20 Recipes Kids Should Know

Recipes and text by Esme Washburn

Photographs by Calista Washburn

Prestel Publishing, New York, 2019

We’re foodies in my family, so my kids were always interested in cooking. However, although they would ask for help when stuck, mostly they wanted to pursue their own cooking endeavors rather than learn from their parents. I wish this book had been around when they were young! Unfortunately, when my kids were ready to begin their cooking journey, the author of this book, Calista Washburn, hadn’t been born yet! She wrote this book when she was twelve.

I can’t say enough good about this book. The recipes are for healthy foods cooked from scratch. They range from the very simple grilled cheese and pancakes to the more complicated yeast bread and homemade pasta. The steps in each recipe are straightforward and clear, and the pasta recipe includes step-by-step pictures to go with the directions. Anyone who works their way through this cookbook will have a repertoire of recipes that will stand them in good stead to feed themselves and company as well.

The recipes feature common ingredients with substitutions noted for anything that’s a little more unusual. The bread recipe includes two alternatives, one for using a stand mixer and another for letting the dough rise overnight in the refrigerator, so that schedules and equipment won’t limit cooks in accomplishing their task. The introduction includes general information for the novice cook from measurement substitutions to a glossary of cooking techniques.

The pictures in this book are likely to make you hungry, they’re beautifully styled and put together in a way that gives you a great sense of the goal for each recipe. That’s quite an accomplishment for a teen photographer, Calista Washburn, Esme’s older sister.

All-in-all I would recommend this book as one of your first summer purchases. What a great way to learn to cook!

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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We Were Liars by E. Lockhart

We Were LiarsDelacorte Press, 2014.

Four friends, three of them cousins, one a poor city mouse, meet each summer on a private island. They are called the Liars. They name each summer with their age. Together they explore privilege,  their friendship, forbidden love, and the mythology and reality of being a Sinclair.

Summer 15 something big happened, if only Cady could remember what. I can’t tell you any more without spoiling the book. But I can say, I usually steer away from books about these sorts of privileged kids. They turn me off. This one didn’t.

We Were Liars kept me up late reading. The suspense and clues seemed perfectly balanced. I was engaged in wanting to know what happened. I received enough information to avoid being frustrated but not so much information that I guessed the end far in advance.

I got We Were Liars from the local library because I remembered how much buzz it had generated and how many agents have been using it as an exemplar of what they’re looking for. I’m glad I read it. Read it yourself. I think you will be glad you did.