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Simply in Season Children's Cookbook

Fight Childhood Obesity With Food From the Garden

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating

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Cover art of Simply in Season Children's Cookbook

Simply in Season Children's Cookbook

Herald Press
Simply in Season Children's Cookbook is a good book for families worried about childhood obesity and anxious to teach their children to enjoy eating foods that are good for them. According the publisher,
    "This cookbook is part of the World Community Cookbook Series commissioned by Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) to promote the understanding of how the food choices we make affect our lives and the lives of those who produce food."
Simply in Season Children's Cookbook is one of the most visually appealing cookbooks I have ever seen, with lots of vivid colors, large color photographs, and attractive design elements that give added appeal to the foods and recipes highlighted.

The Contents

The emphasis is on the seasons and good foods that can be grown and enjoyed from the garden. The cookbook is organized into four sections by season, beginning with spring. Each section begins with an introduction to the season, plus photographs and information on selected produce. Each section includes information on five different fruits, vegetables, and/or herbs - how each is used, how it grows, and how to tell if it is ready to eat, as well as general information on gardening in that season.

This is followed by five recipes incorporating the highlighted produce. For example, the spring section emphasizes mint, peas, new potatoes, baby spinach, and strawberries and includes recipes for orange minty, cooked peas, potato crunchers, green cheese squares with baby spinach, and strawberry dream cream. Each recipe covers two facing pages and includes step-by-step directions, a vivid full page photograph and a small photograph by Jenna Stoltzfus, showing the completed recipe and a step in the process. Each section ends with a simple prayer to God, giving thanks for the season, family, food, and friends. At the end of the book, there is a two-page section on growing an herb garden, a two-page section on documenting your garden, and an index.

Throughout the cookbook by Mark Beach and Julie Kauffman, there are interesting tidbits about fruits, vegetables, and herbs, such as:

  • "In 1995, the potato became the first vegetable grown in outer space."
  • "One pound of mint can flavor 135,000 sticks of gum."
  • "Peas are an ancient food. They have been found in Egyptian tombs."
  • "One apple tree can produce 400 apples a year."

My Recommendation

As the introduction of the cookbook accurately states,
    "Simply in Season Children's Cookbook is an imaginative, active way to invite kids of all ages but especially 6 to 12 year olds to get in touch with real food, to see where it comes from, to take responsibility for preparing it, and to have fun in the process."
The emphasis on growing your own food and/or knowing how to identify when it is ripe will help to engage your children's interest. The recipes themselves are easy to follow and have been taste-tested by both children and parents. This is an excellent cookbook, one the whole family will enjoy using. (Herald Press, 2006. ISBN: 9780836193367)

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