Cooking competition shows have been a big thing around my house for a little while now. My husband likes them, and my kids will watch them on their own, too. At 13 and 11.5, they’ve shown interest in the kitchen here and there, but they’re both much more secure in following a recipe than experimenting on their own. (As am I!) When I heard about the book 20 Recipes Kids Should Know, I thought it would be a perfect “Welcome to Summer Break” kind of gift!
This collection has recipes and text by 12-year-old Esme Washburn with photographs by her 17-year-old sister Calista Washburn, which is just one of the appealing aspects– a cookbook written by a middle schooler and a recent high school graduate! The other aspect that truly appeals to my kids is the types of foods highlighted here. My son is a pretty picky eater, but many of the recipes included are basic kid-friendly foods, regardless of level of pickiness. I’m talking pancakes (made two ways, even!), banana bread, mac and cheese, grilled cheese sandwich, crispiest breaded chicken, perfect pizza, and chewy chocolate chip cookies, and several more.
My 11.5 year old son gave it a go with the chewy chocolate chip cookies, and though he needed to work on the timing for our oven– that first batch was bit more crunchy than chewy!– he was super proud of the fact that he was able to follow the recipe independently and make a special treat for his dad’s birthday. As a parent who was busy doing other things while he was working on this project, I appreciated the straightforward instructions on the recipes, as well as the introduction that includes basic definitions of cooking terms, measurement charts, and even directions for before and after starting to cook, which includes what I think is the most important step– cleaning up the kitchen!
Most of my friends’ children are now on summer break, or just about to be, so I can’t recommend this book highly enough as a great resource to have around for those long summer days when you’re kids are bored or when you want them to be off a screen finally. Best part? You get to reap the rewards of their efforts, right?!