It’s been a long, hot summer already and we’re still weeks away from fall! My garden is definitely showing the strain even though I have been watering almost every day to make up for the many weeks without rain. One of the ways that I’ve been distracting myself from the sad state of my garden is testing out some new recipes in the kitchen. I have come across some great kid friendly cookbooks here at the Plaza Kid Corner that I would love to share with you!

While most of the recipes put kids in charge, remember that you should ALWAYS have a grown up in the kitchen to help you, especially if you’re using knives, stove burners, or the oven. It is also very important to remember to always read all the way through a recipe before starting to make sure you have all of the ingredients and tools you need.

Pretend Soup by Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson is full of fantastic recipes for kid cooks preschool ages and up (but your younger brothers and sisters will definitely be happy taste testers!) Katzen, one of my favorite grown up cookbook authors, and Henderson made sure that even young cooks can be in charge by including two versions of each recipe: one written out in words and one in pictures! While many cookbooks are divided into categories, this one lists the recipes in no particular order, making every page turn a tasty surprise. Many of the recipes require no cooking or baking, so it’s full of great choices for hot summer days like we’ve been having! Find old favorites like French Toast and Pizza or try out a new favorite like Green Spaghetti! And, yes, there really is a recipe for Pretend Soup.

An especially appropriate choice for gardening fanatic readers is The Jumbo Vegetarian Cookbook by Judi Gillies and Jennifer Glossop. As the title hints, this cookbook focuses on meatless delights. The first couple of pages explain a little bit about vegetarianism and its different forms. The introduction also includes some basic how-tos of cooking, as do many of the other cookbooks. There is also a handy page of drawings of some very useful kitchen tools and utensils so that you can picture what recipes are talking about when they tell you that you need a “sieve” or a “colander!” The recipes are divided by type, including categories like Breakfast, Soups, Breads, and Vegetables. You’ve probably heard of lots of the yummy treats, like Spring Rolls and Minestrone soup, but have you ever tried Lasagna Spinach Roll-Ups or Chapatis? Even if you don’t think that you like vegetables very much, give this cookbook a try and you might be surprised!

If you like those crazy residents of Sesame Street, then you’ll love my next cookbook pick! C is for Cooking: Recipes from the Street by Susan McQuillan is filled cover to cover with the silly jokes, kooky (and cookie!) counting, and fun facts you know to expect from Big Bird, Elmo, and the rest of the gang. Not only does the book offer “Sweet Sips,” “Best Breakfasts,” and “Super Soups,” it also has a “Funny Food Faces” section all about playing with your food! You’ll find great recipes for Grover’s Little & Adorable Chicken Nuggets to try along with a side of Elmo’s Little Trees and Sunshine. For dessert, why not take a Quick Dip in the Mud with Oscar the Grouch? Grab this book from your favorite branch’s shelves; you won’t be sorry!

Holy Guacamole! and Other Scrumptious Snacks by Nick Fauchald is perfect for those munchies that hit after school or in between meals. The recipes in this one are divided up by cooking experience, Easy, Intermediate, and Advanced. The Easy recipes don’t require any cooking and many could be made without much help from a grown up at all! (It’s still a good idea to have one in the kitchen at all times, though!) I can’t wait to try some Monkey Milkshakes and Chili Cheese Popcorn on my next family movie night. Grab this book and find a new favorite pick-me-up today!

My last cookbook choice is The United States Cookbook: Fabulous Foods and Fascinating Facts from All 50 States by Joan D’Amico and Karen Eich Drummond. Each state in the Union gets its time in the spotlight with a note about the history, people, and produce that make it special and unique. Arranged by region, the states’ recipes range from the familiar (Massachusetts’ Boston Baked Beans) to the unexpected (what the heck is Kentucky Burgoo?!) Travel our great nation without ever leaving your kitchen by grabbing this interesting and taste-tastic cookbook today!

Looking through all the great kids’ cookbooks available at the Kansas City Public Library has made me HUNGRY. Luckily, I found some great snacks and meals to take care of my grumbling tummy! Next time, I’ll tell you about some cool books I found about how some of our favorite foods came to be. Until then, keep weeding and watering, and see you at the Library!

by Melissa Horak-Hern, Plaza Kid Corner Associate