Cook with the kids and The Real Food for Kids Cookbook by Eloise Emmett »
A unique cookbook designed for parents to share the joy of cooking with their children
By Laura McKinnon
Recently when I was looking for things to keep my children busy, I was lucky to receive a copy of The Real Food for Kids Cookbook to review. Written by Tasmanian chef Eloise Emmett, this cookbook is designed for parents to share with their children.
Eloise is a mother of three who knows the joy and the struggle of cooking for and with children. Her children love helping in the kitchen so this book comes from the strongly held belief of “why not get them involved?” She is also passionate about real food, home grown and home cooked.
By its very nature, cooking provides an outlet for children to express their creativity while learning skills that will put them in good stead as they get older. The Real Food for Kids Cookbook also helps to build confidence in the kitchen, starting with the simplest recipes and progressing to more complex.
The opening pages of the book set the tone with vibrant pictures of Eloise’s children cooking up a messy storm, an introduction from Eloise explaining the importance of cooking with children and exposing them to real food, and a legend to guide your recipe choice.
The legend is important as unlike other cookbooks, the recipes are not grouped together in chapters. Instead the icons at the top of each page let you know if the dish is suitable as a snack, meal, or can be frozen or packed in a lunchbox.
As a parent I found the selection of recipes refreshing with a good selection of wholesome foods I would be happy to serve and encourage my children to cook. My daughters, aged 5 and 3, also found plenty of recipes they wanted to try including favourites like Rice Paper Rolls which are now a regular on our menu; Honey and Soy Chicken Nori Rolls, and Kiss Biscuits.
Interestingly a friend’s older daughter (aged 12) with perhaps more traditional tastes (and a sweet tooth!) read through the book and chose a very different selection of recipes. Her favourites included Coconut and Chocolate Balls; Coconut and Berry Loaf; Apple Crumble; Homemade Nuggets; Sweet Scones; Strawberry Tart and Lasagna.
The first recipe we tackled was the Banana Bread. Just like the book described, we had a number of bananas languishing in the fruit bowl, and all the ingredients on hand, so were able to dive in. The recipe was easy to follow and the children enjoyed the process, with plenty of tasks they could tackle themselves. As described the Banana Bread was great in lunchboxes and kept well for a week.
Cooking with children can be a messy affair, but this is core to getting children involved, experiencing its tactile nature and being fun. It is this fun and a fantastic end product that will engage children and make them want to cook again.
The Real Food for Kids Cookbook gives you a beautifully presented blueprint for creating memorable and tasty experiences with children. However I would advise you cover the linen-style fabric cover with plastic as it marks easily and does not stand up well to grubby fingers and kitchen spills.
The Real Food for Kids Cookbook written and published by Eloise Emmett (Taranna, Tasmania, 2015; hc 20-20 cm) retails in Australia for $29. It can be purchased direct from the author at eloiseemmett.com/buy-my-cookbook (payment by bank transfer).
Eloise and her husband also run The Mussel Boys Accommodation at Taranna on Tasmania's Tasman Peninsula (see listing below).
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