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*Kids Cook 1-2-3: Recipes for Young Chefs Using Only Three Ingredients* by Rozanne Gold, illustrated by Sara Pinto - young readers book review



Kids Cook 1-2-3: Recipes for Young Chefs Using Only Three Ingredients
by Rozanne Gold, illustrated by Sara Pinto
Ages 9-12 144 pages Bloomsbury USA October 2006 Hardcover    

This book is great for children who are literally holding onto some apron strings - holding on, that is, because they want to help in the kitchen so bad! Rozanne Gold's cookbook for children is filled with over 125 recipes, all made with three ingredients. Although she doesn’t count salt, pepper, and water when adding up the ingredients, children will not be hindered in making any of these recipes. After reading over the importance of using fresh ingredients, some definitions of cooking terms, and a section on kitchen safety, children can get started preparing these foods.

With breakfast recipes for breads, spreads, eggs and drinks, children and their families can enjoy a healthy, fun meal. Magic “Coffee” doesn’t have any coffee in it; the coffee taste comes from young Danielle’s suggestion of substituting the author’s original ingredient of pickling spice with a cinnamon stick. Danielle, age 11, is one of many children who helped the author test the recipes Gold created. She includes some personal favorites such as Cinnamon Oodles and My Favorite Tuna Salad. However, just as Magic “Coffee” was adjusted by a child, she acknowledges when other recipes have been altered to perfection by a budding young chef. Robyn, age eight, made Robyn’s Perfect Pizza after eight attempts to get it just right. And Ian, age 12, helped with Ian’s Cheese Popcorn.

Comfort foods (Mac-and-Cheese), nutritious foods (Snow Peas and Baby Corn), and vegetarian recipes (Roasted Rosemary Potatoes) can be found as you read through the recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, side dishes and desserts. Children are encouraged to be their own chef. The quotes in the book prove that not only does their creativity come out, but the children are learning, too. Rachel, age 12, says “Strawberries-in-Nightgowns were my favorite. My younger brother Daniel said they were awesome. I even tried dipping slices of clementine oranges in the chocolate mixture and called them Tangy Tops. They were delicious.” One child in the book, who was only familiar with microwave popcorn, learned popcorn could be made on the stove, too.

In this cookbook, you see the recipes through Sara Pinto’s eyes. She illustrates the recipes very creatively; below the recipe for the drink Tomato Sunshine, for instance, she’s drawn a sun rising out of a cup. Heavenly Chocolate Mousse Cake is shown flying high in the clouds. Not only has the finished cake sprung wings, but so have the ingredients. Individual eggs, a stick of butter, and a block of chocolate are all soaring up in the sky. She has fun with the names of the recipes as well. For Cookies While You Sleep, she’s drawn a plump, bursting-at-the-seams oven surrounded by a starry nighttime sky; the words "Sweet Dreams" are written on the stove.

The Best Mashed Potatoes are not just drawn plainly in a bowl. These potatoes are so wonderful that two birds are holding a pink, ribbony banner over them which proclaims “The Best Mashed Potatoes.” With little extras inside like a comic strip, and a very originally drawn bottle of pure maple syrup, you don’t miss seeing photographs of the recipes. Although there are some white backgrounds, several of the pages are colored - sometimes more than one color. Sidebars may be orange while the page is in pink.

Sometimes the pages have colorful purple or red borders around them. Kitchen-y embellishments occur throughout this book. The ingredients might rain down on the child, like the cherries in Fresh Cherries With Chocolate Fondue, or they may be presented nicely on a plate, like Bowties with Broccoli. Either way, the illustrations bring an element of fun to the book, and the colorful backgrounds bring cheerfulness.

The recipes are easy to follow, but even quicker snack ideas are included. Cut up an apple and smear on one of the several toppings she suggest - say, peanut butter and sprinkles, or honey and crushed pretzels. Gold also suggests several ways to use a can of tuna (including a use for the can itself), a few ways to perk up a peanut butter sandwich, and suggestions for using up hard-boiled eggs.

Rozanne Gold is known for her three ingredient series of cookbooks. With an award-winning chef and author, and an award-winning illustrator, this cookbook won’t go unnoticed.

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  Tanya Boudreau/2006 for curled up with a good kid's book  

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