Thursday, January 7, 2016

Anyone Can Cook - A Cooking Class in a Book

Several mid-year moves in high school, coupled with a few rigid and unimaginative school administrators, led to my taking a higher than normal number of home economics classes through my teen years - standard home-ec, creative cooking, sewing, interior design, and such.

And while they wouldn't have all been my classes of choice, they were informative and, as it turns out, practical for my current lifestyle.  All the same, for the first few years of my married life, when it came to applying classroom knowledge to daily lunches and dinners, I found the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, I received from some knowing aunt as a wedding gift, invaluable.   It seemed very natural then, when my teens asked to add a home-ec element into their schedules, to turn back to Better Homes and Gardens.

I was very happy to find to find just what I was looking for too, in Better Homes and Gardens: Anyone Can Cook...

...not to be mistaken for the fictional cookbook from Disney's Ratatouille.

The Better Homes and Garden title is more than just a cookbook.  It's more like a cooking class in a book. There are plenty of helpful hints, and "ask Mom" type instructions at the bottom of each page, with advice on everything from "how do I measure butter?" to "how do I cut a pineapple".  The accompanying video has additional classroom type lessons on things such as the difference between liquid and dry measures, and which knife to use when.  And, as a bonus, the cookbook comes with a free, one-year subscription to the Better Homes and Garden magazine.

The recipes are rated by difficulty, and progress nicely from easy to difficult.  My oldest girls (who have decided to prepare Monday dinners for the family) had no trouble finding a recipe they wanted to try out - "mashed potato chowder" - the results of which, you can see at the top of the page.

Other than all the teaching portions of the book, the recipes are the what you'd expect from a basic cookbook.  There's a nice variety, but nothing too exotic - no ratatouille, for instance.  For that, you'd need the Disney approved cookbook for the movie (strangely enough, not titled Anyone Can Cook) which we haven't tried, but which I did notice has gotten very good reviews on Amazon.

Anyway, my teens were just as happy to choose a recipe from a cookbook without rats on the cover, though I think my younger girls might get a kick out of movie-go-along.  However, the Better Homes and Gardens' cookbook is straightforward enough for the younger children too (mine are 9 and 10), and in fact I will probably use it with them, as well.

I would have had all the children cooking together to save teaching time, but you know the old saying about too many cooks...

...which strangely enough is the title of one of the Ratatouille picture books.

I, however, have my eyes on another Better Homes and Garden title, that I think has the potential to become a family favorite.


Dawn said...

What great cookbooks. I may need to invest in those. I am getting ready to have my two take over one meal a week.
Blessings, Dawn

Ticia said...

Birthday present found for Batman, check.

He loves to cook and was upset his sister got a cookbook for Christmas.

Mama Gypsy said...

I love cooking with my kids, and Better Homes and Gardens is a great resource.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Ooh, I am definitely getting this one as a 10th birthday present!

MaryAnne said...

Do you have The Joy of Cooking? That is my favorite cookbook - they explain a lot about what makes recipes turn out the way they do.

claireshomeeducation said...

Your two girls look like twins :)
We use Delia Smith's How to Cook which assume no prior knowledge and was written particularly with todays untaught young adults in mind.

Kendra said...

There must be something in the air, my, almost 15 year old {male} asked for cooking classes too. I went with a Taste Of Home book, but I might have to invest in the 2 here..