Tuesday, December 1, 2009
My House Chef: Cooking with Lory and Mazel
By: Tatiana Vidal S., MA
My House Chef is a delightful family cookbook written for children ages 6 to 12 to promote the value of nutritional meals and encourage participation in the planning and preparation of these meals.
Fifty-seven recipes are displayed storybook fashion with the aid of two kitchen mice created by Ms. Vidal. These kitchen mice, Lory and Mazel, playfully and engagingly hold a child’s attention while demonstrating the “fun” in the cooking process. The book’s content is brightly crafted in colors that capture a young ones’ attention.
There are ten categories of recipes: fruits, gelatins, pastas, picnic, sandwiches, creams, scoops, chocolates, cookies and muffins. Each section is filled not only with wonderful photographed recipes, but also with tips on nutrition, food arrangement and preparation techniques.
At the beginning of the book, there is an extensive section that discusses the food pyramid, food-preparation measurements, useful kitchen tools and a color-coded breakdown of essential vitamins needed for a healthy body.
Like most of us foodies, Tatiana began her cooking adventures at an early age in her grandmother’s kitchen. As she grew up and continued her education, she displayed a love and passion for the development of creative, intellectual and social skills of children. Incorporating her cooking skills, she helps educate children in the basics of proper nutrition. Veggies are not all mean, green and nasty! If a child can make a plate of green beans covered with a happy face of melted cheese and eat it, Tatiana has reached her goal.
A lot of readers of my blog know that I am an advocate of helping a child to learn to grow up being self-sufficient. Learning all the basic skills in life is the least of what we can do to ensure our children will grow up strong and confident and be able to take care of themselves when the dreaded day comes that they leave the nest. Cooking is the one skill that I consider the most important. When teaching a child to cook, you not ONLY teach them about food, you teach them math (measurements), problem-solving, socialization and create self-confidence.
Tatiana touches upon all these aspects in her family cookbook, My House Chef. She is an active member of the SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), graduated from Universidad de Monterrey where she studied Educational Science and the University of New York where she completed her master’s degree in Technology in Education at Steinhardt School of Education.
I highly encourage you to purchase/read this book. There’s a “Click to Look Inside” feature at Amazon where you can assess the cookbook yourself. It is also available at Barnes and Noble.
I decided to make this one quick and easy recipe fitting for the upcoming holidays. You’ll make memories with your children and watch them have a whole lot of fun.
Enjoy your week everyone.
1 head of lettuce
4 packages of cocktail sausages
10 cherry tomatoes
Styrofoam cone (for the Christmas Tree)
*Use your hands to trim the lettuce leaves into small square pieces.
*Wrap the cone with the lettuce pieces using toothpicks to hold in place. Place toothpicks at an angle so the lettuce pieces don’t break.
*Once the cone is completely covered with lettuce, insert toothpicks halfway in ( at an angle) and insert the exposed end of the toothpick into a cocktail sausage.
*Randomly leave a space among the sausages to insert the cherry tomatoes.
*Place 5 toothpicks at the top of the cone and insert cherry tomatoes to look like a bow for your tree.
HeHe! The tree I made looks like the poor little tree from A Charlie Brown Christmas! All I can say is that these recipes are indeed crafted for nimble little fingers, not 60 year old arthritic ones. But hey, it's just fine for Bob and me to nibble on. Just watch the kids when using the toothpicks. Other than that, I'm sure they will absolutely love creating this recipe.