I was offered a free copy of this book for review. I jumped at the chance since 1) It looked good. 2) I love to collect good cookbooks. & 3) The timing was perfect, as Baby B was just turning a year old (she is now 14 months). Here’s what I think…
Overall, it’s a nice cookbook for kids, and I’m happy to have it on my shelf. In fact, I just might share it with my younger sister, who is expecting her first baby in just a few months.
First, the positives:
- The pictures are gorgeous. I always love a cookbook with wonderful photos because it helps to motivate me to cook new things. Since I was making some of the recipes in the book with my older kids (age 5 and 7), the pictures helped to motivate them, also. The pictures weren’t overly stylized. Just bright, colorful pictures of the actual recipes and some cute kids eating them. I like to just flip through the book at look during meal planning times. Makes me happy.
- Since I try my best to eat seasonally and locally, this book could help a person who adheres to that philosophy. In the baby food puree section, the main vegetables are labeled by when they are seasonally available. Even though I occasionally buy things from afar, it’s nice to have that reminder.
- This book covers a wide range of ages. It goes through all the homemade purees you make when your baby is first starting solid, to delicious meals that older toddlers and older would like. So it’ll last you from birth to maybe age 5 and beyond. Because my baby was already past the puree phase, I skipped to the chunkier foods. My oldest (age 7) also enjoyed making (and eating!) recipes with me.
- The recipes taste good, and they are healthy. We made: the “Superstar Sweet Potato Cakes” (every single member of our family loved them!), the butternut squash and orzo recipe (great for Baby B, but we all liked it.), the macaroni and cheese recipe (I like the tiny hidden pieces of tofu that none of the kids detected), and the “Rockin’ Fruity Veggie Pops” (this was the first green vegetable that DS7 had eaten in weeks!). I’m definitely going to try more of the recipes when I get the chance.
- This book has updated and factually correct information about breastfeeding and first solids. It is also open to alternative dietary choices, such as vegetarianism. (I hate it when cookbooks are critical of vegetarians.) Although a few recipes in this cookbook contain meat, most are vegetarian. Many of the recipes for older kids contain cheese, but that could be substituted for vegans. I also liked that the author discusses vegetarian diets in one section, and discusses non-meat sources for such things as calcium, for instance. This is very helpful for our family (DH is an omnivore, I’m lacto-ovo-pesca vegetarian, and the kids are mostly lacto-ovo-vegetarian).
A few critiques:
- This book is a little heavy-handed with the vitamin recommendations in some sections. When I had my first baby, I was a little obsessed about vitamins and making every meal a healthy one. I’ve relaxed a lot since those days. When I read some sections of this cookbook, I felt a tiny bit pressured to make constantly healthy meals. I didn’t like that aspect of the book that much, but it is easily ignored. Since we’ve been moving in the direction of unschooling food in our house, I’ve made a real effort to stop thinking about the nutrition going on at each and every meal. You can start to really obsess about this stuff.
- I’m not sure how I feel about the use of agave nectar in most of the sweeter recipes. Frankly, I am not really against the use of sugar. I would have liked the option to use sugar in recipes and have advice on what amount it to use to replace the agave nectar. I’m not sure I’m going to motivate myself to find a health food store and buy the agave, and I have to research it a little more anyway. There aren’t many health food stores where I am currently living, and it takes me time to work it into my schedule to drive to one. I’m also concerned about the expense of buying agave nectar, so I’ll have to look into that.
Click this link to buy: Organically Raised: Conscious Cooking for Babies and Toddlers