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December 26, 2006 > Recent books for cooking up some fun with children

Recent books for cooking up some fun with children

Looking to get your kids cooking but don't want to shell out big bucks for them to learn the finer points of pasta? Try it the old-fashioned way _ cook with them. Cookbooks aimed at children and their parents have become a growing publishing niche. Here's a selection of some of the latest.


_ ``Green Eggs and Ham Cookbook'' by Georgeanne Brennan (Random House, 2006, $16.95)

Oh, the places you'll go. Inspired by the words of Dr. Seuss, kids will have fun making Cat in the Hat Tub Cake (a pre-bought angel food cake that you decorate with whipped cream and berries), Jed's Bed of Shrimp (deep-fried coconut shrimp) and Daisy-Head Mayzie Burgers.

Many of the recipes, such as Gertrude McFuzz-y Berries and Silly Sammy Slick Sodas, require no chopping, cooking or appliances, so kids can make them with minimal supervision. For those who want to relive the days of Sam I am, follow the recipe for ham covered in cilantro and parsley with a fried egg covered in guacamole.

_ ``Baking with Kids'' by Linda Collister (Ryland, Peters & Small, 2006, $19.95)

A great book for parent-child collaborations. Collister's 65 recipes cover more than traditional baking, though there are plenty of cakes and cookies. How about an oven-baked crunchy crab cake or veggie chili?

For the ambitious _ lamb koftas with pita pockets and sauce. The photos are beautiful and the recipes straightforward. Collister includes a great recipe for a classic yule log, though younger kids may have more fun decorating a pre-made sponge cake.

_ ``Kids Cook 1-2-3'' by Rozanne Gold (Bloomsbury, 2006, $17.95)

An award-winning chef who has cooked for presidents and celebrities, Gold has turned her attention to kids with this simple, elegant cookbook of three-ingredient recipes. With the idea that less is more, kids can easily cook a whole dinner _ roast chicken, creamed spinach and rosemary roasted potatoes _ with little fuss.

_ ``California Squisine'' by Malcolm Kushner (Robert Reed Publishers, 2006, $11.95)

Kushner's 100 recipes had to meet three criteria. They had to pass nutritional muster with a pediatrician. They had to involve no actual cooking beyond a blender. And they had to be squeezable. As in, coming out of a tube, piping bag or plastic bottle.

Think of this as a companion cookbook. Most of the recipes are for salad dressings and sauces (based largely on lowfat and fat-free ingredients). And since they aren't ``squeezable,'' the foods that would go with the sauces and dressings aren't included.

_ ``Sweet Treats'' by Carolyn Beth Weil for Williams-Sonoma (Free Press, 2006, $19.95)

Like a Williams-Sonoma catalog, this cookbook (part of the company's ``Kids In The Kitchen Series'') is attractive and fun to ooh and ahh over. Beautiful photos and design make you want to try every recipe.

Aimed at children ages 8 and up, the book offers a good range in skill levels. Some of the recipes are simple, like the fresh lemonade or chocolate milk shake. With others, such as the black bottom cupcakes, an adult hand will be a big help. But this book is such a joy to peruse, parents will want to join in.

_ ``Fun Food'' by Stephanie Rosenbaum for Williams-Sonoma (Free Press, 2006, $19.95)

Another from Williams-Sonoma ``Kids in the Kitchen Series,'' this book offers tips for new chefs and simple classics such as lasagna and spring peas with mint. Another real looker, this book will draw in parents and children alike.

From the pad thai to the guacamole and chips, Rosenbaum presents realistic recipes that children and parents will enjoy.

_ ``You're the Cook!'' by Katie Wilton (Cooking With Katie, Inc., 2006, $13.95)

Aimed at so-called tweens (roughly ages 9 to 12), Wilton's book offers 20 easy-to-understand recipes _ from fried egg sandwiches to pizza wontons _ and plenty of helpful tips for independent young chefs. Children who are comfortable in the kitchen will be able to make many of these recipes with minimal, if any, supervision.

_ ``Fairy Tale Feasts'' by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple (Crocodile Books, 2006, $24.95)

Children's author Yolen teams up with her daughter in this beautiful cookbook and storybook. Yolen retells classic tales while Stemple offers recipes to match. Recipes include Little Red Ridinghood's Picnic Basket, Seaweed Stuffed Shells in honor of the Little Mermaid and Carrot Soup with a connection to Brer Rabbit. The book includes sidebars about the creation of the stories and the history of the foods.

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