There is nothing that I like better than sharing my love of cooking with my children and grandchildren, just as my Grandma did with me so long ago. I firmly believe that the two most important things you can teach your children are how to read and how to feed themselves, so I love to have "kids in the kitchen" - and they are far more capable than you think they might be.
Cooking together is not only a great way to have fun and learn life skills, it is also an easy way to sneak in a few lessons in math, reading, geography - even history and science. (Every child I know has loved to watch Alton Brown's mad kitchen science show, Good Eats.) Matthew Locricchio's International Cookbooks for Kids are a fantastic resource to help with that.
My granddaughter and I often cooked from The International Cookbook for Kids back when we were homeschooling and I've been recommending that book to parents & grandparents for years, so I was delighted to see Locricchio's latest, The 2nd International Cookbook for Kids. These are not by any stretch of the imagination what you might think of as a "kid's cookbook."
There are no mixes and no cute little assembly tricks, no Candlestick or Bunny Rabbit Salad, no sandwiches that look like sailboats and nothing has been dumbed down. You'll find no American cheese or even much hamburger. All of the recipes that Matthew presents are REAL food - the kind that you go down to the produce department or out to the garden to buy. Whole food, full of vitamins and nutrients, attractively presented and most of all - INTERESTING. (Yes, they will love curry!)
One of the things that I liked best about Matthew's first book, The International Cookbook for Kids , is that it included recipes for things like how to make your own stock. Loccrichio has repeated that trend in The 2nd International Cookbook for Kids. You'll find recipes not only for making your own soup stock, but also baking chapatis (a stunningly good and very easy Indian bread), grinding your own Thai red curry paste and garam masala from India, even producing your own paneer, an easy-to-make fresh cheese similar to farmer's cheese that is commonly used in Indian cooking. Along the way he also includes directions for cooking perfect rice, as well as clear illustrations of various knife skills and techniques like how to clean a leek. Many of the recipes are suitable for vegetarians and, unlike most cookbooks intended for children, there are few sweets.
Written at about a fourth grade reading level, the print is large and easy to read, the directions detailed, laid out in a way that exactly follows the logical assembly of the dish and very clear. There is a large full color picture of every recipe. Like his first, The 2nd International Cookbook for Kids is a book that will be very easy to cook from. Grandma even learned a new trick or two herself.
Grandma's $0.02 - Cooking is one of the most important skills you will pass along. The 2nd International Cookbook for Kids is a fantastic place to start the adventure. Highly recommended for young people of every age beginning at about age 8 or 9/Grade 4.