________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 4. . . .September 25, 2009


Eat It Up! Lip-Smacking Recipes for Kids. (A Chickadee Book).

Elisabeth de Mariaffi. Illustrated by Jay Stephens, Steven Charles Manale, Gabrielle Morrisssette, Brooke Kerrigan & Wendy Ding.
Toronto, ON: Owlkids Books, 2009.
93 pp., spiral bound, $22.95.
ISBN 978-1-897349-56-4.

Subject Heading:
Cookery-Juvenile literature.

Grades 1-6 / Ages 6-11.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

**** /4


Containing nearly five dozen kid-tested recipes, Eat It Up! does almost all the things that an excellent recipe book for children should do. Firstly, it has thick, durable covers, and its pages are spiral bound, meaning that pages will lie flat as novice and more experienced young cooks follow the recipes. Given the book’s intended audience, it also begins where it should with two pages of safety advice concerning personal cleanliness and using sharp tools and stoves or ovens, plus the child’s need to get an adult’s permission before beginning to cook. For those unfamiliar with the “tools” needed for cooking, a pair of facing pages alphabetically presents illustrations of 33 of them from ‘apron’ to ‘wooden mixing spoon.’ Because cooking has its own specialized vocabulary, the next two pages are a glossary of three dozen words that wannabe cooks will meet within the text of Eat It Up!. The same pages also contain ‘Cooking Measurements’ in both Metric and Imperial measurements as well as ‘Clean-up Tips.’ Another two pages address eating healthily and common food allergies.

     In today’s world where allergies seem to be more prevalent, each recipe is preceded by symbols indicating that the recipe ingredients does not contain one or more of the following ingredients: peanuts, tree nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews), wheat (wheat-based breads and pastas), dairy (milk, cheese, yogurt, butter) or eggs.

     The recipes, themselves, are grouped under five headings: “Wake Up!” “Snack Attack,” ”Make a Meal!” “Party Time!”, “DEE-sserts!” and “Kitchen Gifts.” Each recipe occupies either a single page or a pair of facing pages and provides a mouth-watering, full-colour photo of the finished food item(s). All of the recipe pages follow a standard format. A chart that begins with the food allergy symbols then indicates the quantity that the recipe will produce (eg. six servings), preparation time, and the required quantities of dry and wet ingredients. Preparation instructions, supported by drawings, are provided in a numbered, step-by-step fashion with words, like beat or lumpy, that appear in the glossary being presented in bold type. What is missing, however, is a listing of the ‘equipment’ needed to put the recipe together. For children unfamiliar with their way about the kitchen, their first assembling the required pans, bowls, spoons, etc. would likely be a time-saver and would make the cooking process flow much more smoothly.

     The six breakfast items that appear in “Wake Up!” are pretty standard: muffins, two versions of eggs, fruit salad, smoothies and pancakes. The contents of “Snack Attack” are a mixture of true snacking foods, like renamed versions of popcorn and GORP, and other things, such as sandwiches and wraps, that could serve as noonday lunches. This recipe book takes a different approach with ”Make a Meal!” in that it offers five different meals with each having two or three dishes. For example, a meal called “The Pirate’s Crunch” consists of “Freaky Fries,” “Crunchy Fish Sticks” and “Sail the Seven Peas” while another meal, “Winter Warm Sweet and Spicy Dinner,” incorporates “Meaty Mini-Pies” and “Hurry Curry Pumpkin Soup.”

     A similar approach is taken with “Party Time!” which presents three theme party menus, “Tobogganing Picnic,” “Dee’s Sleepover Extravaganza” and “Summer Sprinkler Party,” with each having four or five food items: Those of us possessing a sweet tooth (or two) will have immediately noticed that the contents of ”Make a Meal!” were missing an essential part of the meal - dessert! However, that “gap” is addressed by the six recipes under “DEE-sserts!” that range in difficulty from the simple baked apples to the significantly more demanding “Swirly Twirly Cinnamunch ‘ cake. The book’s final six recipes are for things that you can make as gifts for others, and they include such things as “Soup in a Jar” and “Cocoa and Spoons.”

     Throughout the book, “Tip” boxes provide helpful suggestions for modifying some of the recipes. A two-page “Index” concludes Eat It Up!. While the book’s pages are dotted with illustrations of the characters from the Chick and Dee comics found in chickaDEE Magazine, their presence could possibly be off-putting to older would-be chefs who might assume that the book is too juvenile for them.

A terrific home and library purchase!

Highly Recommended.

Dave Jenkinson, who lives in Winnipeg, MB, is CM’s editor.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.
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