Book Review: Microwave Cooking for Kids



Book Review: Microwave Cooking for Kids

Author: staff of Better Homes & Gardens magazine

Date: 1984

Publisher: Meredith Corporation

ISBN: 0-696-01425-4

Length: 90 pages

Illustrations: lots of color photos

Quote: “Our recipes are easy enough to make by yourself, but have an adult close by for questions.”

Microwave Cooking for Kids offers lots of fun for middle-school readers. They’ll learn how to stick pretzels together with caramel to make butterflies, how to dip bananas in chocolate and nuts, how to stuff pizza and taco toppings into potatoes, how to wrap bacon around toast fingers, how to shape snow-capped peaks of meatloaf, and dozens of other creative ways to play with food.

There are still a few microwave-free kitchens in the United States. Problem? Not much of one. Kids can try these recipes at friends’ houses, in motels, maybe even at school. Adults who missed the chance to do goofy things with a microwave oven, at age ten, can still do them at the office, too.

There is one small problem that’s actually built into the subject matter of this book. Kids’ after-school snacks need to include vegetables…and kids are most likely to enjoy vegetables as a snack when they’re as fresh and raw as possible. My brother and I never wanted to come home and heat up a can of peas but we were always delighted to go out to the garden and eat a few pods of raw peas, or some crunchy, juicy raw green beans (before they form tough strings), sweet and snappy raw asparagus, or one of those big squishy vine-ripened tomatoes that needs to be sliced in a bowl and eaten with a spoon. The editors of Microwave Cooking for Kids prudently recognized that few kids want to bother microwave-cooking vegetables. Parents may want to remind kids to clean and eat a few vegetables before they try another sweet or salty microwave treat.

Books written by committees aren’t Fair Trade Books, so this isn’t one, and the only reason why you should buy it here rather than elsewhere is that, if you add a copy of Microwave Cooking for Kids to a package that includes Fair Trade Books, the shipping is free. To buy it here, send $5 per book + $5 per package to either address in the lower left corner of the screen (U.S. postal orders to the P.O. box, Paypal to the e-mail address).

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Book Review: How to Have Fun Cooking Breakfast

Book Review: How to Have Fun Cooking Breakfast

Author: Creative Educational Society

Date: 1974

Publisher: Childrens Press

ISBN: 0-87191-291-0

Length: 28 pages

Illustrations: About half the book consists of drawings.

Quote: “Fixing cold cereal is very easy.”

Two whole pages of this book tell and show children how to add milk, sugar, and fruit to packaged cereal. Two more pages explain toast. Other two-page spreads explain bacon, fried eggs, and scrambled eggs. Pancakes take four pages.

This book is recommended for precocious readers, ages four through six. Although it has the look of a third-grade book, and doesn’t mention that the “you” addressed will need to stand on a chair, eight-year-olds are likely to feel bored and talked down to by a cookbook that assumes that only fried or scrambled eggs will be “not too hard for you to do.” With adult supervision, even six-year-olds are usually competent to boil eggs and prepare hot whole-grain cereals like oatmeal, which aren’t even discussed in this book. When I was eight years old, not a very precocious cook, I was doing biscuits, coffee cakes, and corn bread, none of which is discussed in this book either.

Be very careful about giving this book to a child. The time window during which extremely easy books like How to Have Fun Cooking Breakfast will be appreciated, rather than taken as insults, is narrow. If in doubt, buy a book that discusses things adults think might be a little bit ahead of a child’s abilities. This one is for the moppet who’s not been allowed to explore the kitchen yet.

However, according to Amazon, this book has been a childhood favorite and become a collector’s item. I’ll take a chance and say that, if you buy it here, you need to send only $10 per book + $5 per package (you can fit plenty of other books in that package)…but this price information is subject to change. Committees aren’t authors, therefore books credited to committees aren’t Fair Trade Books; therefore, if you find a better deal somewhere else, feel free to take advantage of it.

This Morguefile image reflects my awareness that…I don’t know any children under age ten who bake yeast breads like this all by themselves, although I’ve known many children as young as six who liked to help mix, knead, and shape bread dough. A child old enough to read a picture book like How to Have Fun Cooking Breakfast is old enough to slice and toast bread, too.

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