Tuesday, November 4th, 2008
Review: The Toddler Cookbook
Here’s the perfect cookbook for engaging a toddler around the kitchen during the holidays.
This cookbook is very good at getting a toddler excited about selecting and following a recipe.
It’s intended for ages 3-and-up, although a supervised 2-year-old could manage with careful assistance. My daughter began using the book earlier this year at the age of 3.
The photography is what makes this cookbook. There are step-by-step color photos of toddlers preparing the recipes, from lining pans with muffin liners to sifting flour over a bowl.
This is a welcome departure from other books that depict disembodied hands viewed from above preparing a meal, or worse, text-only food preparation. Each page shows a different toddler cooking, shot at or near the toddler’s eye level. Nine boys. Nine girls. Perfect lighting. Perfect clothes. Perfect smiles.
Heck, they even get the parents right. Two recipes show the faces of adults assisting while the rest show only their hands, and the skin tones are consistent with those of the kids.
A lot of energy went into making a visually appealing, simplified cookbook.
Oh, sure there are words. You get the ingredient list first, and then a textual description below each photographed step.
When my daughter first opened the book, her excitement spiked. She flipped through the pages gazing at the giant-sized poised shots of carefully arranged, perfectly finished foods.
We made mini banana muffins first. Then mini lemon cheesecakes. Then little pita pizzas. We haven’t made fruit skewers yet (drinking straws are used for skewers), but I did finally buy a melon baller.
There are 19 recipes to choose from, 9 main or side dishes (3 involving meat) and 10 desserts. Does homemade lemonade count as a dessert? Okay, good.
But you know, this really isn’t about which recipes are in the book. It doesn’t even have any holiday recipes. It’s about a kid having his own cookbook, one where he can see the pictures and think, “I can make that.”
And from there, you have a launching point into fun no matter what meal you’re preparing. You soon learn that even a picky eater will try a new food when she has a hand in making it.