I've only recently discovered Alice Zaslavsky's children's food book Alice’s Food A to Z. It was the first cookbook to be given a Notable Book award by the Children’s Book Council of Australia. That says something!
Alice is a former School Teacher, MasterChef contestant (2012), culinary correspondent on ABC News Breakfast, author of In Praise of Veg and soon to be food columnist in The Weekend Australian Magazine (replacing David Herbert).
"This book is about encouraging kids to dip into the world of food and splash around to see what they can find. It aims to pique their curiosity enough to push them past their comfort zone and try something new - or, at the very least, to learn something new, which is its own reward, after all." - Alice Zaslavsky, author Alice's Food A to Z.
I love the book but it is hard to classify. It's part cookbook and part food dictionary. The layout of the book is interesting, it takes the reader through foods A to Z, starting with Apple, Asparagus, Avocado. The tone is fun and conversational, the illustrations are quirky and the photographs are beautifully clear and colourful. Each food item has a photograph, description and lots of tips and food hints. Most of the foods have a recipe or a serving suggestion.
Alice's Food A to Z has over thirty recipes. Some of the recipes are super simple like the Easy Banana Smoothie or Peanut butter and honey on toast, and other recipes are more sophisticated like Crème Anglaise or Babushka's borsch. All of the recipes are easy, fresh and interesting.
The publisher recommends Alice's Food A to Z for children ages 8 - 12 years old. But a five or six-year-old foodie would enjoy it too. The recipes are also suitable for adults. Some of the recipes require adult help including recipes that use a food processor, hot oven and double boiler.
It covers lots of typical foods like cheese and pasta, staples like garlic, potatoes and lesser-known foods like Jerusalem artichoke and Quince.
I asked Otis, my ten-year-old to read it and let me know his thoughts. The first recipe he wanted to make was the Nutty Road (pictured very top image and below) page 96.
Otis used milk chocolate in place of dark chocolate and didn't include liquorice. The Nutty road was delicious and perhaps the best Rocky Road type treat we've tasted. It has lots of nuts and dried fruit in it.
We also made the Crazy good carrot cake, page 30. I love the warm carrot, orange, walnut and cinnamon flavour combination and the cake was in fact crazy good.
Alice's Food A to Z is a fantastic resource, it's one of the few children's cookbooks from Australia in our collection. I recommend it for parents, grandparents, caregivers and schools. In Australia, it is available at all good book stores, Amazon, also at Target. Look for it at your local library - I borrowed it first and then decided to purchase it.
P.S Alice's Food A to Z come with a green cover (older version) and a black cover (new release). They are the same, except the newer version has a two-page letter for grown-ups from Alice in the back.
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