I won’t consider the job of raising my now 10-year-old son to be done until I know he can find his way around a kitchen. But since I fully occupy the role of family cook, I worry that he will think of cooking as off-limits for boys. Enter British teenager Sam Stern, who is churning up a cooking storm in the wake of his apparent idol, Jamie Oliver.
In his third cookbook, Sam Stern’s Get Cooking (2009, Candlewick Press, $17.99), Stern gathers his friends – er, mates – and devotes a chapter to each of their favorite foods: tomatoes, cheese, pasta, vegetables, meat, potatoes, sweets and chocolate. Recipes like DIY Pasta for Ravioli, and Sleepover Chocolate Brioche are right up my son’s alley, and the pictures of Stern and his adorable friends as they bake, clown around at band practice, and play soccer, are squeaky-clean and cute. It’s like Drake, Josh, Hannah Montana and the whole Disney channel TV gang all moved to London and opened a cooking school. All of this is to say that it seems a bit contrived, but my son would probably want to watch it. As for me, I’m looking forward to baking the Whole Roast Crunchy Duck—with my son at my side.