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Book Review: In the French Kitchen with Kids

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My sister has boldly opted not to enroll her kids in any extracurricular programs this fall, at least from Monday to Friday. The youngest of her three girls, who won’t be four until December, is starting kindergarten and instead of schlepping them to and from swimming, cheerleading, and gymnastics, they are going to play with friends on the playground, do arts and crafts, and possibly even spend some time honing their cooking skills thanks in part to a new cookbook for kids that was released recently.

In the French Kitchen with Kids: Easy, Everyday Dishes for the Whole Family to Make and Enjoy, written by Toronto-based French teacher Mardi Michels, is a must-own book for parents, kids, and francophiles of all ages. Loaded with fuss-free recipes that are sure to entice your kids into the kitchen, Mardi proves that French food doesn’t need to be complicated.

I’ve tested a few dishes from the book – both with and without my three-year-old sous chef on hand – and I can confirm the results were utterly scrumptious. From mixed berry galettes and steak frites to fish cakes and chocolate croissants, there is a recipe for every taste bud and culinary skill level.

I’m particularly entranced by the pastry section at the back of the book. Mardi breaks down the method into clearly written doable steps so even if you aren’t a skilled cook or baker, you’ll feel confident tackling these recipes with your small children.

Studded with beautiful photographs (cute kid alert!) and tiny tidbits about the French culture and language and recipe tips and tricks, there is just so much to love about this book it’s hard to overstate how great it is.

So, here’s my suggestion: take a page out of my sister’s parenting playbook this fall and be sure to create plenty of downtime for the kids so they can pursue creative activities like cooking. Not only will they develop an essential life skill in the process, but they’ll also help you get dinner on the table every once in a while. Surely, that should be enough to convince you.

 

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