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Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father's Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater Paperback – Bargain Price, April 9, 2010


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (April 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547336896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547336893
  • ASIN: B004KAB40Q
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #929,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Seattle dad and food critic Amster-Burton wants his daughter to grow up fearlessly savoring a wide range of appealing foods, something beyond untutored childhood’s bland fodder and ubiquitous processed foods persistently marketed to television-watching adolescents. He believes that developing a child’s taste for uncommon produce, meats, fish, herbs, and spices lies in early exposure to their flavors and being sure that baby sees Mom and Dad relishing a spectrum of victuals. One by one, Amster-Burton debunks widely held opinions about feeding toddlers, such as withholding salt, sushi, or spices. And he’s not averse to cooking with wine or allowing his daughter a tiny sip of beer. Recipes include a number of Mexican favorites, even highly seasoned Thai and Chinese dishes, all designed to be simply and quickly prepared. Any parent frustrated by an offspring’s dismissive “Yuck!” will find some usefully novel approaches here to patient cultivation of adventuresome palates. --Mark Knoblauch --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Since becoming the proud father of a little girl, I've found myself quickly morphing into Bill Cosby--minus the sweaters. One of my greatest fears is imagining my daughter insisting on nothing but crustless grilled cheese sandwiches and "chicken" McNuggets. Hungry Monkey goes a long way to allaying that concern. I finished the last page and immediately set about making her Thai Shrimp Curry. A very timely and excellent book."
Anthony Bourdain, author of Kitchen Confidential

"Matthew Amster-Burton is equal parts Mario Batali, Ray Romano, Dr. Spock of toddler cuisine, and Mr. Spock of toddler logic. He's a national and intergalactic culinary and literary treasure."
Steven Shaw, author of Turning the Tables and co-founder of eGullet

"This charming, funny book is full of great ideas for family meals. In a world of culinary pandering to kids, where vegetables in disguise pass for cuisine, Amster-Burton gets the recipe right." --Neal Pollack, author of Alternadad

"With its incisive wit and hilarious stories about Iris, Hungry Monkey made me want to have a child-- just so I could start feeding her." --Shauna James Ahern, author of Gluten-Free Girl

"Matthew Amster-Burton cast some sort of enchantment over me as I read about his all-too-real-life culinary adventures with his daughter. The proof? I actually found myself thinking: if Matthew were my dad, I don't think I'd mind being a little girl... or even a sock monkey... if I got my share of every meal." -- John Thorne, author of Outlaw Cook and Mouth Wide Open

"Matthew Amster-Burton has written a wonderful book. It reads so well you won't be able to put it down...except when overcome by a need to rush to your kitchen and execute one or another of his winning recipes." -- Paula Wolfert, author of The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

“Matthew Amster-Burton is smart, funny, a terrific writer, a great cook and on track to be voted father-of-the-year every year for the next decade, at least. How lucky for Iris, a.k.a. Hungry Monkey, that she landed in the Amster-Burton family and how really lucky for us that we can tag along on their adventures – and learn how to make pretzels and pad Thai, too.” --Dorie Greenspan, author of Baking: From My Home to Yours


More About the Author

Matthew Amster-Burton is a food writer with credits in Best Food Writing, The Seattle Times, Gourmet, Seattle Magazine, and The Wall Street Journal--as well as his food blog, Roots and Grubs. He also co-hosts the hit podcast Spilled Milk. Matthew lives in Seattle with his wife Laurie, a school librarian, and his daughter Iris.

Customer Reviews

There are great recipes that I am looking forward to trying out.
Mrs Toop
Not only is it filled with good advice and cute anecdotes, the recipes are great as well.
KaytiAnne
This is a great book--informative, simpatico, witty, and entertaining.
Katherine Miller

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Andrew D. Fraser on July 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover
The subtitle of the book "A Food-Loving Father's Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater" is somewhat misleading. The "Quest" is basically over by the time his daughter cuts teeth. I had expected to read about a struggle, some sort of resistance, even some failures as the author raises his daughter.

It does have it's humorous moments and is an easy, enjoyable read. But, for those of us trying to raise kids with similarly adventurous palates, he makes it sound too easy.

Not every anecdote results in his daughter licking her plate clean and asking for more, but his stated goal of raising an adventurous eater is accomplished very early in the book. The rest of it reads like a proud father showing off his daughter's trophy case... "and here's the time she stuffed herself with sushi... and here's the time she ate pad thai for three days straight..."

Yes, I read the entire book, but apart from debunking advice re: baby food. I did not come away with much usable advice for raising my own adventurous eaters. He acknowledges this fact, but it seems like a cop out.

The recipes at the end of each chapter were nicely annotated and looked like they'd be welcomed by my children once they get out of the "no mixed-up food" phase.

Amster-Burton should write a companion "Cooking with Iris" cookbook of his daughter-friendly recipes bolstered with excerpts of his anecdotes. I liked his idea of using an electric skillet for cooking with children.
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29 of 36 people found the following review helpful By K. Heine on June 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I finished this book today and gave it to my husband so he could read it while on a business trip. I am already regretting that decision because I won't have Hungry Monkey in my hands again for 6 whole days. As soon as I read the last page I wanted to start over again with some little sticky flags in my hand to mark recipes I wanted to try and passages where Amster-Burton says specifically that kaiten sushi is ideal baby food. But no, I was all, "This book is hilarious. It's about cooking and kids and Seattle. You're going to love it. Why don't you take it to LA with you?" And now I can't make dumplings or cornmeal pizza crust until Friday. If you know me at all, and you might not, you'll understand why these four reasons alone merited my five-star rating of Hungry Monkey:

-Amster-Burton writes about Seattle and makes me feel like an insider, even though I live in Bellevue;
-he references Bread and Jam For Frances multiple times, which is possibly the best book ever written;
-he got a 5 on my humor rating scale, meaning I was laughing out loud to myself AND making my husband listen as I read funny parts aloud;
-the way he talks about food and feeding his family is equal parts Anthony Bourdain and M.F.K. Fisher, which is no easy feat.

What I was drawn to most in this book is the author's respect for both his daughter and the food they make together. Their relationship as depicted in the book is really quite lovely and illustrates that one does not have to dumb down conversations, expectations, ideas or flavors just because one lives with someone who happens to be a toddler.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By B. Schielke on May 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Super funny book about the adventures of raising a kid under a foodie's watch. The writing style and pace of the book make it tough to put down. Plenty of bacon and pirate references as any good book should have.

The recipies seem to be pretty dang good. I have made the Phad Thai recipe so far and am going to try out the braised short ribs soon even though my kid can't eat real food yet.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Donovan TOP 1000 REVIEWER on August 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father's Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater by Matthew Amster-Burton is many things -- entertaining, mouth-watering, quirky, a bit self-important (as I'm convinced all memoirs are) -- but advice for parents? Not so much.

So--in short, as a parenting book/memoir I give it 3 stars, but as a book for foodies, I'd give it 4. Let's call it 3.5 stars.

Amster-Burton is a foodie. He's not just a foodie, he's a professional food writer/restaurant reviewer. He's the fulltime caregiver for his preschooler Iris, the "hungry monkey" at issue, balancing this freelance work with his parental responsibilities.

If you're a foodie, and can stomach (no pun intended) a little parental bragging (probably no worse than you come across in your typical mom blog or phone call with your first-time parent friend or relation), then I think that you'll enjoy Hungry Monkey. However, if you're expecting to find suggestions on how to convince your young child that he should eat mushrooms, then you're going to be disappointed.

The conclusion that he makes is that kids will eat what they want to eat. Yes, offering variety -- persistently -- is good. Yes, get them involved in helping you make the food. But no, don't expect that just because you and your spouse love hot chilies that your progeny will let you indulge your spicy palate at the family table.

But, if you enjoy food and cooking, you will enjoy reading about his culinary explorations and how the addition of a child changed it somewhat, but not completely. So, in that, it's aptly titled. It is a foodie's quest, and I would say that Iris <em>is</em> more adventurous than most children and many adults.
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