Monday, July 25, 2011

The Do It Myself Kids' Cookbook: A Review

The other day I received a free copy of The Do It Myself Kids' Cookbook* in the mail from its publisher to review. As I have a bunch of things to do this week, I put it aside and figured I'd get to it sometime next month. My 9 year old daughter, however, saw the book on the counter, started reading it, and was riveted. Since she was so excited to test it out, I felt compelled to review the book sooner than I planned. And I also took the opportunity to enlist my daughter's help in the process. As I've written before, I often look for opportunities for my children to practice their writing skills. My daughter's review is below.

Here is my take on the book. The step-by-step illustrations are excellent and the photographs provide a terrific guide for how the finished products should appear. Some of the recipes require some advance prep work by an adult, but the recipes are written so that once all the ingredients are in place, a child can independently assemble a sandwich, snack, salad, or dessert. As you can see from my daughter's review below, she absolutely loved the feeling of independence and being able to "do it herself." Often when she helps me cook, I give her tasks that are only part of a recipe. She often wants to do the whole thing by herself, but I don't always let her, mostly due to safety issues or time constraints.

This book is designed to encourage kids' autonomy in the kitchen. I remained in the kitchen preparing dinner while my daughter was set up on her own with counter space devoted to dessert-making. The process was interesting and revealed some of the things that you might not think about when teaching someone to follow a recipe. Some of the skills she learned along the way included choosing the appropriate measuring cups to use for liquids and dry goods and deciding when you really need to measure and when you don't (e.g., when spreading a tablespoon of peanut butter on a cracker, I think you can just estimate rather than measuring first).

If you can't tell from the photo above, my daughter was beaming when she presented her creations to the family. She chose to make desserts. The cookbook does include a lot of dessert-like recipes, but there are also several recipes that could be served for lunch or a light supper. I think this cookbook is an excellent choice for an elementary school aged child or an advanced preschooler who wants the challenge of cooking by him- or herself.

My daughter's review:

I really enjoyed using this cookbook. I always like to be independent, and I always love to cook.  So when there was a cookbook that let me cook without a parent, I was eager to get my hands on it. I made dessert for my family, and the peanut butter covered fruit and indoor s’mores were a big hit. The pictures were very helpful, and it was very easy to read. I understood what was supposed to happen. I’m very excited to use this cookbook in the future. I love to do it myself!!!!!! :D

The reviewer hard at work.
*The Do It Myself Kids Cookbook by Laurie Goldrich Wolf. Downtown Bookworks, 2010.
Disclosure:  I received a free cookbook from Downtown Bookworks for review. No other compensation was received and the opinions expressed are mine and my daughter's.

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