CM . . .
. Volume XI Number 14 . . . . March 18, 2005
Jean Paré is a publishing phenomenon. Most people will be familiar with the story of her starting her catering business out of her spare bedroom and turning it into the million dollar business that's still going -- and growing -- today. Jean Paré's gold rule of cooking is "never share a recipe you wouldn't use yourself." School Days Parties clearly has this philosophy in mind. Its 20 menus are made up of quick and easy recipes, made with everyday ingredients.
School Days Parties has been very well thought out. The menus are inspired and will appeal both to kids and adults. Menus are divided into five groups: Birthday Parties, Costume Parties, Outdoor Parties, School Break Parties and Sleepover parties. While Halloween and July 1st menus are included, the other menus are built around general themes that will appeal to kids -- sports, picnics and a tea party.
Menus include a Medieval party complete with castle cake and king ribs, a pseudo sushi party and a kids only camp out. The Dinosaur Dig menu would certainly be a hit with five to seven-year-olds. Who could resist frothy lime punch with Guess-the-dinosaur toast and prehistoric fish scales? (Note: fish scales are actually, thin slices of yams deep fried) The Lights! Camera! Action! menu includes shortbread stars and chocolate microphones. Beautiful full colour photographs accompany each menu, making the food that much more appealing.
There are too many fun recipes in this book to mention them all, but I think Custard Brains, part of the Haunted Halloween menu that also includes Swamp Cups, deserves mention for gruesome kid appeal and inventiveness.
Most recipes have no more than five ingredients, and all have clear easy-to-follow steps. Younger children will enjoy cooking alongside an adult, while capable nine or ten-year-olds will enjoy cooking their own feasts, with adult supervision.
Each recipe has been analyzed using the Canadian Nutrient File and includes a full nutrition analysis, making this book an ideal resource for Home Ecology classes. A full recipe index is included as well, making looking up recipes simple. Helpful measurement tables with conversions are included in the back as well.
The spiral bound binding ensures that the book will stay flat as well as stand up to repeated use. With healthy recipes that appeal to kids, this book could make meal preparation less onerous for many adults as well. The bonus party pack includes eight helium quality balloons, eight party picks and table confetti.
This book lives up to its subtitle: "Fun Food Your Kids Will Love." A terrific resource for home or school libraries.
Liz Greenaway of Edmonton, AB, has worked in bookselling and publishing and needs help finding ideas for cooking for kids.
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