Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Questions and Answers with Barbara Brandt, author of Your Kids: Cooking!

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Recently I reviewed a wonderful new cookbook & cooking program for young people. The author, Barbara Brandt, has very kindly taken the time to answer some questions about the book and her experience writing it.

1. How long did it take to narrow down your choices of which recipes to include? 

A long time! More than half the time I spent on creating the program went in to choosing the recipes. It was a bit of puzzle because I had to find recipes that would appeal to not just kids but to the entire family, and they also had to be popular recipes that most families have heard of, like spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parmesan, eggs benedict, macaroni and cheese, etc. But what made it really difficult was I needed to find ten popular recipes that would also teach kids all basic cooking skills, methods, and techniques and then could be arranged so that they would learn new skills in each recipe and also review previously learned skills. That was a real challenge and it took several months to figure it all out.

2. Did you have the same young cooks working with you each time you tested a recipe, or did you have a large group of volunteers who wanted to get into the kitchen with you?

I had several different groups of kids helping me because I wanted to test the recipes with kids of all ages to make sure they could all follow the steps easily on their own. We had a lot of fun because we weren’t too worried about things turning out perfectly. The kids were very relaxed and focused on all the new skills they were learning, rather than on the finished product, but the recipes are pretty foolproof so we ended up with a lot of yummy food at the end of the day!

3. What are your favorite types of foods to cook? 

My favorite way to cook is to see what I have in the refrigerator and in the pantry and then create something based on what’s there. I don’t like cooking from recipes. I prefer to create my own recipes, and my favorite kind of recipes to create are pasta dishes.

4. Have you had a lot of positive feedback on the format and the way you chose to present the program as a multimedia set? 

Yes, lots of positive feedback, both on the use of the video to teach kids how to complete the steps, and on the written directions in the book. People love that there are pictures of all the ingredients and utensils and steps and they also like how the recipe is broken into three stages; Get Ready!, Get Set!, and Get Cooking! Many parents have told me they wish adult cookbooks would be formatted that way, and I agree with them! I find the typical recipe time consuming to read and difficult to follow while you’re cooking.

5. What is your all-time favorite food to eat? 

Well, I have a long list of “favorites,” but I guess if I had to pick just one I would have to say the birthday meal I always requested as a kid (and still do) which is baked chicken wings, white rice, and steamed peas. I can’t really say why I like that combination so much, but I ALWAYS have chicken wings in the freezer as they are my “go to” meal when I just can’t figure out what else to make. They always sound good to me!

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Your Kids: Cooking! was just published June 30, 2015 and is available now at http://www.yourkidscooking.net.

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