I've always been skeptical about cookbooks ... more so cookbooks for kids. You know, those with great pictures yet mediocre recipes?!?! Name it, I've been victimized countless times since my childhood days. Recipes were either too hard to follow, ingredients were almost impossible to source or substitute, and the finished product was a complete disaster!
This Christmas, one of the gifts my son received was a COOKING FOR KIDS set which includes the KID'S FIRST COOKBOOK. The author Nancy McDougall claims this is "the best ever step-by-step cookbook for kids, containing delicious recipes ideal for 5-12 year-olds." Though doubtful as ever, my wife and I decided to put the recipe to the test by making my 6 year-old prepare a well-known recipe in our kitchen -- Spaghetti Carbonara.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
1 small onion
1 large clove of garlic
6 oz smoked bacon or pancetta
2 tbsp olive oil
12 oz fresh or dried spaghetti
6 tbsp creme fraiche (we used half-and-half instead)
4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Step 1: Peel and chop the onion and garlic. Cut the bacon or pancetta into pieces
Step 2: Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic and fry, stirring for about 5 minutes, until softened. Add the bacon or pancetta and cook for 10 minute, stirring frequently.
Step 3: Fill 2/3 of a large pan with water and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions.
Step 4: Put the eggs, half and half, Parmesan, and pepper in a bowl. Beat with a whisk or fork.
Step 5: Drain the spaghetti noodles thoroughly in a colander. Pour in the pasta into the pan with the onion, garlic, pancetta or bacon and toss well.
Step 6: Turn off the heat, then immediately add the egg mixture to the pan and toss thoroughly so that it cooks and coats the pasta.
Step 7: Season to taste, then divide among 4 bowls. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and serve immediately.
The verdict -- My son was just happy and pleased by the result of his first venture into cooking, and the guests we served this dish to rated it an A+. With proper adult supervision, all kids can do majority of the kitchen recipes in this book without being disappointed at the end result; thus, we are bound to try out one recipe per week in the months to come. Happy New Year!