Mar 20, 2014

Parent Hacks- Cooking with the Family

Ah, cooking. Cooking can be the most delightful of activities, or one of the most frustrating, depending on your expertise in the kitchen. If you are looking for some ways to introduce your children to cooking or perhaps learn some new recipes yourself, today's post is for you! We have compiled plenty of great book recommendations for you (available to take home from the library of course) in addition to some of our most favorite cooking blogs.

Recommended Non-Fiction Titles:

Cool USA Cooking Series by Alex Kuskowski. (Abdo Publishing, 2014).

Image from Abdo Publishing.
Our newest cooking series teaches kids to cook dishes from all across the United States. Each book focuses on a specific region of the country, outlining the individual states included in the region, and then provides various recipes for local cuisine. Recipes span from snacks, entrees to desserts and the titles provide basic cooking tips and a glossary of terms. Not only does this cooking series supply you with tasty meals, it also supplies a wonderful opportunity to explore other American cultures and histories other than your own. You could read a rowdy cowboy story and then whip up a batch of  "Arizona Beef Stew" from Cool Western Cooking. Or how about a jazzy story based in Chicago followed by a "Windy City Hot Dog" from Cool Midwestern Cooking.

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There are various other great cooking series available at the library that would make awesome starting points for young chefs. Try the You're the Chef series by Jennifer S. Larson (Millbrook Press, 2013). This cooking series is divided by types of meals, with titles such as Tasty Sandwiches and Yummy Soup and Salad Recipes. You'll find plenty of healthy recipes such as pita pockets filled with black beans and fresh vegetables or homemade veggie burgers.

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 The Super Simple series by Nancy Tuminelly (Abdo Publishing, 2013) is a good choice for the youngest of cooking connoisseurs. These recipes are quick, easy and require no baking so time spent in the kitchen is extra safe. Titles in this series include Super Simple Breakfasts and Super Simple Snacks.

Recommended Fiction Titles:

One way to make time in the kitchen more fun is by including cooking-related fiction stories. You can read one of these picture books together while you wait for your dinner to finish in the oven or while munching on the snack you just created.

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Minette's Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat by Susanna Reich. ( Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2012). Follow the famous Julia Child in Paris as she and her cat Minette venture on culinary adventures. Julia is quite the amazing cook, but Minette seems to prefer mouse and bird to Julia's meals. This story is filled with lots of French words and sophisticated cooking terms to explore! Great for kindergarten and early grade school students interested in Parisian fare.

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Soup Day by Melissa Iwai. ( Henry Holt, 2010). A good choice for the toddler and preschool set, this story follows a mother and daughter as they traverse the market purchasing the many vegetables needed to make soup. A recipe to make your own soup is included in the back of the book!

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Gazpacho for Nacho by Tracey Kyle. (Two Lions, 2014). Nacho loves to eat gazpacho for every meal of the day! Includes a recipe for gazpacho and Spanish glossary in the back of the book. Great for preschool and kindergarten students.

Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. (Chronicle Books, 2005).  In an adorable twist, Little Pea cannot eat his vegetables until he eats up all of his candy! A great choice for picky eaters who may not enjoy their veggies. A story for kids of all ages.

Image from Chronicle Books.

Recommended Websites:

A Beautiful Mess: A very cool website created by two sisters with a huge expanse of yummy recipes to try out for family meals.

Six Sister's Stuff: This website is created by, you guessed it, six sisters who use the blog to keep in touch and share ideas. They have an amazing recipe index, complete with weekly menu plans to make your busy week easier.

Smitten Kitchen: An expansive website full of wit and tasty recipes from a NYC mom.

Big Girls Small Kitchen: Touted as a "guide to quarter-life cooking" this blog is accessible for all ages and even has recipes organized specifically for when you are low on time or money. 

We hope that you have a great time exploring the culinary world with your family! Be sure to stop into the library for more books to inspire your cooking adventures!