Thursday, April 22, 2010

Question: Cookbook for Children

This week my daughter and I made a honey cake from the recipe in her Pooh birthday card. I often have a helper (or two or three) hanging around when I bake. There is always the potential of a spoon or bowl to lick! But this time, she really wanted to help mix up the cake. She was delighted with the result!

I was again reminded of my goal of finding a good children's cookbook. I have fond memories of the cookbook I used as a child. Quinn and I were discussing cookbooks for children and so far, we haven't found exactly what we are looking for.

I'm sure I haven't seen them all, so I'm wondering if any of you have a favorite children's cookbook to recommend.

My perfect cookbook would have clear directions in large print for children to read. It would contain not just desserts (the fun stuff!) but also main dishes and healthier foods for a balanced diet. And I would like it to be lovely! Maybe because my husband is a printer but nicely done, well designed, good illustrated books really appeal to me.

Maybe the perfect book doesn't exist. Thanks for any suggestions!


  1. I think it's Pillsbury that has a kids' cookbook offer. Been a while since I got it for my kids, but you might check the flour bag. Also "Kids Cooking: A Very Slightly Messy Manual" from the Klutz editors. The Klutz book is printed on heavy pages. Many main dishes. Looks like a lot of fun. Very visual. ~Liz

  2. "Pretend Soup and other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up." by Mollie Katzen, she did the Moosewood recipes.

    This is a great book for kids 4 to 10. I used it extensively in kindergartens and nusery schools and my own kids. Now, my grandkids and I use it. Very easy pictorial directions. Everything is hand-drawn and kids can start to pick out words to match the pictures. It also has really cute kids reviews "Tastes like sunshine". My favorite recipe is the fruit dip. I believe the author has another one out for kids now.

  3. My son is a big fan of the Winnie the Pooh Cookbook.

  4. We use "Simple Cooking Fun" (A Teacher Created Materials book). I really like it because it lists books to go with each recipe. And there is a variety of recipes in the book. The book is not in color, the directions are easy to follow, but not easy to read, if that makes sense. And, if you get it and want a copy, I've already gone to the trouble of making a spreadsheet listing all the books and their corresponding recipes (and page numbers). I know. I must have really been bored for a few weeks!!!

    I just borrowed "Fairy Tale Desserts" from the Bookmobile - there are Fairy Tale Breakfasts, FT Lunches, and FT Dinners in the series, also. This book is slim - three fairy tales and three recipes. Some interesting triva type info is also presented. I personally wouldn't buy these, but they'll be fun to use occasionally.

    I'm looking forward to reading everyone else's responses.

  5. I am looking for a good one as well. All the ones I have tried did not work out for us.

  6. You might look at Book Cooks by Cheryl Apgar or Recipes for Reading by Gwynne Spencer. Better yet, visit my blog, Reading, Writing, and Recipes.8-) Every week centers around a theme with suggested books, recipes and a "writing" exercise. Two things I feel strongly about are reading (Reading Monday) and good attitudes toward food (Recipe Wednesday). I also like kids of all ages to think so I include some thinking parts to my blog in To Think About Thursday and Writing Friday, which can be a talking exercise instead for the younger set.

    I am a registered dietitian and a children's author.

  7. I agree about the necessity of good illustrations- I'm very visual when it comes to a cookbook and if there aren't photographs I usually am hard pressed to bother with it. I've noticed that my girls are the same way with staring at the pictures in the cookbooks I own. Because of that, I've also been photographing the recipes in our family cookbook and updating the pages as I go. My three year old daughter loves to help pick out the recipes by looking at them!

  8. I have a VERY picky eater, and I got the Mom and Me Cookbook by Annabel Karmel. There are lots of kid-friendly but healthy foods in it. Here are the "main foods" (plus lots of standard and yummy desserts): scrambled eggs, fruit crepes, spaghetti, pasta salad, pizza, stuffed potatoes made to look like mice, veggies and fruit with dips, and homemade pizzas. I love it because it has step by step directions with photos (not drawings) of actual kids doing the work. It helped us SO MUCH trying to get Our Big Boy to eat healthier, because it is all healthy food that he gets to make!

  9. Thank you so much for all the ideas! I'm eager to look up your suggestions when I get a little extra computer time!


  10. We love to cook and bake and a couple of our favorites for kids are The Quiet Arts Series Home Economics for Homeschoolers and Sugar-Free Toddlers by Susan Watson.:)Nikki

  11. Gina,

    I have been doing some thinking about this question. As a child, I learned to cook with the Betty Crocker Cookbook for Boys and Girls (published in the 1950s or early 1960s, I would guess) and I absolutely loved that book. Another cookbook that came along later was Let's Start to Cook, by Nell Nichols. I believe it was a Farm Journal publication. I think maybe my ideal cookbook would be a combination of both of them! Let's Start to Cook contained a lot of good basic information, while the Betty Crocker one was beautifully and lavishly illustrated and had many yummy-looking photos. I think they can both still be found at used-book sellers. There seem to be some used ones on Amazon.

    I have heard some wonderful things about Look and Cook, by Tina Davis. It has a real vintage look to it -- on the outside, anyway. I haven't looked inside. It has some great reviews on Amazon. I hope this is the link: Look and Cook

    Your thoughts about what a perfect children's cookbook have certainly started me thinking! I've done a bit of writing for children, but have never really considered writing a kid's cookbook. Maybe I should think about it!

  12. I found 2 cookbooks at our childrens consignment shop that I really like:

    William Sonoma Kids Baking which includes cookies, cakes & cupcakes, pies & pastries, Simple breads & muffins & yeast breads.

    Kinder Krunchies very simple early reader style with rebus instructions on left and words on right.

    I hope this helps,

  13. I have a great children't cookbook by DK (Dorling Kindersley) called the Children's step-by-step Cook Book - a complete cookery course for children. Author, Angela Wilkes.

    It has great pictures and all sorts of mains, basics, veggies all with pics to guide. snacks, milkshakes, eggs and cheese, salads, casseroles, bread and biscuits (cookies) etc. If you copy the link above you can look inside and see for yourself.

  14. Found it! Just got another bag of flour out of storage, and there it was. Look on the side of the Gold Medal sack. An alphabet cookbook and a "Rainbow" cookbook.

  15. I just got a book that looked like it might be a winner & it's not too bad (there are a couple of tofu recipes we won't be trying ;D)

    Kids Fun & Healthy Cookbook-

    There are some super simple recipes, but some more complex ones so it won't get old too fast.


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