Kids Cookin': Paula Deen's My First Cookbook by Paula Deen and Martha Nesbitt
Everyone from Dora the Explorer to Harry Potter have had a crack at cookery for kids, including Paula Dean, the doyenne, yea, the dimpled diva of dining.
Dean's little volume, Paula Dean's My First Cookbook (Simon & Schuster) has been among the best sellers in this genre of publishing for some time. Her cookbook touches most of the bases, with the necessary introductory chapters on cooking safety, a glossary of terms, such as mince, pare, and saute,' which also features a picture glossary of equipment such as whisk and oven mitt, directions for common practices such as measuring, dicing, and kneading, and sections on manners and proper table setting--a neglected skill!
Dean then launches into her recipe section, beginning with separate chapters for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She includes chapters on snacks ("I'm Starving!"), birthdays ("Happy Birthday to Me!") cooking for holidays, cooking for parents, special drinks, and non-edible crafts with foods. Included are drawings of ingredients within each recipe, and plenty of colorful photos illustrating each dish in progress. Dean also thoughtfully includes a table of contents and a fairly detailed index, all within a handy-sized volume, spiral-bound to lie flat or stay open when propped up during the preparation period. Dean's recipes include plenty of fresh ingredients, but she does not shy away from including pre-prepared ingredients in some recipes, a plus or minus depending on personal choice. While the reading level is fairly low, adult supervision is, of course, counseled for younger children where recipes require heat, electrical appliances, or sharp implements. Dean's only downside here is an absence of nutritional information for recipes or advice.
All in all this is an pleasant, easily utilized cookbook for youngsters, featuring child-friendly foods with a lot of kid appeal. Porcupine Meat Balls anyone?