Saturday, June 22, 2013

Saturday So What: Young Chefs Review

A few weeks ago Christina Dymock asked me if I would participate in her blog tour and post a review of her book, Young Chefs: Cooking skills and recipes for kids. I jumped on the opportunity because, as I have bemoaned often, I have the kitchen skills of a fifth grader. I was given a hard cover copy in exchange for an honest review.

So let's start with the cover and formatting:
Young Chefs By: Christina Dymock
Very attractive. The book is laid out in easy to understand sections of terms, skills and recipes.  The recipes are divided into food times (breakfast, snack, etc.) and then have little labels on whether or not adult help is needed, and a toolbox icon indicating the skills and utensils needed.  I really appreciated the way that worked.  It's very easy to see at a glance whether this recipe will end with me or my children setting the kitchen on fire or losing an appendage.

The glossary is great and informative. My problem comes in the "Skills" section. There are a few basic ones, like measuring solids, liquids. Taking a pan out of the oven. Cracking an egg. These skills are taught with easy to understand instructions and pictures. But I just don't feel that there enough of them. Six, if you don't include the knife how-to which doesn't have pictures and basically says keep your fingers out of the way and have an adult present. I would have like to have seen a photo showing the cat's paw curled under fingers. Then after going through the recipes (all of which look nummy and fun) I think a few more skills might have been nice to help prepare a new elementary chef or their newbie mommy.

But the lack in skills is made up for in the recipe section with plenty of good-looking easy to follow recipes even my 6 year old and I could manage. (I recommend the Cherry Chocolate Cheesecake Bars on page 106)

Overall Review: 
This is a good book for young elementary age children who are just venturing into the kitchen. Good for moms just venturing into the kitchen too. The back of the book says "Kids in the kitchen don't have to make a mess -- as long as they know what they are doing". That's just not true for me and my daughter, we still made a mess. But I like to think of the mess as being in direct proportion to the fun we had together. The book itself is well written and expertly laid out to be convenient and eye catching. Don't expect your child or you to be able to be the Next Food Network Star after reading this, but do expect some family bonding time followed by the boost of a little kids self sufficiency that they can make breakfast for themselves.
4 out of 5 stars.

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