Cookbooks for Children

I’ve been on the lookout for good cookbooks for children. My oldest granddaughter is getting to that age. With a family full of people who love to cook and eat, it will be good for her to be able to hold her own. I find most children love to experiment with food. Even the youngest ones love stirring a bowl of something gooey.

I know some people think of cookbooks as a resource for listing recipes. But the best ones are those I can actually “read.” I wanted my children and grandchildren to grow up “reading” cookbooks too.

So, one day while sitting at a nice table in the juvenile non-fiction section of the library, I spotted a whole shelf full of cookbooks for children. I grabbed a few that appealed to me in the hope they might appeal to children as well.

The Boxcar Children Cookbook by Diane Blain

Back when I was in grade school this was one of my favorite books. It fired my imagination to think that these children, my age, could find shelter, earn money and cook for themselves without any grown-ups around. It seemed quite the adventure.

The Boxcar Children Cookbook sticks to the basic premise of the stories, using simple and each to read instructions. The author doesn’t talk down to children nor try to make it cute. The best part, for me, was at the beginning of each recipe. There is a quote from the book in which this food item was mentioned. (There were numerous books in the series.)

For each recipe there is a numbered list of What to Use and a list of What To Do. Very simple. The recipes range from beverages to main dishes to cookies, cakes and other desserts. This is basic food, nothing exotic. Just what you’d expect the Boxcar Children to eat. The cookbook should appeal to children age 8 and up.

I encountered a serendipity in this little book. I found a recipe I had lost. Years ago I would mix up my own hot chocolate mix. I liked it because it was low on sugar but still tasted great, especially on camping trips. And then I found it in this book. Here’s my shortened version:

Hot Chocolate Mix

Mix together

  • 2 cups non-fat dry milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Save this mix in an air-tight container. To make one cup of hot chocolate:

  • Put 1/3 cup of mix in a mug
  • Add boiling water (about 1 cup)

Stir until everything is dissolved. Extra good if you can add one marshmallow.

The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Classic Stories by Barbars M. Walker

Along the same lines as the Boxcar Children Cookbook is this one for those who love the Little House series. Pioneer, country cooking is a natural part of the story lines of these books. The Little House Cookbook includes the recipes for various dishes mentioned in the series.

This is more than recipes. It’s part history, especially concerning the preparation of food in the pioneer kitchen. I iked the chapters featuring where the food came from. For instance, one chapter is Foods from the Woods, Wilds, and Waters. Others are Foods from the Tilled Fields, Foods from the Garden and Orchard, and Foods from the Barnyard.

This is an excellent resource for children studying this time period as well as for those of us, whatever age, who love the Little House books and DVDs. This book is suitable for children 9 or 10 and older.

I found two more books I liked a lot but I’ll save them for another time. This post is getting too long as it is. I hope these books will be helpful, especially if you have young children you are trying to convince that good food and good  books can go together.

I borrowed these books from the library but I gave you links to Amazon just in case you want to know more. I am an Amazon Associate.

Talking about food is a regular feature on my blog and others as well. Visit Beth Fish Reads for other bloggers who are participating in Weekend Cooking.

This entry was posted in 100+ Book Challenge, Book Challenges, Books, Books About Food, Weekend Cooking. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Cookbooks for Children

  1. Beth F says:

    I haven’t seen the Boxcar cookbook — so I’ll be tracking that down. But I do have the Little House cookbook. I remember when I read the Little House in the Woods that I couldn’t wait for winter so I could try to make snow candy with maple syrup.

  2. I have the top book in my middle school library. My students love cookbooks!! They’re constantly being checked out. I wish I had one that I could recommend to you but I’m drawing a blank here. I’ll have to browse that section on Monday and if I see one will let you know! 😀

  3. Those both look good. You’ll have to let us know what your granddaughter thinks of them.

  4. Oh fun post! Our grandkids are past the age for these books (which makes me feel extraordinarily elderly) — but 5 out of 6 of them can cook well. So that’s a happy memory. And I remember the cocoa mix recipe — we used to make it for Scout outings in mass quantities. I think I’ll print this one out just for old times sake (not much need for hot chocolate here, but back in Oregon sometime yes!)

  5. Dana says:

    What a great post! I’ve only recently really noticed cookbooks that are good to read as well…awesome!

  6. I love children’s cookbooks! I especially love how they take nourishing foods and just by making them into shapes, make children want to make and eat them. (like say a person from a pear half and raisins for eyes and carrots for limbs, etc.)

  7. JoAnn says:

    There are children’s cookbooks based on the American Girl dolls/books, too. I remember checking those out of the library when my girls were younger. Have never seen The Boxcar Children Cookbook – what a treat to find a long lost recipe!

  8. caite says:

    what a cute idea. I never knew these books existed.

  9. Esme says:

    I would have loved this book as a child-I read all the Little House on the Praire Books.

  10. Bumbles says:

    Bravo Margot – this is such an easy way for kids to read without feeling like it’s homework. Although I don’t cook, I do seek out cookbooks for the kids in my life to have fun and practice their reading. They usually have a better instinct in the kitchen than I do anyway.

  11. Heather says:

    Those are so cute! I had no idea there was a Little House cookbook. I was OBSESSED with those books when I was young. And I always wanted to try making sugar candy! I’ll have to find this for my daughter; I plan on introducing her to Laura soon.

  12. cerrin says:

    The Boxcar Cookbook…lol I saw it last weekend at the GoodWill and almost bought it for the nieces. But it was not well kept and was drawn in…So I didnt get it for them lol That is great that we were thinking along the same lines lol

  13. nanette says:

    I randomly came across the Boxcar Children cookbook when cleaning up my room, and it just opened a floodgate of memories from my childhood as a latchkey kid. I love to cook now (I’m 26 now), and completely forgot that I loved to cook then, too. This was how I learned how to make pretty basic things like egg salad, chicken salad, french toast, hard boiled and scrambled eggs, pretty fancy for a grade school-er now that I think about it! I have very fond memories of this book (I don’t think I even actually read the series) so I highly recommend it!

  14. Steve says:

    Great idea! I’d love to get one!!
    I would have loved this book as a child-I read all the Little House cookbook.Because they want to know more things in little time…so i think its a great book

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