Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Doing & Learning
The Spatulatta Cookbook

The Spatulatta Cookbook

Fall 2007 Doing & Learning
Ages: 9 - 12 yrs.
Author: Olivia Gerasole
Author: Isabella Gerasole
Publisher: Scholastic
ISBN: 0439022509
Hardcover Price: $16.99
Tween-age sisters Belle and Liv Gerasole, who garnered a James Beard Award for their Spatulatta Web site, translated their slightly zany, but definitely real voices to the written page. Their charming cookbook is filled with family recipes, seasonal specialties, and their own wry comments about both.

Taken at face value as a kids’ cookbook, the recipes are fresh, easy enough to make with minimal adult help, and just unusual enough to be interesting instead of icky. Instead of the typical kid-friendly grilled cheese and pasta concoctions, the Gerasoles create food for the whole family. They make lots of healthy dishes to satisfy a parent, but certainly don’t dwell on nutrition nor shy away from dessert. The girls’ sense of cooking-as-an-adventure comes through in the use of such ingredients as Jasmine rice, chickpeas, grated ginger and root vegetables.

The recipes are organized by season, subtly underscoring the use of fresh produce. A vegetarian section is predominately salads, but they’re hearty enough for meals. Snacks are simple and healthy. The girls have also included an informative section on basic kitchen skills and a glossary of terms every chef should know. But the best part of this book is that not one photo shows a picture-perfect dish. Because, like, who really cooks that way?

Wendy Smolen   ©2007 Parents' Choice

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