How to Cook

How to Cook, Delicious Dishes Perfect for Teen Cooks by Maggie Mayhew, DK Publishing 2011, $17.99 hardback, 127 pages

They’re going to be hanging around this summer, so you might as well make them useful. Maybe they’ll learn something and you might get a good dinner out of it.

If you have one of those average teenagers—one not obsessed by the food channel or refuses to eat anything green—push this easy introduction to the kitchen into their hands.

They can start with obvious teen favorites like Chile con Carne, Quesadillas, or Brownies, but the bright pages with pictorial and written directions and final products illustrated in photographs may inspire them to Pad Thai, Jambalaya, or Profiteroles.

Recipes are divided into chapters on Food Fast—perfect for that roiling moment when they arrive home ready to chew through the front door, Big Food—feasting pots for crowds or families, Something Sweet—duh, and Bake-off—for when they get that mad scientist feeling. The final chapter is Back to Basics—tips and techniques—because we all know that teenagers have to get themselves into trouble before they think of how to get out of it.

In between recipes are page spreads on how to adapt them to suit your own taste. Salad Nicoise is followed by quick takes on Greek Salad, Coleslaw, Potato Salad, and French Dressing that build a beginning cook’s repertoire. More exotic (but definitely do-able) recipes for Chicken Jalfrezi and Chickpea Curry are followed up with the makings for a curry feast—dahl, rice pilaf, raita, and Indian salad.

Home cooks tend to be healthier, spend less money on food, and can take and share pleasure in the kitchen. Why not get them started? Just make sure you’ve got fresh batteries in the smoke alarm.

About Appetite for Books

read, cook, eat, repeat
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