Cooking Fun is guaranteed to build those irreplaceable memories of cooking with a parent or grandparent. It will also guide children to develop discriminating taste buds, and will teach our youngsters to eat well for pleasure and health. Author Rae Grant remembers her own memories, saying "My grandmother was an exceptional home cook and baker. When we visited her house, the cookie jar was always full, and no matter how many we ate, more cookies magically appeared (or so we thought)." With memory in mind, the book is illustrated with charming old-fashioned illustrations, some reminiscent of an old storybook, others evoking old cookbook illustrations. The result is pure charm, but all the recipes have been rigorously child-tested.
Addressed directly to children the book is designed to be a saved and loved memory on its own. In the opening pages there is a name plate for the child to write his or her own name, and at the end of the book there are pages for the child to record favorite recipes. This is a hands-on cookbook in all ways.
Grant starts with solid but simple advice such as suggestions to tie back long hair, have clean hands, turn the handles of the pans and skillets towards the middle of the stove top and away from any heat source. She includes short explanations about kitchen basics, a list of equipment, a page on measuring as well as one on cooking terms. To keep the kitchen a happy place, she includes guidance within the recipes such as the advice to be careful to not scrape fingers on a box grater.
This is a book about togetherness in the kitchen and most of the recipes recommend adult guidance, though several are easy enough for kids on their own. We like the idea of guidance: not only memories are formed, but adults pass on their own experience and tell their own stories, bringing a tumble of generations into shared memories.
The recipes include classics that have forged bonds between generations, the real comfort foods that we cherish. There are beverages, sandwiches, soups, simple suppers, quick breads, cakes and cookies (of course there are cookies), and even some veggies.
Kids love to cook. Though children don't think of using the word 'creative' they dive into the creative aspects of the kitchen with zeal and without inhibition. The mysteries of food fascinate children - watching a small batter puff into a cupcake or a pancake may have a scientific basis, but to children it is magical. Kids also respond to learning more about their own environment, and feel a sense of oneness with the adults, a feeling of power when they conquer some of the simpler cooking tasks. They will love learning how to make French Toast with an assortment of toppings or scrambled eggs that cook up quickly. They will love making their own Chocolate Milk or Chocolate Pudding.
Being in the kitchen with children is rewarding, but the secret prize for Mom and Dad happens when the kids actually can cook a few recipes. Imagine when Mother's Day or Father's Day rolls around, and beaming faces bring a breakfast in bed that is actually tasty!