Ever since we got back from our family trip to Sesame Place, my kids have become even more obsessed with Elmo, Abby Cadabby and the rest of the Sesame Street gang. When I was sent a copy of “B is for Baking: 50 Yummy Dishes to Bake Together” for review – I was thrilled. Written by Susan McQuillan, a nutritionist and food writer, “B is for Baking” (Wiley Hardcover; September 12, 2011; $16.95) is a follow up to her popular “C is for Cooking”.
What I liked: This book is actually two books for the price of one:
First, it is a great cooking book that can get children involved very easily with specific steps marked especially for kids. My 4.5 year old daughter and I tried the baked spinach omelet and had a fun mother-daughter bonding time. The recipe was very easy to follow and the omelet came out delicious! All the other recipes are very doable, especially for a mother who does not always have the time to figure out complex recipes with lots of ingredients. In fact, most of the ingredients for many of the recipes were actually in my pantry or fridge. What I especially loved was substituting beets for food coloring for the red velvet cupcakes (food coloring has been linked to allergies, ADHD and cancer).
Second, the book is also just another cute book to read with your kids, even when you don’t plan on cooking anything. The food looks delicious in the pictures and there are adorable drawings of the Sesame Street characters with tidbits of nutritional information, trivia, little exercises for counting, colors, shapes, etc.
What I didn’t like: The book promises nutritious recipes but I saw a lot of white flour & sugar in the recipes. While the author does provide some substitutions to white flour (in the very informative intro section), one wonders why she did not have them in the recipes to begin with? A recipe for muffins that calls for both white flour and whole-wheat flour MAY taste better for children’s palate, but how is it nutritious? Also, I would have liked to have seen some healthy alternatives to sugar, such as stevia.
Bottom Line: This book gives a wonderful opportunity for children to learn the basics in cooking & baking as well as develop good eating habits (without the need to send them to after-school cooking classes). It makes cooking fun and can also be read as a regular book.
Find the book at Amazon or in your local bookstore.