Your favourite cookbooks for cooking for kids
I love Chef Bobo's cookbook....(which I found out by reading this board, thank-you!) Are there anymore out there like it? I'd love to think that my 2 and 4 year old are going to wolf down hot curries etc., but they just will not so Chef Bobo is great for adapting good recipes to developing North American pallettes. Any other good cookbooks I can try too?
Have you tried and of the Mollie Katzen cookbooks for kids? (Honest Pretzels, Pretend Soup, Salad People) My four year old son loves the books because the recipes are illustrated step by step so that he can 'read' the recipe himself. I would suggest getting them out at the library first to see if the recipes appeal to your kiddos. I know that the clever names have talked my three into eating things they normally might resist (Zucchini Moons). Although the recipes are rather plain, that seems to be what 'developing pallettes' want. The books encourage kids to enjoy fresh produce and stress fresh herbs rather than salt for flavor...
My kids are now grown, but I used a small cookbook called Healthy Snacks for Kids, sold under the nitty gritty cookbooks series. It is by Penny Warner. While it is now over 20 years old you might be able to pick one up used for a few dollars. She had some great ideas for smuggling nutritious foods into meals and snacks. My kid grew up eating things like zuccini (spelling?) and/or carrots in their brownies and never knew it.
The other trick for kids is set some easy to follow rules. It takes people 10 to 15 tastes of a new "thing" to acquire a taste for it. I had two rules...You needed to take one bite of everything I served, and you were never allowed to say "yuck". Never say "clean your plate" that makes them fight harder and can lead to eating disorders later in life. The "yuck" thing I explained as a matter of not wanting to hurt the "cooks" feelings. Also it gives you an opportunity to explain that different people have different tastes.
My children are now 18 and 20 and they love all kinds of foods. I introduced things like Indian and Thai when they were about 6 or 7. My son outpaced me in the hot chili pepper category by the time he was 10. He brought me a hot pepper plant as a going away present when he was leaving for college this fall.
We do the same thing, with a couple modifications. Everyone is allowed to pick one food they don't have to try (but they can't change all the time)-I figure since I hate eggs and would hate to have to teat them every time they were served, it's only fair that everyone gets to take a pass about one thing. Otherwise, one taste of everything every time. We also say "I don't care for that" instead of "yuck" or making faces.
I like the DK kids cookbook, and the recipes have been good.
I have tried Emeril's and a couple of others from the library and found them so plain that my kids weren't excited and neither was I! So, we have PBS cooking shows on sometimes and regular cookbooks with lots of pictures, and my kids ask to try those things. They don't always like it, but they want to help and try it.
When my boys (now 6 and almost 4) were younger my older one was really into characters - even ones he'd never seen in a movie. So we would just label things as "Spiderman carrots" and he'd eat them. It was great while it lasted!
Our rule now is similar to those above except that we give my kids extremely small portions (just a few bites) to begin with. They don't have to eat it, but they do need to finish the small portion before they can eat anything else (be it dessert or what not). We tried the one bite, and then my kids would take one bite, obviously enjoy it, and ask for dessert (even if we weren't having dessert). So now they eat their very few bites, and often by then they get into the meal enough to ask for more. They never have to finish "seconds" - they stop when they are almost full. And no faces. Just politely choose not to eat more than one bite.
I am not sure it is totally great, because now my kids want dessert everyday. But dessert is often a small bite of chocolate and they don't eat junk food at all (and my son lets me know about what "all the other kids get to bring to school for lunch").
I was a picky eater as a kid - I survived off of a block of cheese most meals. I had to conscientiously teach myself to like normal things like onions, peppers, spices, salad, olives, eggs, all sorts of veggies, yogurt, etc. etc. as an adult, and I am so glad I never allowed myself to say "I just don't like anything"
I love this cookbook too! I loved it when I was a kid and looked at it at my grandma's house and she recently gave her copy to me as a present! It's really nice because it's all veges/fruits, and a lot of semi-nutritious fare (whole grains, low sugar content). And of course, the sweet Beatrix Potter theme is adorable.
I had a thread about this recently; you can check it out as there are book ideas here.
Miracle Foods for Kids has some nice ideas about incorporating particular healthy foods (beef, yogurt, cantaloupe, kiwi, etc) into a kid's diet. The recipes are imaginative.
I also just read Kids Cook 1-2-3 which, while it is admittedly gimmicky (only three ingredients!), is actually pretty sophisticated and surprised me.
sorry for two postings...and both of them long. Another great cookbook that I used when my kids were growing up is 1,000 Vegetarian Recipes by Carol Gelles. My version is from 1996. While we are not strict vegetarians, I love the way the author manages to add a bit more nutrition into basic foods such as pancakes.
Also with the fact that it takes kids 10 to 15 tries before they acquire a taste for something I introduced them to curry flavors (Indian, Thai, etc.) by first introducing artichokes with butter then moving them ups to curry mayo.. Dipping was always a hit in my house because it is fun. But in addition to butter I would make Carol Gelles' Curry Mayo for artichokes. Eventually they became curious and wanted to try the dip that Mommy was eating. Thereby, acquiring a taste for curry flavors.
Same with guacamole and the introduction to Mexican flavors. Start with a mild avocado, lime, scallions and maybe some sour cream. (served with veggies, crackers and tortilla chips). Then gradually add cumin, tomatoes, hot peppers, garlic, chili powder, to increase the flavors that they have been introduced to.
If your 2 year old is too young to eat raw veggies like carrot sticks, she can get the same experience as the "big people" by dipping hard veggies such as carrots and celery that have been slightly blanched.