All you need to know about Cooking for Your Kids
Competent cooks and first-time family chefs will appreciate these home-cooking recipes used by famous foodies to feed those they love
For many parents, meal times can be the best of times - and sometimes the worst of times. In our new book, Cooking for Your Kids: At Home with the World's Greatest Chefs, the author, father and home cook Joshua David Stein recalls the moments of love and happiness that arose while making pancakes for his sons, or julienning vegetables or baking bread with them. These can’t be forced, but “by cooking with your child and for your child, you create auspicious conditions for them to arise,” he writes.
A paragraph or two later, Stein also remembers the times when food + children doesn’t = a loving and harmonious outcome. “For many parents, myself included, the dinner table can be a battlefield,” he writes. “Each meal is a skirmish, a jostling of control as we parents seek to nourish our young and our young seek to nourish their sense of self by refusing nourishment.”
In both scenarios, parents would be well advised to have a copy of Cooking for Your Kids to hand. In this beautifully illustrated, easy-to-follow book, famous chefs from around the world share the recipes they cook for their kids at home.
The 100 entries in this new book cover every meal time and eventuality, from breakfast, lunch and dinner, through to impromptu snacks and treats. The recipes are accompanied with first person stories, which offer unseen insights into the domestic lives of chefs such as Alex Atala, Ben Shewry, Sean Brock and Jp McMahon.
There’s Brock’s Japanese omelet, made with cheddar and baby formula (!), that his one-year-old, Leo, likes to eat with his hands. Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese Food in New York shares his recipe for sweet potatoes with milk, peanuts, and maraschino cherries, a sticky sugar hit for his six-year-old which “doesn’t leave me feeling guilty as a parent,” the chef confesses.
The Irish Cookbook chef Jp McMahon says his daughters (“simple eaters who love bold flavors”) love his pasta with butter and parmesan. And D.O.M Rediscovering Brazilian Ingredients chef Alex Atala, best known for cooking rain forest ingredients, breaks out a simple pasta with tomato and anchovy sauce recipe, which he first picked up while working at an osteria in Milan.
The book is filled with personal and professional insights from these chefs, which both shed light on the family lives of these familiar, culinary figures, and also perhaps illucidate our own attitudes towards cooking for younger diners. Though many of the dishes included satisfy unformed paletes, plenty of the contributors advise parents to push young people’s taste buds a little.
“I encourage my kids to be adventurous eaters in two ways,” counsels McMahon. “First, by trying to get them to try small bits of whatever food I’m eating (from sushi to seaweed). Second (perhaps more controversially), by giving them a euro when they eat something new.
“This might seem preposterous, and I once handed over nearly €30 (when we were on holiday in Spain), but my daughter did try thirty new foods and discovered she loved mussels. Thankfully, I don’t need to do it too often now!”
€30 (about $35 or £25) is a fair-sized pocket-money boost, but a modest price to pay for an adventurous palette. Cooking for Your Kids costs only a fraction more at £29.95/$39.95/€35.00 and includes a recipe for every eventuality, parental skill level and taste preference.
Daunted by Rodolfo Guzmán’s roasted kelp with pajarito cream? Then maybe start with Claudette Zepeda-Wilkins’ French toast, a tasty, smart take on this comforting classic.
Parents will love the easy way in which the chefs share their family cooking tribulations, and kids will appreciate the many fun and tasty make-together recipes, as well as Stein’s winsome illustrations, which pepper this book’s pages. To find out more and order your copy of Cooking for Your Kids go here, and look forward to many more happy meal times.