Coincidently, as my family was in the process of planning our new cooking intentions, our intuitive editor handed me “Cooking Dinner: Simple Italian Family Recipes Everyone Can Make,” a beautifully presented book of recipes and more by Rima Barkett and Claudia Pruett. The authors run an educational non-profit organization that promotes healthy cooking and eating to school-age children.
Many cookbooks for youth are full of snacks and sweets; recipes for which one essentially opens packages and mixes together the additive-laced ingredients.
This 256-page book, however, uses traditional recipes and calls for fresh ingredients. The instructions are geared for kids starting around 10 years old. This is now the book that my daughters use when cooking their weekly meal.
The book is intelligently laid out with wonderful photographs and is quite helpful for first timers. It includes pointers for handling slightly tricky cooking methods, as well as shopping lists, meal planning and a check list for basic ingredients that are (hopefully) in the pantry. There is also a great section called “Nonna’s Secrets,” many of which surprised and enlightened me. There is even a section that tells how to prepare and store ingredients—many adults could use these handy tips, as well.
The authors’ intention exactly answers what I was looking for: a fun, non-threatening cookbook that focuses on quality cooking and quality time, and brings a “culture of cooking” back into the kitchen.