An obscenely long time ago I received an email from the good folks at DK Publishing, asking me if I wanted to review a new cookbook coming out in the spring. At first I thought it was a joke, but after exchanging emails with them a copy actually arrived in the mail. So here I am giving my first cookbook review.
Let me begin by expressing my admiration to DK Publishing. It takes a lot of guts to ask a blog named Mark Ruins Dinner for a review of your cookbook. You just know it’s going to be fraught with mishaps. And so it was.
The Toddler Cookbook is written by Annabel Karmel. Click here to visit DK’s website and see a video of Annabel demonstrating one of the recipes in her cookbook. That’s pretty cool.
The Toddler Cookbook is meant to be a child’s first introduction to cooking. The recommended age is 7 and up. The first thing after the table of contents is a little introduction to some of the things you do when you cook. Things like crushing garlic (kids love to crush anything), kneading dough, separating eggs (she wants me to let my kids do that?), and, what’s this…beating egg whites! Yes, there it is on page 5, complete with photo examples of soft peaks and stiff peaks. I like her already. Then there’s a page showing some of the neat tools you get to use when you cook. Jonathan’s favorite by far is the potato masher.
Then the recipes begin. I gotta hand it to this author, she doesn’t lower the nutrition level just to ensure the kids will eat her food. I never thought I’d see chicken salad in lettuce boats in a cookbook for kids, but there they are. Applause is due.
The first thing we made was the banana muffins. I was very excited to make these, they looked so good. So I had the boys help me. Jonathan enjoyed lining the muffin tin and cracking the eggs.
Isaac had fun mashing the banana. The batter was very easy to prepare, but it didn’t make quite as many muffins as the recipe said. The book said it would make 18 muffins, I got 8.
Looking again at the cookbook I realized it said Mini banana muffins. Wonderful. So I got half as many and they took twice as long to bake, but they came out nice.
And the boys enjoyed them.
Next I decided to make the Chicken Dippers. Who doesn’t like crispy chicken strips? And they were cheesy! First there was a buttermilk marinade for the chicken and that went off without a hitch. Then I went to make the breading. I read off the ingredients:
5oz bag of cheese flavored potato chips
5 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
6 Tbsp all-purpose flour
Great. I dump it all into a bowl and mix it together.
I never claimed to have any brains at all. When it started to form these huge clumps I thought I might have done something wrong. I then looked at the instructions and they said, quite clearly and with illustrations “Flour, then egg, then crumbs.” Oho.
See how the child in the picture is doing this better than me? Starting over, I made the breading properly. And when they were done I served them with ketchup on the side.
The boys liked them a lot. Of course they did.
So it’s a good little cookbook with some pretty healthy food in it, and it seems that even my kids would like most of what’s in there. I’m actually looking forward to making the Easy Cheesy bread rolls and the Little Pita Pizza, and that roasted cherry tomato sauce looks really good. I do wish it was a bit longer, but I suppose that’s the case with most cookbooks. My apologies to Ms. Karmel for the delay in writing this review. And as for the mistakes along the way, what’s this blog called, anyway?