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4.1 out of 5 stars12
4.1 out of 5 stars
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on 8 September 2011
Anna del Conte never disappoints: her cookbooks are heirlooms for many generations of cooks to come. The premise of "Cooking with Coco" is to provide a useful and imaginative series of recipes that parents and children can enjoy cooking together, as a team, from the age of 3 till the teenage years. The book is split into four sections. The first, "Mixing and Messing" is about introducing toddlers and primary school children to the simpler recipes and techniques, such as making minestrina, a light broth with pasta, or a broad bean and goat cheese salad, bruschetta and sweet, milky puddings.

By the age of six, children are ready for "Chopping and Cutting", and the gentle art of making ravioli and cappelletti stuffed with ricotta and herbs, or farfalle with ham and peas, granny's own fish fingers and soft chocolate nougat.

At the age of nine Thai chicken with noodles, a meat roll with mushroom sauce and a cream and coffee trifle are all achievable in "Inventing and Creating". The teenage years provide more complex and layered menus with eggs in a pasta nest, a Swiss chard torte, a cake of chocolate and bananas and brandy snaps filled with cream. "The Budding Chef" is a chapter which showcases Coco's greater independence and control in the kitchen. Anna writes: "Whether she will become a fully-fledged chef is immaterial. What she will always be is a good cook, who, I hope, will one day teach her own children the importance and the pleasure of good food in a family."

Throughout the book, Anna provides hints and tips of working with "your own Coco", how to ignite children's interest in food, how crucial it is to taste and to communicate with children about seasonings, likes and dislikes, the importance of the seasons and good quality ingredients. "A good dish begins in the shop" Anna quotes her own mother in some sections, and believes that "frequent exposure to good food and systematic analysis will teach so much."

Jason Lowe's photographs in "Cooking with Coco" show Anna and the children completely immersed in preparations. On one page they are buying fruit and vegetables at Gold Hill, her local shop in Child Okeford. Next, Anna is overseeing pasta making, as her grandson Johnny is whirring the handle of the Imperia pasta machine. Granny is then seen in the vegetable garden slicing cabbages with Coco and Kate, watching carefully and guiding closely. From shelling peas, to making pesto to frying little pizzas, the quiet rhythm of domestic activity and familial companionship are imbued in the pages of this captivating journal.

I challenge any cook to pick up this book and not want to ear mark every other page: for holiday breakfasts, Sunday lunches, birthday parties, get togethers, after-school treats and everyday suppers. This book is the ultimate collection and repository of the useful, practical and frugal Italian repertoire of "la cucina casalinga": Italian home cooking at its very best.
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on 3 November 2011
I have just sat and had my first full read through of this, after buying it solely for a recipe mentioned on Nigella Lawson's website - the upside down sausage and onion tart. I made it hte first night I got the book, and it was delicious! After reading through, the whole book is littered with my post it page markers - it is THAT good. I don't have children yet, but if I ever do, I'll need a whole new copy because mine will be falling apart! I also loved how the children's comments were sprinkled in with the recipes, along with their favourite variations of things for some recipes. I'll be making another of the recipes tonight!

Seriously, children or no, this book is full of lovely recipes and you might even find yourself wanting to lick the photos! I would say, they are all fairly simple (obviously - it's about cooking with children), but simple is often the best way with good quality, fresh ingredients.
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on 3 January 2012
I came across this book in our local Italian deli and was immediately drawn to the beautiful photography. It was duly purchased on Amazon where it was much cheaper (of course!) and I've barely had a week where I haven't used it since.

Nigella Lawson loves this book and I can see why. It really is one of the best family cook books I have found and the narrative which accompanies each recipe is a real treat. My 3 yo son already spends a lot of time 'helping' in the kitchen, but this book has given me new ideas to try out with him.

If you are looking for excellent day to day family recipes this is the book for you!
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on 31 August 2011
If you have children and are bored of being the only one standing at the stove, this book is a must. It caters (excuse the pun) to every age and aptitude, and does not assume that all children will want to make toffee crispies and banana splits. Many of the recipes make great family meals - some I wouldn't hesitate to use for dinner parties. A greater or lesser degree of help is required from your young sous chef, depending on age and experience, but I find that just being involved in the preparation of meals makes children more keen to try and enjoy new things. Many of the processes are highly tactile and wonderfully messy - filling brandy snaps, rolling meatballs or chocolate, breadcrumbing chicken. A delightful sense of humour and personality pervade every page - a good example being Anna's recognition that every child loves meringues, and every english child loves tomato ketchup. "Pity they can't be combined" she wrily states.

So for any of you looking to inspire your child and yourself in the kitchen, this really is a winner. In my opinion, far and away the best cookery book aimed at children that I've found. Thank you Anna.
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on 15 June 2013
Nothing new but still a very useful cookery book for families. Nicely put together book, lovely comments from a loving gran who happens to be a great food writer and some good recipes to try out with your children or gr.children. Good purchase.
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on 5 April 2013
great recipes are easy for children to cook and encourage to cook. You will cook basic Italian. And have fun.
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on 14 January 2016
Very good read and recipes that are useful to cook with grandchildren.
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on 28 July 2015
a gift for my great niece, so let' hope she loves it too!!
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on 25 August 2015
I would actually attempt some of the recipes.
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on 1 January 2014
We've had two recipes from this book and they are both boring and bland, call for hardly any ingredients yet manage to use half the pots and pans in your kitchen.

Who calls for 2 cloves of garlic in a recipe that serves 4 people?

And this is meant to encourage young grand-kids to cook and eat good food? How many 12 year olds do you know that like olives and capers!

Avoid if you like flavourful food - buy any other recipe book!
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