is about 50 cents a year. Plus a cookbook of real vegetarian main dishes beats the heck out of the General Mills propaganda of the Betty Crocker Series.
An easy and perfect gift for the young wannabe cook in your life. I wish I had had a vegetarian kids cookbook!