If you are looking for a great children's cookbook, Mardi Michels' In the French Kitchen with Kids: Easy, Everyday Dishes for the Whole Family to Make and Enjoy (available on Amazon) is a great option for you, with easy-to-follow recipes, gorgeous photos, and lots of tips and tricks that are helpful for kids and adults too!
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I have been a fan of Mardi Michels' blog eat. live. travel. write. for years, without exaggerating. I think I started following Mardi in 2010, back when she was learning how to bake the perfect macarons. She now teaches baking classes all about macarons in Toronto, Ontario. I've loved following along over the years as she explores cookbooks, recipes, and cooking with kids, and now Mardi's written a book!
Mardi works very hard and dedicates herself to everything she does. Her new book, In the French Kitchen with Kids: Easy, Everyday Dishes for the Whole Family to Make and Enjoy, is proof (available on Amazon). Mardi sets out to show that we can all cook and bake French recipes at home, regardless of how old or young we are. Her recipe instructions are clear and detailed enough so that you aren't left guessing. The recipes don't require years of experience to follow and the goal is to make French recipes approachable enough that even kids can follow along and help out (or take over) in the kitchen.
What you'll find in this cookbook
The recipes in the cookbook In The French Kitchen With Kids are divided into chapters according to meals, Breakfast (Le petit déjeuner), Lunch (Le déjeuner), After-school snacks (Le goûter), Dinner (Le dîner), Dessert (Le dessert), Special occasions (Pour les grandes occasions). There's also a chapter for Basic pastry recipes at the end, filled with some of the fundamental recipes you need to bake many of the most common French recipes, like a pâte sucrée dough recipe (sweet shortcrust). The recipes are given in imperial cups and also metric grams and millilitres, a preferred method for measuring ingredients, especially in France (though sometimes they mix in such things as decilitres and centilitres, but let's save that discussion for another time).
The introduction section includes tips on how to cook from the book with kids, successfully and safely. The reminder of practice makes perfect is a good one for all of us, regardless of age and experience. I feel like we should all apply most of the tips for cooking with kids in our own kitchen adventures. For example, wouldn't you agree that we are more likely to succeed in the kitchen if we take the time to read through a recipe completely before beginning and then if we do all our mise-en-place, measuring out and getting ready all of the ingredients to make a dish before jumping to the stove? I find baking certainly goes much more smoothly when you do a little bit of prep work ahead.
There are many, many helpful tips boxed off in this book to guide you along the way, and there are also a few fun language lessons to show the origin of some of the French terms, like how the French say "yogourt" or "yaourt" for yoghurt, or how the word "galette" in French can have many meanings. So true!
What I tested from this cookbook
In The French Kitchen With Kids is definitely more than just a baking book, containing both savoury and sweet cooking and baking recipes, but I'm a baker so I focused on that. I tested three baking recipes in this book, specifically the financiers, the crème caramel, and the mixed berry galettes. I especially loved making (and eating) the galettes. I chose to make raspberry galettes because I hardly ever make galettes and so I felt this would definitely be a challenge for me. I was a little stressed about baking the galettes because I'm always worried about the pastry staying put in the oven as it bakes.... but everything worked out great! Here's the raspberry galettes recipe so you can bake them and see for yourself! The crème caramels are sinfully good. You should definitely give that recipe a try too! If you have kids at home, I'd definitely recommend In The French Kitchen With Kids cookbook to you, whether you are looking for a children's cookbook or a great basic cookbook and reference for making popular French foods and recipes. Get it on Amazon today!
I was sent a free copy of the cookbook by the publisher Appetite. I was not obliged to review the book, nor was I monetarily compensated to do so. All opinions are my own.