Pansino, Rosanna. The Nerdy Nummies Cookbook: Sweet Treats for the Geek in All of Us. Atria Books, 2015. 256 pages. Hardcover $25.64, ISBN 978-1-50110-401-5
Interest Level: AD
“Nerdy Nummies” is a popular YouTube cooking channel and show. While the recipes in this book are a bit beyond most tweens’ baking skills, this is a good title to consider for the adult collection, as it has quite a bit of “flip through” value for younger bakers. The pictures are stunning, and the attention to detail that Pansino displays in her recipes and process are good skills for young chefs to aspire to! Recipes include Apple Pi Pie (the apple pieces are cut with number-shaped cookie cutters before being seasoned and placed in the pie to make for even more mathematical fun!), Moon Phase Macarons (each phase of the moon is displayed on the top of each macaron, one phase per cookie!), Chemistry Lab Cake, and more.
Bilderback, Leslie. Mug Cakes: 100 Speedy Microwave Treats to Satisfy Your Sweet Tooth. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2013. 168 pages. Tr. $19.59, ISBN 978-1-25002-658-3
Interest Level: AD
Another dessert cookbook aimed at adults, Mug Cakes aligns perfectly with tweens’ desire to have quick and easy desserts available. Add to that the portion of a mug cake (a cake in a mug? Adorable!), and this book for adult bakers will be popular with younger readers. The book also has great “flip through” potential as the mugs in which cakes are prepared often match their contents; for example, the Victorian Rose mug cake is in a delightfully dainty looking mug. This book also covers “basics” of mug cakes before diving into the more sophisticated flavors and decoration options, so any interested tweens can get their bearings before jumping straight into the more complicated mug cakes.
ChopChop Magazine. Belmont, MA: ChopChop Kids. 4 issues yearly. $14.95 per year
Interest Level: 3-8
This magazine is a resource for families who want to get cooking together. The issues include wonderful columns such as ideas for being more active (“Lead the Way—Take a Walk After Dinner” is one in the Fall 2016 issue), interviews with young activists or food experts, and fun food-themed puzzles and games such as mazes and word searches. Recipes include many great photos, including step-by-step photos for more complex actions in recipes (i.e., how to flip a quesadilla in the pan). Children of varying ages are shown doing age-appropriate cooking tasks; for example, photos of a little boy named Liam show him helping to shake something up and do other tasks safe for a very young child to do in the kitchen. Older children are shown using blenders and chopping vegetables. Captions also explain what each child is doing, naming children by name so that the information is made more concrete rather than a more abstract direction (i.e., “Liam is mixing…” instead of “Mix the ingredients”). The reason I chose to add this subscription is because it has a lot to offer a library collection. Not only is it endorsed and reviewed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, it was also named “publication of the year” by the James Beard Foundation, an honor that Judy Bolton-Fasman of Huffington Post points out is “the equivalent of an Oscar in the food world” (2013). Each issue has a theme, and it is filled with recipes and ideas based on that quarter’s cooking theme. This means that plenty of new recipes will be coming in every few months for kids to try. It also shows children of varying ages cooking; this helps reinforce the idea that kids are able to cook, and this may help children stick with wanting to learn even when new recipes are hard. Finally, the interviews and other supplementary material give kids something else to look at while flipping through; they can learn other things about nutrition as they browse recipes.
Bolton-Fasman, J. (2013, Sept. 9). Cooking fun, cooking healthy with ChopChop Magazine and Cookbook. Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judy-boltonfasman/cooking-fun-cooking- healt_b_3893517.html
Barlow, Kathleen. Gross-Out Cakes: The Kitty Litter Cake and Other Classics. Silverleaf Press, 2006. 64 pages. Tr. $11.06, ISBN 978-1-933317-48-9
Interest Level: 5-8
This book is disgusting. Flipping through the book is a truly amazing experience in gross-out foods. The photographs are clear, and more complicated processes have step-by-step photographs, which are hugely helpful given that this cookbook is all about making foods look like other things. Recipes include the infamous Kitty Litter Cake (complete with recommendations for varying levels of “grossness”), Toenail Torte, and Phlegm Brulée, amongst many, many others. Many recipes call for box cake mix, pudding mix, and store-bought cookies, but this helps make some of the complicated recipes easier for younger grossologist chefs; one does not need to know how to bake a cake from scratch to make these cakes, especially if the cake in question is going to be crumbled to make kitty litter “sand.” The reason that I chose this book was that it is so perfectly disgusting. Kids will find the illustrations nasty and giggle-worthy even if they do not wish to attempt a Blood Clot Cake, and I cannot build a cookbook selection without including this one. In a world filled with Pinkalicious Cupcake books, I have to balance out a collection with a “gross-out” collection, too. It might also entice some of my younger chefs who might not want to pick up a traditional cookbook just yet.
Review referenced: I turned to Amazon to see if book purchasers found this book useful, and found it to have 67% of all of its ratings be a 5-star review rating.
The SuiteQueen (screen name). (2006, Sept. 30). Perfectly gross!!! (Review of the book Gross-Out Cakes: The Kitty Litter Cake and Other Classics). Amazon.com. Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Gross-Out-Cakes-Kitty-Litter- Classics/dp/1933317485