You guys. I have a problem. I can’t stop buying cookbooks.
I went into the bookstore the other day to pick up a cookbook for my mom (Cook’s Illustrated’s The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook) and to check out another (Bread and Wine by Shauna Niequist), and I came out with my mom’s cookbook plus Cooking Together, a Williams-Sonoma cookbook for kids. (I couldn't find Bread and Wine, but also came out with four children’s classics and Domino: The Book of Decorating, but these purchases are a story for another time.)
I have three kids’ cookbooks on my shelf already. I actually have a few more than that, but really only use the three, and who’s counting anyway? In truth, I purchased Cooking Together for my mom to use when the kids are at her house. All that success with the Princess Cookbook being what it is. But here’s what happened. We made potpies. And they were simple and they were good. Then I made biscuits. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to buy another copy for my mom.
Cooking Together is a simple book with simple recipes that use actual ingredients. This is not the Princess Cookbook. This is not throw some snow peas in a bowl with butter, call them dinglehopper peas, and watch your kids eat. This is an actual cookbook with real food that your kids will really eat. This is also a beautiful book (like most Williams-Sonoma cookbooks) with clear, colorful photos of the finished food. But it is the photos of the kids actually making and eating the food that sold my kids on this book. They looked at every page when I brought it home, voting on what we would make first.
Cooking Together is divided into chapters by meal type: rise and shine (breakfast), snacktime, supper, and sweets. What? No veggies? Don’t worry. Both the snack and supper sections incorporate vegetables into dishes like the aforementioned potpies, pizza kabobs, hummus and veggie cones, chow mein, BLT salad, and corn chowder. Even the recipes for kid favorites pizza and tacos include vegetables.
Each recipe includes drawings of the ingredients used so that emergent readers can get in on the action. A chef’s hat diagram indicates kid specific directions within each recipe. These directions are also printed in a different color and larger font to make them easier for kids to spot. I love that the book points out kid-friendly tasks for those who might be new to cooking with their kids or for kids who are just getting into the kitchen on their own. I also love that some of the recipes include alternative serving ideas. There is no rocket science to these ideas, but they are great reminders that a small change in a recipe can create something new and exciting on the table for our kids.
Cooking Together is a great cookbook for getting in the kitchen with your kids. And yes, I will be getting my mom her own copy.