This is an annotated bibliography of some of the cookbooks available for kids. There are books that are either geared toward kids or for parents who are cooking with kids. All have good photos and illustrations to help kids get the idea clearly. Some are for older kids (teens) and are clearly marked. Some, whose recipes are full of junk food but have a few saving graces, are also marked as such.
Please be careful to avoid cookbooks that over-emphasize sweet foods or that market products to kids. Once you establish unhealthy eating habits, you are guaranteed that your children will suffer the consequences–weight gain, bad complexion, and difficulty undoing a bad habit.
Start them out with healthy, whole foods and they will develop habits for that! Once in awhile treats are great and kids will know that they are “treats,” not the way we eat every day.
Cookbooks for Kids
Best of Family Fun Cooking and Parties. NY: Disney Enterprises, Inc. c 2003. ISBN: 0-7868-5901-6.
“600 Creative Recipes and Party Plans for You and Your Kids,” from the publishers of Family Fun Magazine. More than any book, my daughter learned to cook from this book and returns to cook recipes from it often in her teens. She found many recipes in it that are well explained, well illustrated, delicious, and easy to cook! Great photos and cute ideas to stimulate imaginations. It has recipes for both sweet and protein-rich, healthy recipes. A whole section on parties has tons of creative party ideas. See a much larger collection of FamilyFun Cookbooks here.
Gillies, Judi, and Jennifer Glossop’s [The Kids Can Press] Jumbo Cookbook. Kids Can Press, c 2000.
This is a true kids’ cookbook that emphasizes healthy, fresh ingredients, and super-simple prep. Grade 3-5-Kids, and adults who cook with them, will enjoy this collection of over 100 recipes. All have simple, step-by-step instructions, call for commonly available ingredients, and range in difficulty from boiled rice to sushi and shepherd’s pie. The author rates the level of skill required for each dish, so budding chefs can build their skills along with their repertoire. Old standards such as meatloaf and tuna-noodle casserole are here, and for more adventurous and ambitious cooks, vegetarian, Middle-Eastern, Japanese, Mexican, and Indian dishes are also included.
Carle, Megan and Jill with Judi Carle. Teens Cook: How to Cook What You Want to Eat. Berkeley, CA: Ten Speed Press, c 2004.
Geared toward teenagers, it has great photos that look delicious (and are), simple explanations, and easy-to-follow recipes. It’s a little more sophisticated so older kids relate. Challenges kids to make interesting food that they want to eat. Our book is covered with food stains, which means it gets used!
D’Amico, Joan and Karen Eich Drummond. The Science Chef: 100 Fun Food Experiments and Recipes for Kids.
Geared toward teenagers, it has great photos that look delicious (and are), simple explanations, and easy-to-follow recipes. It’s a little more sophisticated, so older kids relate. Challenges kids to make interesting food that they want to eat. Our book is covered with food stains, which means it gets used!
Cooking For Kids. Lincolnwood, IL: Publications International, Ltd., c 2002. ISBN: 0-7853-5427-1
Nicely presented book with attractive photos and simple recipes. Its downside is that it uses packaged mixes and advertises too much for corporations, like “2 ripe, medium DOLE® Bananas,” when any banana will do. Also uses VELVEETA cheese, when a healthier cheddar suffices. Still, the recipes are clear and well illustrated and kids will learn a lot about presentation being an important part of cooking.
Gerasole, Isabella and Olivia. The Spatulatta Cookbook. NY: Spatulatta, Inc. c 2007. Published by Scholastic. ISBN-13: 978-0-439-02250-7; ISNB-10: 0-439-02250-9
“Recipes for kids, by kids, from the James Beard award-winning Spatulatta web site.” Very nice book, well laid out with simple and attractive recipes. Pitched at kids from about 6-12. Includes sections on basic skills, tools, measurement equivalents and vegetarian meals. Lots of pictures of interesting and tasty food to cook. Both savory and sweet recipes like pesto pasta and meat loaf with mashed potatoes are sure to win kids’ hearts. Find it at Amazon.com
Karmel, Annabel. Mom and Me Cookbook [Hardcover]. DK Children, c2005
Ages 4-8. DK really makes wonderful children’s books and this one is worth checking out. Presents basic cooking techniques and tips, simple first recipes, and tasty, nutritious meal ideas. DK books are superbly illustrated to draw kids and adults in. You won’t be disappointed.
Cook, Deanna. Disney’s Family Cookbook: 250 Irresistible Recipes for You and Your Kids. Reed Business Information, Inc., Copyright 1996
A whole-family, breakfast-to-dinner resource filled with creative advice and healthy, quick recipes that include Oven-Baked Home Fries, Three Bears Porridge, Breakfast Pizza, and Peanut Butter and Jelly Surprise Muffins.
From School Library Journal: PreSchool-Grade 4—This visually appealing cookbook presents 300 recipes for adults to make with a child’s help, rather than recipes that kids can successfully complete independently. Loaded with tips on making the kitchen and the experience kid-friendly, many of the recipes have an “art project” slant—some as simple as assembling assorted raw vegetables on a plate to look like a cowboy boot in “Rancher’s Delight,” and others more complex, such as “Edible Eagles,” which turns marshmallows, coconut, Oreos, cashews, and black decorators’ gel into upright eagle heads. Bright color photos of the finished dish illustrate each recipe, with ingredients and preparation steps clearly presented at the adult’s level. Unfortunately, the recipes frequently call for high-fat ingredients …with no suggestions for making healthier versions of the dishes… —Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS
Rosenbaum, Stephanie. Williams-Sonoma Kids in the Kitchen: Fun Food [Hardcover] Free Press, c2006. ISBN-10: 0743278569