Thursday, July 25, 2013

Meaty Main Dishes by Jennifer S. Larson -- ESSENTIAL

Larson, Jennifer S. and Brie Cohen Meaty Main Dishes 32 pgs. Millbrook Press, 2013. $26.60.

A beginner's guide to cooking. Includes ten different meat-based recipes, some with vegetarian alternatives.

While the recipes themselves are serviceable, the main appeal of the book is its information on basic cooking skills. The first few pages include an introduction to cooking, along with safety tips, illustrations of various kitchen tools, and an introduction to basic cooking techniques -- all written in a clear but friendly and encouraging voice with a nice, easy-to-read typeface and bolding in appropriate places. The recipes themselves include lists of ingredients and equipment, estimated preparation and cooking time, step-by-step directions, pictures and illustrations, and helpful hints -- many of which encourage children to get creative with their cooking by substituting different ingredients or arranging food in new, appealing ways. The last few pages contain a glossary of unusual ingredients, an index, and a list of websites for further reading.

Meaty Main Dishes is an excellent resource for beginning cooks. Although some of the recipes do require adult supervision, many steps can be done by children, helping them to gain confidence in the kitchen. While some high school students may find it slightly young for them, those who are interested in becoming self-sufficient -- such as those who come home to an empty house or who are about to go off to college -- may be willing to overlook the tone. The main downside is the hefty price tag, though the book does include a solid library binding.

EL, MS, HS -- ESSENTIAL. Reviewed by: Caryn

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