Top positive review
18 people found this helpful
Parents take note: kids LOVE these recipes!
on October 10, 2009
Our family started following the author's "Cooking Cute" videos on YouTube about a year ago to get ideas for fun cooking activities that we could do with the kids. It's since become a big hit in our home (where we've always had an interest in Japanese culture and cooking, since we lived in Japan for a year because of a work assignment). The kids have blossomed into creative chefs from following the recipes, and often come up with wacky ideas of their own. I knew we'd found something the kids liked when they woke us up one morning with an elaborate breakfast they'd prepared by following the YouTube recipes (which I highly recommend for anyone who wants to get a sense of what this book is like; there are lots of easy, DIY recipes in quick and quirky videos that kids just love: [...]
This book, however, is on a whole other level from the YouTube videos. It has the same quirky, even slightly weird-in-a-funny-way attitude of the videos-- which the kids just seem to love-- but the author has clearly taken a lot of time and care over the last year (or longer?) to make sure that every recipe not only tastes great and looks great, but is also practical and do-able in any kitchen and at pretty much any level of cooking ability. I find that so many cookbooks are full of recipes-- even the ones that are supposed to be for 'quick and easy' kids' meals-- that seem easy at first but turn out to be so complicated half-way through that you wonder whether the author ever actually tried out the recipe him- or herself before publishing the book! Not so with this book. Everything in here is easy to do and you and/or your kids will have fun doing it.
It was my youngest daughter who found out that the blogger La Carmina was coming out with this book, and she insisted that we pre-order a copy. That was a month ago, and our copy arrived just earlier this week. The kids have been in the kitchen ever since trying to out-do each other. Our kitchen has been like a kids' version of Iron Chef all weekend!
What's terrific about this book is that it's a great way for parents to spend time with their kids on creative and fun projects that give them a great sense of accomplishment when they're finished (which they can then enjoy themselves, or share with the rest of the family). It teaches responsibility as well as organizational and time management skills, by requiring kids to get all the ingredients lined up, measuring them out, and making sure that things are done in a certain order and for certain amounts of time. At the same time, it encourages a playful and creative approach to food, and gives kids a sense of responsibility for and ownership of what they choose to eat.
Now, you could say that about lots of cookbooks, but the thing about most cookbooks is that, even when easy to follow, they're frankly boring. By contrast, every recipe in "Cute Yummy Time" is fun and presented with colourful, eye-catching and creative ideas to turn basic and affordable ingredients into great-tasting and NUTRITIOUS snacks that kids love. There are definitely a few sugary goodies in here for special occasions, but otherwise, the book actually accomplishes the impressive feat of taking things that kids usually hate (veggies and fruits, anyone?), and, through a little creative presentation, turning them into funny-looking cartoon characters that kids just can't resist.
The design and layout of this book looks great and is easy to follow, especially for budding young chefs. The kids get to be playful and creative but by trying out the recipes in this book, they'll also be laying the foundation for a lifelong, universally appreciated and (nowadays, sadly) all-too-rare skill-set of actually having some idea of what to do in a kitchen. In Japan, it's mainly parents who take the time to prepare meals like these in 'bento boxes' for their kids to enjoy at school. We started doing that for our kids, but next thing we knew, our kids enjoyed them so much that they insisted on taking over; nowadays, with a little supervision, our kids are making lunch for themselves to take to school every day! (That's pretty win-win, if you ask me!)
Even if your kids aren't interested in cooking themselves (and if they are, they will love this book), then you will still make quite a name for yourself in the elementary-school cafeteria when your kid pulls out of his or her lunchbox any of the meals in this book. We've already had other parents come up to us asking "how we do it," and that was just last month when the kids were back in school and bringing the lunches based on the YouTube videos. Now that we have this book at our house, we may have to organize a PTA meeting and just tell everyone what our 'secret' is!
If you're a parent who wants tips on how to 'spice up' your kids snacks and meals, especially for how to present healthy food in a fun and creative way that makes kids interested in eating healthy, this book is a fantastic idea. If you've got any kids who are budding chefs and like to play around in the kitchen, they will absolutely love it. I will also say that this would make a fantastic Christmas present for any parents with young kids, or for the kids themselves.