Book Review: The Toddler Cookbook

28 05 2008

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
1 egg

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?




6 responses

29 05 2008
Black Hockey Jesus

I always get 8 when it says 18. I just can’t do it. Have you ever tried cooking 2 things at once and having them be done at the same time. I’d rather bust out physics equations.

29 05 2008

Kudos for your official recipe-testing and book-reviewing. And proving you were just the right person to test a “Toddler” book 🙂 All will learn now from your mistake – READ TO THE END OF A RECIPE 😀
I used to have these LadyBird cookbooks as a child; not sure how many recipes I made, but I think the pictures are burned into my memory. And the instructions – “ask an adult to help you with the stove and oven”

31 05 2008
Miss Behaving

Well done on the review, I think I will actually buy the book, does it come with Isaac in the apron?
Also due to work Saturday dinner is always a nightmare but I will let the kids make those chicken things,so thanks for that too!

2 06 2008
Miss Behaving

Those chicken things were hugely popular, and the kids did all except cutting the meat and the frying, in fact we are going to have it again tonight, maybe every night until you give us something else;)

1 07 2008

Hey! I love this blog entry! I am such a horrible cook! Last night I made pork chops on the grill. First my husband said, “Wow…I think this is the first night in 2 weeks that you cooked dinner!” (I don’t know what he’s eaten the last two weeks, but the kid ate! LOL) and then I went and burned the chops. Sooo typical of me. I’ve never once made a recipe and had it turn out right. My mother says, “If you cook more often you’ll get better at it. ” but I say, “Why would I do something more often that I detest? Do you like LAUNDRY better if you do it more often????” I think I’ll buy the book. At least then I can say I tried to teach one of my kids to cook!

16 12 2010

I just stumbled on this review. It really made me laugh and as the first comment said ” I too would rather bust out physics equations.” Thanks for making me smile. Maybe I will keep my eye for this book too.

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