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21 January, 2007

Book Review: Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up by Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson

Read and Reviewed for Armchair Interviews

Mollie Katzen is well known in the food world for her involvement with the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York. She has been creating recipes and writing vegetarian cookbooks for adults for many years. However, until she witnessed her son’s preschool class making applesauce one day, she didn’t think her three year old would have an interest in preparing food.

When she talked to his teacher, Ann Henderson, she discovered that cooking was a weekly occurrence for the class. Something clicked during this conversation and she remembered her “play cooking” as a child with her mother’s old bowls in the backyard. Several years later, Mollie and Ann teamed up to write a cookbook for parents and their preschoolers to use to experience the fun of early cooking at home.

Because this unique cookbook is designed for both adults and preschoolers it does not follow traditional cookbook layout. First, the recipe is written traditionally for the adults to go through. Next, the recipe is written in a pictorial version for the kids to use. The authors also give tips to make these more fun and safe for the children. Ideas such as colored tape on the handle of the butter (or plastic) knife to teach them which end to hold, and creating a cooking station at the kitchen table where it is safer for the kids to reach using an electric skillet. Each recipe is presented in a colorful way, with ideas on how to introduce young and picky eaters to try new foods.

Recipes such as popovers, green spaghetti, bagel faces and pretend soup are simple enough to not confuse young cooks, but complex enough to inspire their imaginations and leave them with good healthy fun food to eat. Each of these recipes has been made and taste tested by Ann’s preschoolers and the book is peppered with quotes from the kids on what they thought of the foods that they made. I’m looking forward to spending some time with the preschoolers in my life and trying out some of the fun food recipes found inside this fun little cookbook.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I also reviewed this book for my blog and found it to be a useful resource! If you tried any of the recipes I'd love to hear about it.