Mellow Mummy: Cooking with Kids - The Ingreedies : Taking life as it comes...

Sunday 30 October 2016

Cooking with Kids - The Ingreedies

Lara and Holly don't need an awful lot of encouragement to try new foods, or to get involved in cooking new and exciting meals in the kitchen with me but anything which encourages a love of food for children, or which helps educate about the origins of the food we eat, is a good thing in my eyes.  Around the World with the Ingreedies is a new book which makes learning about world food fun; its a mixture of food facts and recipes from all around the world.

The Ingreedies are a set of illustrated characters, each of whom has a particular interest in a different type of food - Lexi the veggie whizz, Larry the meat dude, Melvin the seafood freak and lots more, not forgetting Chef, the flavour genius. Packed in amongst the recipes you'll find the characters introducing the facts about different foods of the world as well as special facts about different ingredients in those parts of the world. For instance, you'll find a whole page about US agriculture including sweetcorn, pumpkins, apples and beef cattle.

Around the World with the Ingreedies is written by Zoe Bather and Joe Sharpe and illustrated by Chris Dickinson.  The book features some really lovely recipes that all of us wanted to get cooking - Lara chose to start with a north/south Indian curry with flatbreads as well as a Persian jewelled rice dish.  Throughout the book you can find a french classic, mexican street food and and a thai vegetable curry as well as recipes from Australia, china and Morocco. I'd expected the recipes to take second fiddle to the Ingreedies characters but we were all pleasantly surprised.

Lara has totally immersed herself in this book.  I asked her whether she would be as interested in the facts and figures if it wasn't illustrated, or if it didn't have the named characters...she said no, she probably wouldn't have bothered to read much of the book.  I've mixed feelings about this, I'm glad the authors and illustrators have found a way to engage with children but it makes me just a little bit sad that the exciting things about ingredients, cuisines, geography, and culture have to be dressed up with funny characters in order to make them "interesting".  However, I'm not seven, so I'm not the best person to judge!

The Ingreedies have captured Lara's imagination and its good to see her devouring the facts in this book like an encyclopedia, or an atlas. Lara has already lined up this Mexican beef dish (mainly because it includes chocolate) as her next creation from the book and I'll back her all the way.

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