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Cooking the books

(article, Ashley Griffin Gartland)

Kid-focused cookbooks have existed for ages. [%bookLink code=9780307099174 "Betty Crocker’s Cook Book for Boys and Girls" newpage=true] was first published in 1957; an earlier tome, Elizabeth Stansbury Kirkland’s Six Little Cooks, grew popular in 1877.

For decades most of these kiddie titles were filled with packaged ingredients and special-occasion or dessert-driven recipes — and indeed many still are. However, the publishing industry is finally seeing a shift toward children’s cookbooks focused on real food. Companies such as Playful Life are promoting real food through cookbooks and products that help teach kids about cooking — and nutrition, hygiene, and more.

In a recent New York Times [hhttp://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/14/dining/14kids.html?ex=1368504000&en=b1b1d1e6ddbd8994&ei=5124&partner=permalink&exprod=permalink piece newpage=true], best-selling cookbook author  Mollie Katzen — author of the recent [%bookLink code=9781582461410 "Salad People," newpage=true] among other cookbooks for children — explains the necessity for this shift:

“Adults have this sentimental idea that cooking with children is one big slapstick event with spaghetti sauce on the ceiling. I try to respect that kids can have an absolutely honest relationship with food. It doesn’t need to be from Mars or shaped like a bunny.”

Or be a three-ingredient recipe made from pre-prepared ingredients, for that matter. Fortunately, we are seeing a movement in the right direction. 

Have any favorite, real-food-oriented kids cookbooks at your house? Please share in the comments section.