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Starting From Scratch: What You Should Know about Food and Cooking Hardcover – March 18, 2014

3.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4–8—For those kids who love cooking and eating, this title should be required reading. The introduction answers the question "Why should you cook?" and the following six chapters detail the elements that make up food, cooking, and the eating experience. The first chapter deconstructs taste, not just covering the five tastes and taste buds, but also the terroir (how growing conditions change taste) level. "You Are What You Eat" is not about nutrition but about food culture. Another chapter discusses the science of cooking and how each cooking tool or method changes food: heat, cold, acid, salt, sweet, fat, bugs (bacteria, fungi, and mold), water, kneading, and preserving. The section about recipes explains not only how to read them but also about ratios, substitutions, and measurements. Getting the kitchen ready for cooking is covered in the next chapter, which includes lists of tools, basic pantry items, techniques for grocery shopping, and healthy eating basics and also addresses how politics and religion affect food choices. Finally, the last chapter gets to cooking techniques, food safety, table-setting illustrations (Western, Japanese, Ethiopian, and Indian), and cleaning up. Appendixes include a few basic recipes, recommended cookbooks, a guide to flavor pairings, and measurements and conversions. Decorated throughout with cartoon illustrations and written in a clear and engaging style, this title has plenty of kid appeal. With this book in hand, young chefs will be empowered to create amazing food. It will also make a great complement to science-fair projects about taste or kitchen chemistry.—Heather Acerro, Rochester Public Library, MN

From Booklist

In another time, the title of this expansive, encouraging, and enthusiastic book might have been Our Cooking, Ourselves, as it explores the connection between the body, the science, and the cultural impact of what we eat. Elton begins with the “building blocks” of the five tastes experienced on the tongue: salty, sweet, bitter, sour, and umami (meaty flavor), then quickly ups the ante with the different ways we experience food via the senses and how “flavor science” makes processed foods more appealing. Elton’s insightful text is punctuated by Kulak’s quirky, vintage art—think 1970s harvest golds and avocado greens. Later, techniques for shopping, using kitchen tools, and following recipes segue to thoughtful discussions of food ethics, cultural differences, etiquette, and even tips for when your dishes don’t turn out well. The cherries atop this sundae are the appendixes, which include basic recipes, a flavor-pairing guide, and measurement conversions, making this a sumptuous treat for any budding foodie to digest. Grades 6-9. --Courtney Jones
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Grade Level: 4 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 960L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: Owlkids Books (March 18, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1926973968
  • ISBN-13: 978-1926973968
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 8.2 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #816,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
First, I need to say- this is a book for kids, maybe through young teens. It goes into enough depth to give a good grasp of many of the various aspects of cooking, from a practical-science perspective, but it may not get into enough depth for adults.

Second- NO recipes. Not a one. While everything in the book can be used to prepare and improve recipes found elsewhere, it doesn't include any. I can see the point, but personally I would have preferred a few simple ones that illustrated the points being made.

The text is entertaining and very readable, and accurate to the best of my knowledge (and I am something of a food prep nerd). The layout is great, including the illustrations, and make it fun to read.

I think if I were to give this to a kid getting interested in cooking, I'd accompany it with a solid recipe book. so s/he can apply their new knowledge as well as just read about it. I think it would be a great resource for homeschoolers, too- cooking is one of the best ways of showing kids how math really IS practical! I'll also mention that the other female chem majors I knew in college ALL got into chemistry through our love of cooking!

While it's not quite what I was hoping for when I bought it, I think it's an excellent book and fills a gap, especially for kids who want to know "why?" about everything!
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Format: Hardcover
Many kids in the 21st century who are in danger of thinking that food only comes in packages will benefit from this handsomely illustrated guidebook that offers an inviting invitation to young people to get cooking in the kitchen using fresh ingredients. Topics range from why some foods taste sweet or salty to the importance of proper measurements, why recipes are useful, to basic safety when using a knife and other kitchen tools. Parents and kids would benefit by reading this book together, then commiting to preparing a meal together with the entire family at least once a week!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The book is written in adult language, but is obviously for six or seven year olds. It is a children's book, but I didn't find this out until I had the book, and got near the end. The information was absolutely silly. "How to boil water?" The book was apparently published through some program of the Canadian government. I wish I'd had some kind of alert before buying it.
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