I’m so excited to share a selection of my favourite children’s cookbooks with you. Discovering a children’s cookbook that ignites both a child’s curiosity and a love affair for reading and cooking is so gratifying!
Most of these children’s cookbooks are part recipe book and part storybook. This is a nice avenue to bring food to life, keep the kids interested and help them relate to food, away from the dinner table.
I hope you enjoy reading and cooking from them as much as my family and I do.
Here are my favourite children’s cookbooks:
This children’s cookbook is a slimmed-down version of the iconic adult book; The Silver Spoon, which is packed with traditional Italian recipes and was originally published in 1950. Forty recipes have been chosen and adapted to make it easy for children to follow.
A selection of our favourite recipes includes the Baked Maccheroni with Parmesan, pizza, banana cream and stuffed peaches.
The book suggests children aged 9 and over should be able to follow most of the recipes by themselves. Younger children can still get involved with jobs such as washing herbs for pesto or hitting the button on the food processor to blend the ingredients for the fruits of the forest ice cream.
Each recipe is handily accompanied by in-depth step-by-step instructions, an image and detailed illustrations to support cooks of all ages.
The special ‘techniques’ chapter is suitable for all children to participate in. For example, younger children can learn to squeeze the juice from lemons and oranges or practice cracking eggs. While older kids can practice grating, peeling and working on their chopping skills, such as bridge or claw cutting.
Just like the Italian way, I’d encourage sharing the finished creations with family and friends.
2. Pizza! Published by Phaidon
‘Pizza! is part of a series of other books including Cookies!, Spaghetti!, Pancakes! and Tacos!. These books are aimed at children aged 3-5. However, they work well for children outside of this age too, my 7-year-old enjoys revisiting these books, especially now he is grasping some simple cooking techniques more easily.
Younger children enjoy interacting with the features of this book, so much so, that our Cookies! book is looking rather tired now! Actions such as mixing the ingredients, kneading the dough and spreading the sauce are great activities to build on their familiarity with creating these much-loved recipes before they step into the kitchen.
Once children have enjoyed learning about new foods and cooking methods, it’s time to don an apron and replicate the recipe they’ve read about! It’s a great book for exposing children to new and different foods away from the dinner table where there can be an element of pressure to eat.
3. How to Fold a Taco, by Naibe Reynoso
This book truly sparks imagination from the very first page!
The rhyming story with rules on how to fold, hold and eat a taco (“no forks needed!”) will delight the readers and they’ll be keen to make tacos at the earliest opportunity once they’ve read this food-inspired book.
This book is great for supporting eating together, but it also gives children some autonomy. We all know the importance of enjoying a meal with family and friends provides children with an opportunity to socialise and strengthen bonds. Whilst allowing them to choose what goes on their plate can help your child develop a balanced, healthy relationship with food.
In this scenario, the suggested toppings for your taco include lettuce, tomato, onion, cheese, avocado, and salsa!
Here’s a video of the author reading the book in both English and Spanish.
4. A Taste of the World, by Beth Walrond
A Taste of the World is a journey around the globe that showcases the foods eaten by different people and cultures.
It features different customs and ways to eat such as: how to eat with your hands, how to eat with chopsticks and the different ways of holding a knife and fork (the continental way is different to the American way!).
Aimed at ages 6 and over, it’s a nice book to dip in and out of, rather than read all in one go as the facts come thick and fast! My eldest son loves looking at a map of the world. So we like to read a page or two when his curiosity about a certain region is peaked!
The page on ‘how to make chocolate’ perked his interest as we read about the ancient aztecs of Mexico who used to roast cacao beans and ground them into a paste with water, chilli, vanilla and spices, AKA what we know now as hot chocolate!
This book is less recipe-focused, but it’s a joy to absorb the factual content, striking illustrations and bold blocks of colour. It’s a great way to help children develop an interest in different cuisines too.
5. Lunch at 10 Pomegranate Street, by Felicita Sala
My final children’s cookbook recommendation provides eye-catching, beautiful and stunning illustrations that will leave you wanting to keep this for yourself, rather than share it with the kids!
Savour a moment to enjoy it sans children before they paw at it. I’d happily keep this book on my coffee table, rather than on the kid’s bookshelf!
The story follows the residents living on Pomegranate Street (I’d like to live here just for the name!), with each family making their own special dish to share with their neighbours.
From coconut dahl, to guacamole, and peanut butter and chocolate chip cookies for dessert, this book is filled with lovely recipes from around the world. Though the cooking instructions are simple enough for keen young chefs to follow along too.
This children’s cookbook serves as a gentle prompt for each of us to welcome the people and local community into our lives. I try to take my children and any spare home-made baked goods to our neighbour for a quick chat to check in on them if it’s been a while since we spoke.
Embrace the mess!
Cooking over the holidays can be a helpful activity to keep the children busy, provide a snack or meal and help boost their confidence in the kitchen. Embrace the chaos and mess that cooking with children brings. It can feel like an added chore in our busy lives, but it’s important to look at the bigger picture and encourage their involvement to help support their lifelong love of food!
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