One Handed Cooks: How To Raise A Healthy, Happy Eater – From Baby To School Age.
Penguin AU RRP: $39.99
Cookbooks in my house are a bit like jars of exotic herbs and spices: I buy them, use them once, then stash them on a shelf until they’re way past their use by date. Every now and then, though, you come across a properly useful addition to the collection that stays in daily circulation. I’ve successfully made three recipes from One Handed Cooks so far – statistically it’s looking good!
One Handed Cooks began as a baby and toddler-friendly food blog, packed with nutritious recipes that are so easy you can practically make them with one hand, while the other hand wipes a nose, pours a juice or applies a Band-Aid! Allie Gaunt – an experienced writer and cook – joined forces with dietitian Jessica Beaton to create the blog. Now, the ultimate family-friendly food guide comes to you in book form.
The recipes follow the progress of your child’s eating, from the first mashes onto finger foods and beyond. Every recipe is a healthy addition to your family’s balanced diet. There are dinners, snacks, lunchbox treats and party foods on offer, all based around increasing your understanding of children’s nutritional needs and cooking for your family using wholesome ingredients.
So far, so similar to lots of other cookbooks. But here’s what makes this one different!
Practical, easy and fun cooking for kids
Firstly, every recipe comes with allergy-friendly alternatives, including gluten, dairy or egg-free variations. This cuts down on the need to make separate meals for different members of the family. It is also awesome if you happen to have run out of eggs (for example) and still want to bake!
Many recipes also come with sectional variations for age appropriateness. This means you can make one base meal for the whole family, then simply add, subtract or mash certain components for your babies, toddlers, kids or grown-ups. By cooking the same meal (more or less) for everyone, you can encourage littlies to try a variety of foods, whilst adults can model healthy eating.
Alongside the fun, colourful, easy to prepare recipes, you’ll also find helpful suggestions for building a healthy relationship with food and food preparation. ‘Accept The Mess’ says one section heading; reminding us that making a mess is the way children learn about tastes and textures. This is important when they’re first learning to eat and when they’re first learning to cook, as hard as it is for parents to watch porridge hit the floor!
New parents will value information about gagging and choking, spoon feeding techniques and oral motor development. As a parent of school aged kids, I love the family meal suggestions and lunch box additions. I recommend the Bolognese Filo Triangles (excellent use of leftovers) and Cheesy Baked Beans On Toast (not what you’re expecting). Miss 9 whipped up the Jolly Good Lunchbox Biscuits to share with friends on a weekend playdate. They were a hit!
With no fussy ingredients, straightforward recipe instructions, a great index at the back and Sarah Buckle’s lush food photography, this family cookbook is a definite ‘stayer’.
Head to the One Handed Cooks blog for recipe samples and free downloads, like a handy lunchbox planner. You can order the new cookbook from their website too, or one of these online stores…