The Complete Cookbook for Young Chefs

Complete Cookbook for Young ChefsOur col­lec­tion of cook­books is vast. Some of them are in use more than oth­ers, and some of them are in rough shape from too much use. I’m always on the look­out for good cook­books that will encour­age young peo­ple to cook and to read about cook­ing, just as I did with the gift of my first, Bet­ty Crock­er’s Cook­book for Boys and Girls. I start­ed mak­ing fam­i­ly meals when I was 11, and that cook­book, still on my shelves today, is well used.

Today’s chil­dren have a good deal of inspi­ra­tion: Food Net­work chal­lenges designed for ages 9 to 14; uten­sils, cook­ware, and aprons made just for them; being at home all day for dis­tance learn­ing; and some ter­rif­ic cookbooks.

With selec­tions rang­ing from break­fast to snacks to meals for one and meals for the fam­i­ly, each recipe includes a list of ingre­di­ents and need­ed cook­ing equip­ment. The instruc­tions are clear to fol­low (Amer­i­ca’s Test Kitchen has been at this for a long time). When a tech­nique called for in the instruc­tions might be unfa­mil­iar, there’s a pic­ture and advice about how to accom­plish what’s needed.

The instruc­tions and how-tos and tid­bits of essen­tial knowl­edge are writ­ten in a live­ly, cap­ti­vat­ing voice that keeps the read­er mov­ing on to the next top­ic. Shhh! There’s some fun read­ing to be done in this book.

Dis­tinct box­es with dif­fer­ent­ly col­ored back­grounds and dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing title fonts make it easy to fol­low even though there’s a lot of infor­ma­tion on every page.

Anytime Fluffy Pancakes
page from The Com­plete Cook­book for Young Chefs by Amer­i­ca’s Test Kitchen, pub­lished by Source­books Jabberwocky

A recipe for Kale Chips includes pho­tos of the way to prep kale to make squares for chips. There are sug­ges­tions for fla­vor­ings and encour­age­ment to exper­i­ment with your own flavors.

Per­haps best of all are the explana­to­ry sec­tions. What is parch­ment paper? How do you remove husks and silk from fresh corn? What herbs can be grown or pur­chased to enhance food fla­vors? How do you flip a grilled sand­wich? What are the best knives to own and how are they safe­ly used?

Prepara­to­ry pages at the begin­ning of the book show dis­tinct pho­tos of kitchen tools and cook­ware (what on earth is a Dutch oven?). There are instruc­tions for mea­sur­ing, grat­ing, and garnishing.

In the back mat­ter, you’ll find con­ver­sions, tips for healthy eat­ing, and a nutri­tion chart for each recipe (so impor­tant for kids on spe­cif­ic diets).

Dis­clo­sure: There are no chil­dren in our house and this recipe book has already been deployed sev­er­al times. It’s a keeper.

High­ly recommended.

The Com­plete Cook­book for Young Chefs
writ­ten by Amer­i­ca’s Test Kitchen
Source­books Jab­ber­wocky, 2018

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3 years ago

We’ll have to check it out. Bet­ty Crocker’s Cook­book for Boys and Girls was my first cook­book too. Uncle Harold gave it to me in 1983 (he put the date on the inside of the front cov­er, which is the only rea­son I know that for sure.) I can’t even recall how many times I read the recipes in that book. It may have been what nudged me toward becom­ing an avid cook­book reader.