“Cooking with kids is not just about ingredients, recipes, and cooking. It’s about harnessing imagination, empowerment, and creativity.” — Guy Fieri
I believe that opening a book and discovering its pages with a child can be a wonderful learning experience — especially if it leaves the kitchen messy! So, let’s get cooking! Yes, cookbooks are a fun and useful strategy when trying to foster a love for literacy at home for all ages. How can a cookbook encourage reading? Aside from the (hopefully) delicious, completed treat or dish at the end of the culinary adventure, there are instructions to carefully read and follow, ingredients to gather, new vocabulary words introduced, and sensory and math skills explored with textures and measurements. Think of it like this: when a recipe is selected all the necessary steps to organize that recipe are read (often more than once for comprehension), ingredients along with the kitchen tools are gathered, and the instructions and measurements are carefully followed until the finished product is delivered. Cooking does more than feed hungry bellies, it offers quality family time because kitchens and tables are designed for families to gather, reading recipes will strengthen reading skills and it provides a feeling of accomplishment!
The pages of a cookbook offer endless possibilities for all ages. Here are a few additional literacy tips to boost reading and writing skills.
For teenagers: encourage the teen to create their own recipe journal with his or her favorite recipes and original creations to try.
For young children: ask the child to copy his or her favorite recipes into a notebook for personal use or to gift to a friend or family member.
For preschoolers: get out those crayons and get illustrating because every great recipe deserves a personalized drawing by a little artist!
Aprons, and measuring cups, and bowls! Oh, my! Until next time, invite a child into the kitchen, pull up your sleeves and get those hands dirty with some of the cookbooks I’ve suggested here or use one of your own personal favorites. Keep those pages turning and the spoon stirring!
Tabatha Jean D'Agata
"Guy Fieri Family Food: 125 Real-Deal Recipes — Kitchen Tested, Home Approve"
Written by Guy Fieri and Marah Stets
Kitchen were made for families and Guy Fieri will inspire flavorful meals with this family-friendly cookbook.
"THE KIDS’ MULTICULTURAL COOKBOOK"
Written by Deanna F. Cook
Ages 5 to 12
Take a tour of 41 countries and enjoy a cultural collection of recipes, activities and games. Young chefs will enjoy educational facts while creating easy to follow dishes!
"COOKING ROCKS! Rachael Ray 30-Minute Meals for Kids"
Rachael Ray’s “Cooking Rocks!” proves to be a scrumptious, well-organized cookbook with delightful illustrations. Sectioned by age level, this one isn’t just for the kids — adults will welcome the simplicity of the 30-minute meals too!
"EMERIL'S THERE'S A CHEF IN MY SOUP! RECIPES FOR THE KID IN EVERYONE"
Written by Emeril Lagasse, Illustrated by Charles Yuen
Ages 4 to 10
Get ready to kick it up a notch! This is a perfect cookbook for the entire family with 75 recipes which include tasty entrees like Mile-High Blueberry Muffins, Shake-It-Up-a-Notch Chicken, Oh-Yeah-Baby Glazed Carrots and Creamy Dreamy Orange Freeze. Emeril goes beyond the “traditional” cookbook content by incorporating his personal memories, advice, experience and cooking knowledge.
Written by Matthew Locricchio, photography by James Peterson
With more than 50 recipes, this is the “red carpet” of cookbooks. Teens, as well as adults, will enjoy preparing mouth-watering dishes from such chapters as Brilliant Breakfasts, Snacks and Co-Stars, Celebrity Soups, Star-Studded Salads and Dressings and even Side Shows. "TEEN CUISINE" is ideal for anyone reaching for kitchen stardom!