Customer Reviews: Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes: A Cookbook for Preschoolers and Up
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Showing 1-10 of 19 reviews(4 star). Show all reviews
on January 14, 2003
This was my daughters response when she found the Zucchini moons recipe. She never ate them before, but now she knows tht salt is the secret! This book has a variety of recipes that kids (and adults) will enjoy...from Bagel faces to popovers to chocolate banana easy to follow, kid and adult friendly format.
The recipes are vegetarian with an emphasis on health, they are not, however, vegan friendly.
Oh, and a tip on the oatmeal's ready to eat sooner if you drop a frozen cube of milk in.
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on January 21, 2007
Mollie Katzen is well known in the food world for her involvement with the Moosewood Restaurant in Ithaca, New York. She has been creating recipes and writing vegetarian cookbooks for adults for many years. However, until she witnessed her son's preschool class making applesauce one day, she didn't think her three-year-old would have an interest in preparing food.

When she talked to his teacher, Ann Henderson, she discovered that the class cooked weekly. Something clicked during this conversation and she remembered her "play cooking" as a child, with her mother's old bowls in the backyard.

Several years later, Mollie and Ann teamed up to write a cookbook for parents and their preschoolers to use to experience the fun of early cooking at home.

Because this unique cookbook is designed for both adults and preschoolers, it does not follow traditional cookbook layout. First, the recipe is written traditionally for the adults to go through. Next, the recipe is written in a pictorial version for the kids to use. The authors also give tips to make these more fun and safe for the children. Ideas such as colored tape on the handle of the butter (or plastic) knife to teach them which end to hold, and creating a cooking station at the kitchen table where it is safer for the kids to reach using an electric skillet. Each recipe is presented in a colorful way, with ideas on how to introduce young and picky eaters to try new foods.

Recipes such as popovers, green spaghetti, bagel faces and pretend soup are simple enough to not confuse young cooks, but complex enough to inspire their imaginations and leave them with good, healthy fun food to eat. Each of these recipes has been made and taste tested by Ann's preschoolers and the book is peppered with quotes from the kids on what they thought of the foods that they made.

I'm looking forward to spending some time with the preschoolers in my life and trying out some of the fun food recipes found inside this fun little cookbook.

Armchair Interviews says: Fun time in the kitchen!
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VINE VOICEon August 30, 2009
I was curious about the title of this book so I picked it up and gave it a run through. I have children that are almost 4 years old and I come from a family that has had a long love affair with cooking and baking. That said, I found this book inspiring and encouraging when it comes to realizing that children as young as mine can really be involved in the actual cooking and baking process.

The book is really well made, and it comes with an assortment of simple recipes that are written in 2 ways: traditional directions for the adult to follow and simple directions created in picture form for the little ones not able to read yet. I thought it was a cute concept that includes the children in all facets of the cooking experience, from recipe to creation. But because there are two sets of directions for every ONE dish in this book, the book doesn't really have a lot of recipes. This book is more about layout than contents.

The recipes in this book are meant to be delicious AND nutritious (and inexpensive as a bonus), as most of them incorporate fruits and/or veggies, and they are all relatively simple to whip up, as this book wants caregivers and children to revel in the "experience" more than the dish itself.

As for the "experience," this book does a fine job of encouraging and suggesting ways (or things) that can make cooking in the kitchen a fun, educational, and enjoyable time for all. This is an actual COOKbook for preschoolers, too, as in some recipes need you to use heat to cook with, something you don't find too often for kids this age. In fact, most of these recipes are ideally meant for those who have an electric skillet, as this can allow the kids to feel like they are really cooking, and allows the adult more control over the hot surfaces. Of course, the recipes can be made from the stove and oven, but as I mentioned before, this cookbook encourages "experience" over everything else.

This cookbook also recommends that adults approach the cooking experience with preschoolers with lots of time, cleaning supplies, and patience, as children this age are very awkward and unsure of the process. Speaking with experience, I wholeheartedly agree. They give you some tips on how keep mess to a minimum, but you'd be suprised at what kids are capable of. :)

All in all, This is a great beginners guide to introduce cooking to little ones. It's perfect to open up and use on a slow, cold or rainy day.
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on February 7, 2014
My 4 year old loves this book (along with the companion, Salad People) because he can "read" the recipes. The picture recipes are perfect for him and he can do most of the cooking himself. I still do everything on the stove and oven, but he can do everything else. We've made almost every recipe in the book, some of them many times - the chocolate banana shake is a favorite, as is the green spaghetti. I haven't found any other good cookbooks made for pre-readers. My son even likes to read this book at bedtime just to get ideas for things we might make in the future.

I have two complaints that took my rating down to 4 stars:
- There are too many errors in the pictures. For example, the words next to the picture might say "1 cup", but the picture will clearly show the cup 3/4 full. Also, there are some inconsistencies. When you need to add 2 eggs, sometimes the picture shows 2 eggs plus a cracking egg, but other times it shows 1 egg plus a cracking egg. It's hard to explain to my preschooler that the picture is wrong.
- The baked recipes are not as tasty as they could be. We still love making them, but some of the muffins and breads could be improved.
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on February 10, 2007
This is a great introduction to following directions and cooking methods. Many of these recipes are not quite for preschoolers since some stove top cooking is required, but safety tips and suggestions are included. The drawings are simple enough for my three year old to understand. We are looking forward to experiencing this book together.
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on December 29, 2009
This is an exceptionally helpful first cookbook. The recipes are easy, the drawings colorful, and the food tastes amazing. The author does a good job of explaining what projects a three year old will want to try (cracking eggs, stirring) and what projects a five or six year old will want to help with (washing berries, preparing the pancake mix. I use the pancake recipe for the base of all my pancakes now. I love the fact that the author gives recipes for a pancake mix that can be made in advance. I keep a ziplock bag of a pancake mix and a muffin mix in my fridge at all times. Each recipe starts out with instructions for the adult, followed by hints and safety tips. Then the author explains what tools will be needed. The recipe is written and steps clearly broken down. Following the complete recipe is a step by step picture recipe that a non reader can use! Tonight my daughter and I enjoyed the Noodle Pudding for dinner, which is apparently an unbaked noodle kugel. My daughter LOVES it, and I like it too. Another thing I have to say that I love about this book is that all the ingredients are easy to find, and healthier substiutions are easy too. I replaced (in the noodle pudding recipe) fat free cottage cheese for full fat, and the taste was still amazing. Tomorrow night my daughter will make the Quesadilla Recipe, and I can not wait! The only downside to this book is the lact of nutritional information.
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VINE VOICEon April 9, 2006
My kids and I tried this cookbook from the library. While we really enjoyed making a few of the recipes out of this book (esp. the popovers) I have to agree with another reviewer that the format makes it someone difficult to use-esp. on the spur of the moment. The adult really needs to have time to have thoroughly read the recipe and gathered all the ingredients before the kids join you in the kitchen. Then you can flip to the illustrated instructions for the kids. This is a good idea but not always practical. It would of been nice to have the two meshed so that the kids could "read" the illustrations, while you read the directions. I also found the recipes limited in scope and difficulty, but it is great for cooking with preschool age children.
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on July 16, 2014
I bought this cookbook for my 3.5 year old son, who loves helping in the kitchen. He also loves pancakes, so that was the first thing we tried. They weren’t quite as good as my stand by recipe, but they were still good & my son was so proud of having made them, and that made it worth it. I’m hoping that as we go through the recipes, he will also be more inclined to eat things he wouldn’t normally want to try if I just put it on his plate. There was a chocolate banana smoothie that wasn’t very tasty, but we might tinker with it a bit. The one thing I do wish the cookbook had was “real pictures” of the final item instead of just sketches.

It was difficult to find a cookbook for children this young. I love that the recipes are written out for “adults” but also have a picture version of what to do. As we go through a recipe, I start pulling things out of the cupboards and fridge as my son “reads” what he is supposed to do next. Overall, I definitely recommend this book. I am considering getting Salad People next, to go with our Kidstir subscription. I plan to also give one or both books to my friend’s 3 year old daughter for Christmas.
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on February 20, 2006
This cookbook is fun for toddlers to read. The pictures are easy to follow and the recipes are good too. Veggetable still are a challenge to get our toddler to eat but cooking/designing the veggi plate is great!
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on June 27, 2014
I love this cookbook. And bought used in VG condition from a reseller on Amazon for my nephew. Yet the book arrived with food stains on and a dingy cover. Ugh. Next time I'll spend the extra couple dollars for a new copy.
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