Bon Appetit! de Geest’s Little Chef Cooks, I Can Cook, Too! (Level 1) provides lessons and recipes for young and aspiring culinary stars.
Though cooking shows and celebrity chefs abound, it can be difficult to find a way to incorporate the whole family into the foodie craze. de Geest’s entry level cookbook is a perfect solution, and a great starting point for little chefs who are just learning their way around the kitchen. In the first book of her three-part series, de Geest focuses on basic kitchen skills, quick meals, and a small number of ingredients. She provides a helpful introduction for adults, stressing the importance of creating a safe and relaxing atmosphere in the kitchen. The expected safety warnings are duly noted, though adult kitchen duties are kept to a minimum and are marked accordingly. Each recipe in the cookbook features no more than three kitchen skills, such as measuring, pouring, slicing, and assembling. Some recipes focus on the most basic of skills, instructing children how to perform simple tasks like making ice cubes. Other recipes such as Nutty Bananas are slightly more complicated and may prove challenging to very young chefs. An index at the back of the book sorts recipes by skill set, a useful feature for parents attempting to locate a recipe to fit their child’s age or ability. While the recipe options are limited, de Geest gets creative and offers up a range of possibilities, touching on desserts such as Chocolate-Dipped Apricots and appetizers like Avocado Dip. However, she may have been better served to organize the recipes according to meal or ingredient. As it stands, a recipe for birdseed is sandwiched between Pinecone Bird Feeder and Raspberry Ripple. In addition, there are several words or ingredients that demand a definition. It is unlikely that most two year olds, or even many adults for that matter, know what a sultana is.
A step-by-step cooking guide that is truly geared towards young children, de Geest’s book provides a wonderful way for the family to spend time together in the kitchen.