Volume XVI, Number 5
Veggie-Friendly Cookbooks for Kids
by Rachel Himmelheber
There are dozens of children's cookbooks on the market today-however, it
is difficult to distinguish which will meet your needs. It is especially
difficult for vegetarian parents who want the books they buy to reflect
their values and eating habits. Add in a concern for healthy recipes and
a desire for the cookbook to have an educational slant, and the task of
choosing a children's cookbook can be daunting.
When I began reviewing children's cookbooks for this article, I encountered
all these problems and more. I wanted the cookbooks to have an adequate
number of vegetarian and vegan recipes, and I wanted them to be generally
healthful and educational. I also wanted them to appeal to children. I
tried to pick books with colorful illustrations and those that would be
appropriate for a variety of age levels. The amount of safety instructions
and parental guidelines that these books offer varies. I have tried to
include that information in my review so that you can choose accordingly.
following books include all these elements. They all contain vegetarian
and vegan recipes and are, for the most part, healthful cookbooks. Be flexible
when making the recipes found in these books. Many vegetarian dishes can
easily be converted to vegan ones (see sidebar). Explore the different
options with your child; creativity is an essential in cooking. Most of
Many Friends Cooking:
By Terry Touff Cooper and Marilyn Ratner
An International Cookbook for Boys and Girls
Illustrated by Tony Chen
Published by Philomel Books in cooperation with the U.S. Committee for
Age: The recipes in this book are rated by difficulty level-one, two, or
three spoons. These recipes are, for the most part, appropriate for older
elementary school children with some previous cooking experience. Younger
children will do fine with some of the simpler recipes, such as Banana
Smoothies or Fresh Fruit with Coconut Dip, provided they have adequate
adult help and supervision.
Adult Help: Many Friends Cooking has a safety section which advises children
to get an adult's help with certain tasks, such as lighting a gas stove.
Many recipes include using the stove or oven, and some involve the use
of sharp knives or deep fat frying. Read the recipes carefully with your
child before deciding which ones are right for you.
Vegetarian and Vegan Options: Twenty-five of the 38 recipes are vegetarian,
five are vegan, and one can easily be adapted to be vegetarian. Most of
the recipes are healthful options such as Gazpacho and Couscous, with some
delicious treats like Groundnut Crunch mixed in.
Many Friends Cooking is a beautifully illustrated book that teaches children
about the culture and foods of different countries and regions. It has
many healthful vegetarian selections from places as far away as Israel,
Tunisia, and Bolivia, as well as American foods like Indian Corn Pudding
and Luau Punch. Children interested in cooking will work their way through
the complex recipes, and they can learn how to use chopsticks, fold napkins
in fancy ways, and peel tomatoes.
Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes:
By Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson
A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up
Illustrated by Mollie Katzen
Published by Tricycle Press
Age: The recipes are appropriate for preschoolers and up.
Adult Help:The guidelines for adult help and supervision are clearly defined
in each recipe. However, Katzen makes it clear that your child is the boss;
you are the helper. Your child will gain loads of confidence using this
approach. Pretend Soup includes adult directions for each recipe, as well
as pictorial directions for your child.
Vegetarian and Vegan Options: All 19 recipes are vegetarian. Two are vegan,
but many of the vegetarian recipes can be easily adapted to be vegan dishes.
Your child will enjoy creating Oatmeal Surprise, Homemade Lemon-Lime Soda
Pop, and Zucchini Moons. These options don't sacrifice flavor.
Mollie Katzen has proven herself as a valuable member of the vegetarian
community with her popular Moosewood Cookbook, The Enchanted Broccoli Forest,
and Still Life with Menu. Pretend Soup more firmly establishes her as a
skilled and understanding writer.
A Native American Feast
By Lucille Recht Penner
Published by Macmillan Publishing Company
Age: This book doesn't baby the cook with lots of safety rules and cooking
basics. A Native American Feast is for the skilled young cook; your child
should be able to read and should have the judgment to know when to ask
for an adult's help.
Adult Help: This book offers very few guidelines. You may wish to read
and discuss the directions with your child before starting these recipes.
Vegetarian and Vegan Options: These recipes are fairly authentic and some do call
for venison or buffalo meat. However, of the 27 recipes offered, 19 of
them are vegetarian, and 12 are vegan. Few of the meat recipes are easily
adapted to be vegetarian ones. The names of these Native American dishes
should motivate your child-try making Cherokee Bean Balls, Popped Wild
Rice, and Iroquois Strawberry Drink.
A Native American Feast is an excellent cookbook for a child who is more
experienced in the kitchen. It contains a lot of interesting historical
information, and this cookbook also includes many traditional Native American
The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook
By Kate Macdonald
Illustrated by Barbara Di Lella
Published by Oxford University Press
Age: These recipes have some difficult elements, including lots of baking.
However, with some adult supervision, even an inexperienced cook who can
read the Anne of Green Gables series could manage these recipes.
Adult Help: The degree of adult help necessary will depend upon your child's
cooking experience. Review the recipes together before beginning.
Vegetarian and Vegan Options: Of the 25 recipes included in this book,
22 are vegetarian and five are vegan. You could easily substitute vegetable
broth for the chicken broth in Thick and Creamy Vegetable Soup to make
it a vegetarian recipe. Most of these recipes are desserts or treats to
be made and eaten occasionally. How about an indoor, rainy-day picnic with
Splendid Lettuce Salad, Maritime Gingersnaps, and Old-Fashioned Lemonade?
Vegetarian and vegan fans of the Anne of Green Gables series will enjoy
this cookbook. All the recipes are inspired by Anne and her cooking adventures.
American Heart Association Kids' Cookbook
Edited by Mary Winston, Ed.D., R.D.
With a Special Message from James H. Moller, M.D.
Illustrated by Joan Holub
Published by Random House
Age: This book has a difficulty rating system-one to three chef's hats,
three being more difficult. Older children should be able to handle most
recipes on their own.
Adult help: Kids' Cookbook is very specific in its safety instructions.
Younger children will need supervision, although not necessarily help,
with even the simplest recipes.
Vegetarian and Vegan Options: Of the 34 recipes in this book, 23 are vegetarian
and nine are vegan. Several will easily adapt to be vegetarian. All teach
children about cooking and good eating habits.
Kids' Cookbook provides an excellent nutritional guide for adults concerned
about their child's diet. It also includes advice about diet, exercise,
general health habits, and valuable cooking techniques.
The Vegetarian Journal published here is not the
complete issue, but these are excerpts from the published magazine.
Anyone wanting to see everything should
subscribe to the magazine.
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