Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Apr 20, 2009 05:46 PM

Cookbooks that appeal to kids?

My younger son enjoys food and frequently hauls out his Betty Crocker Kids Cookbook to select items to prepare. He is 7. For selfish reasons, I'd like to encourage more interesting fare but he seems to need appealing pictures to pull him in to recipes. Any thoughts on books or other resources that might broaden his horizons? He is pretty adventurous with restaurant food; loves pho, most asian, mexican, central american. Me printing out recipes that I find interesting, sans photos, doesn't work.

After spending a weekend with my older son's boy scout troop having positively disgusting food prepared by the scouts, I really want to work on kid cooking skills.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It's an old book (1987) and the photos aren't quite the food-porn type photos we're used to seeing in many more modern books and on food blogs today, but "The Good Housekeeping All-American Cookbook" has a photo index, with color photos of every dish in the book, and 1500 step-by-step line drawings of each of the steps needed to make the recipe. It even includes suggested menus and gives plan-ahead information on what to do on day 1, day 2, etc. Obviously, this isn't a cookbook written specifically for children. It's a soup-to-nuts cookbook, and very much what you'd expect from Good Housekeeping, with all the recipes thoroughly tested. And although I think it's now out of print, there are lots of copies available at, some of them used, at all price ranges. (The original book, just fyi, sold for $24.95 when it was first published.)

    1. I always LOVED historical-type cookbooks as a kid. My favorite one was the Little House on the Prairie cookbook which is REALLY interesting, although with boys...

      You know what might be a good method is subscribing to a magazine like Cook's Country (by the same folks that do Cook's Illustrated) -- it has a beautiful glossy color recipe card for each recipe. They're good recipes, diverse and interesting but not fussy or over-complicated. Maybe he could pick out a few recipes from each issue to cook with you?

      I think it's great that you're encouraging your sons to cook. My brother had never fried an egg when he got married. :)

      1. Although I have neither book, I have read very good reviews for Mollie Katzen's "Pretend Soup" and "Salad People" books, geared toward youngsters.

        Working without a book, you could print out a picture of a parfait and then the boys could make one with yoghurt-homemade granola-fruit. They've seen meatballs, so roll spicy chicken or turkey meatballs to stuff in pitas with cucumber sauce or put little ones in Italian wedding soup. Make pasta and ravioli (use gyoza rounds or won ton skins to make it easy.) Print out pictures so they know what they're aiming at, but you don't really need a cookbook.

        Maybe start a sprout jar. No-knead bread would require supervision, but they would learn about yeast, and then you could move on to homemade pizza dough.

        1. Alice Water of Chez Panisse fame did one 20 or so years ago with her daughter called Fanny at Chez Panisse. It's a fun and well illustrated book for kids and the recipes are spot on.

          1. The original comment has been removed