Review By JESSICA ALMY
Although my kiddo and I aren’t the target demographic for this children’s cookbook, described by author Jules Bass as “LOVE children: L=lacto O=ova V=veggie E=eaters” (in other words, vegetarians who eat dairy and eggs), we have enjoyed leafing through its colorful pages and trying a couple recipes. The book’s vibrant colors, funny illustrations, and managable size make it an appealing cookbook to a kindergartener.
Last week, we made steaming bowls of Herb’s Chili Con “No” Carne one night, and Snap-Dragon’s Stone Soup another. Both recipes called for small amounts of cheese, but as we’re vegan, we used Daiya instead. (Other families that forgo dairy could use Parma or skip the cheese altogether – it’s certainly not integral in either recipe.) Our whole family really enjoyed the chili, which, as the carnivorous dinosaur Meathook says in the illustration, has a nice meaty texture. The stone soup was certainly a fun novelty — after all, the recipe calls for using a real stone — but was pretty bland without the lovely fresh basil puree (pesto), so it didn’t keep well for leftovers.
For a children’s cookbook, I found that the recipes weren’t as straightforward as I’d hoped for. I love the illustrated step-by-step instructions that some similar cookbooks employ, particularly for beginning readers, and I think that would be a great approach for this book, if a new edition is ever published. As an adult, I also was confused by some of the measurements, particularly when I went to the store to buy ingredients and realized that I wasn’t sure what size can of tomatoes to buy.
The book is out of print, but widely available for used purchase. Recommended for vegetarian children ages 6 to 10, with adult help.