As the weather cools, my thoughts turn to my favorite place in the house… the kitchen. A rainy day means time to cook. We all have food traditions in our families — dishes we learned to make when we were young, treats saved for holidays, and recipes passed around but never written down. My family takes quiet pride in our pie crust. Flour, boiling water whipped with Crisco, a little milk, a little salt. Despite the advice of Food Network stars, a perfect pie crust is all about the water-whipped Crisco. Perched on a high stool at the kitchen counter next to my mom, I learned this secret at a young age.
What are the cooking tips you share with your children? If you’re looking for inspiration, we have it here on the library shelves. Here are a few child-friendly cookbooks worth a look.
Written by the pre-teen hosts of the James Beard Award winning webcast www.spatulatta.com, this cookbook is sure to please parents and kids alike. Simple recipes are divided by season and include such treats as Crunchy Chicken Yakitori, Sweet Potato Pie, and the mysteriously-named Berry Dip and Roll.
Considered a children’s cookbook classic, Pretend Soup puts kids in charge. Each of the 17 recipes is presented twice – once in words for the adult helper and once in full-colored illustrations for the young master chef. From Hide-and-Seek Muffins to Zucchini Moons, these healthy recipes (and the opportunity to be Kitchen Boss) will please the pickiest eater.
Filled with over 50 recipes, this colorful cookbook takes families on a culinary journey around the world. Each geographical region is introduced with a map and a photograph, and sidebars feature cultural highlights of different countries. From Bobotie to Croque Monsieur, Swedish Meatballs to Pavlova, your kids can bring the secrets of global cooking home.
And speaking of secrets… here’s my family’s pie crust recipe.
Grandma’s Pie Crust
3/4 cup shortening (we use Crisco)
1/4 cup boiling water
Whip shortening and water with fork until
water is absorbed and shortening is fluffy, then add:
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon salt (scant)
2 scant cups flour
Mix all with fork. Divide into two balls and roll each one flat into a top and bottom crust.
Don’t forget to gather any leftover crust, roll flat, cut into strips, sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar, bake at 375 degrees until golden, and eat while pie is baking!