In the noble pursuit of our children's appetites, we adults have been known to go down questionable roads. Food that is considered appropriate for kids is often loaded with sugar, salt, trans fats, strange colors, bizarre shapes and even glitter. Now, a new cookbook appeals to the tastes and habits of children, without insulting them.
Food Adventures, by award-winning food writer Elisabeth Luard and her daughter-in-law, Real Simple magazine food director Frances Boswell, takes children on a culinary voyage around the world, and lets them bring their sense of play with them. Recipes like "Princess and the Pea Pancakes" (apple and cinnamon drop scones, with a pea tucked between the layers) and "Pirate's Breakfast" (Indonesian fishcakes) may inspire children who prefer playing to eating. The "Take Out Trick" uses Chinese takeout containers, and the "Let's Pretend to …" chapter gives tantalizing tips (and recipes) for eating as they do in China, France, Morocco and other exotic locales.
But practicality abounds in this beautiful cookbook. Suggestions include letting children make beautiful patterns with their food, sprinkle cheese on their own meals, and generally take part in the cooking and eating experience. Best of all, the underlying message - that the sooner you expose children to a variety of flavors and foods, the sooner they will embrace them - leads to a selection of international recipes both rustic and sophisticated enough for playful eaters of every age.
Food Adventures: Introducing Your Child to Flavors from Around the World, by Frances Boswell and Elisabeth Luard, Kyle Books, 2007, $17.95.
- Larissa Phillips