Cookbook for a young child
August 20, 2021 9:34 PM   Subscribe

My nephew is nearly 4 years old and I'd like to give him a cookbook that can get him started in the kitchen with his parents. He likes to try to cook and has a wide ranging palate (he was once served Domino's pizza and asked for pickled beets to eat with it). I think it would be fun if he got to drive the process a little more with a book that he can select food from. Is he old enough for this, and do you have a book recommendation?
posted by Emmy Rae to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, cookbooks are great from both a reading and a cooking standpoint! If adults are willing to help, cooking is a fine project. I had the Klutz cookbook that came with measuring spoons at that age but it looks like it's out of print.

America's Test Kitchen has a good one-- "The Complete Cookbook for young Chefs." The Dover Publications Coloring Cookbook is still in print and that's super fun too. Those I can personally recommend. I apologize that I can't link right now but I searched "cookbook for four year old" and got a wealth of hits.
posted by blnkfrnk at 10:44 PM on August 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

My three year old really likes the Cook in a book series which is a little interactive with pull tabs and stuff and goes through entire recipes. My spouse sometimes cooks the recipes with her doing the stirring and such, or picking out toppings (in the pizza book).
Each book is only one recipe though
posted by AlexiaSky at 10:47 PM on August 20, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: definitely old enough. my daughter is 18 months and is already enjoying engaging with cooking. a four year old will be able to do so many more tasks

I am following to hear other’s ideas but if you can get a copy of Bruno Bakes it is a very sweet story illustrating the process of deciding to start baking a cake, reading a recipe, checking for ingredients and tools, mixing, WASHING UP, turning the cake out and laying the table.

Pretend Soup by Mollie Katzen (Enchanted Brocolli Forest) I have on order. It has tips for grownups so they can make the process child friendly and illustrations of the cooking process for pre-readers to engage with.

Other things I’d think about sending along, a 4 year old’s apron, a kid friendly knife and small tongs.
posted by pipstar at 11:10 PM on August 20, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: It sounds like what you want isn’t so much a cookbook for little kids as a cookbook full of lots and lots of pictures for him to peruse. This Reddit thread has some good suggestions, I think, if his parents are curious and skilled cooks. If he is interested in gardening at all, he might like Vegetable Literacy, which I have and love. While noodling around I came across Rachel Ray’s Look + Cook which appears to contain an enormous number of photos and careful instructions for novice or nervous cooks and seems promising.

4 is definitely old enough to help in the kitchen. He probably doesn’t have the dexterity for knives but he can wash produce, mix things, squish and kneed stuff, use chopping and dicing tools, strip herbs, peel shrimp, use measuring cups with basic counting, sprinkle spices, wash rice, strain things, roll meatballs, arrange things on a sheet pan, cut cookies, fill pies, and more. It’s a great time to really instill basics like kitchen safety, washing hands, uses for different appliances and tools, lots of counting and number things, and a great angle to introduce all the different cultures and traditions of the world.
posted by Mizu at 11:11 PM on August 20, 2021 [5 favorites]

Best answer: My First Cookbook is for kids just slightly older than your nephew. He can absolutely prepare food at that age, within reasonable limits. Old enough to start loving cooking with the family.
posted by jumanjinight at 11:58 PM on August 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

I'm just gonna favorite for pickled beets. He's good.
posted by zengargoyle at 3:25 AM on August 21, 2021 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Not a cookbook but my three year old loves this book about how food gets from farm to table, and we’ve made the apple crisp recipe in the back (which comes with a nicely illustrated recipe).

Someone gifted this Toddler Cookbook to me. We’ve only made one thing, but it was simple.

Honestly, my kid and I just watch short recipe videos and then we cook it together. Ditto on the kid’s apron which mine loves a lot.
posted by inevitability at 4:19 AM on August 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Kid Chef Junior (Shah) is a good one. The foods are kid-friendly but they're also stuff adults would be willing to eat, and the instructions are very clear and include a list of the tools needed for each recipe (e.g., grater). Most importantly, there are good color photographs of the finished dishes. (Cookbooks without good photographs are worthless for young kids, but publishers keep producing them for some reason.)
posted by xylothek at 5:12 AM on August 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Ideas in addition to books:
A kitchen stool. I would definitely ask parents before purchasing this, but if they have space for it, a kitchen helper stool is great for helping kids assist with cooking. Something like this.
Smaller ideas would be a salad spinner, a fun colander and a vegetable peeler with a big handle. My kids liked washing produce and graduated to peeling veggies at around 5. And the best gift would be you cooking or baking with them.
posted by areaperson at 1:00 PM on August 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

Best answer: My kid loves this Cooking Class book (and the same series Baking Class). It has exciting photos, stickers in the back, and kid-appealing
posted by hungrytiger at 6:50 PM on August 21, 2021 [1 favorite]

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