A GRANDFATHER’S LESSONS

Does your child or grandchild express an interest in cooking? Don’t know where to start? Well, I have the book for you and your budding chef. A Grandfather’s Lessons: In the Kitchen with Shorey by Jacques Pépin. Over the years of watching Pepin’s cooking shows with his daughter Claudine, he has shown his love of cooking and teaching the next generation about food. A Grandfather’s Lessons is a chance to teach your favorite child to cook and form that special bond that occurs when cooking together.

The recipes are kid-friendly and easy to prepare. Pépin’s granddaughter Shorey has been exposed to a lot of different foods (her dad is a chef also), and although some of the vegetable dishes in the book might not appeal to all young palates, kids are more likely to try something they cook themselves. So, give artichokes with Mustard Sauce or Cubanelle Peppers with Anchovies and Tomato a try.

For this review, I cooked several of the dishes, and here are some of my favorites.   I served Hummus with Feta and Sunflower Seeds for guests several times, and it was always a big hit. It is very creamy with a little bite from a chili sauce, tang from the feta, and crunch from the sunflower seeds, and dusted with smoked paprika gives it a slightly smoky flavor. For the kid version, Shorey serves it with raw celery, scallions, and carrots.

Shorey’s breakfast favorite (mine, too) is Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Blueberries. It’s a great way to increase fruit consumption since you can use almost any fruit with this recipe. A variety of berry or seasonal fruit like peaches or apples would be delicious.

The Roast Loin Back Ribs and Chicken Suprémes are wonderful recipes for dinner. The Pork Loin Back Ribs recipe is very easy for a child to cook. By sprinkling spices on the ribs and cooking them at a low oven temperature for three hours, when done the ribs are fall-off-the bone tender and delicious.  Chicken Suprémes in Persillade has a few more steps in the recipe but is not difficult for a child.  Sautéed chicken breast with capers introduces a tangy new flavor for children.

Shorey’s favorite things to make are desserts, and there is a wide range of recipes that include berries and of course chocolate. Blueberries in Honey Sauce is very simple and does not require any cooking, plus, any leftovers can be used the next morning for breakfast. Shorey’s Raspberry Cake has three ingredients, all store-bought, including the all-butter pound cake. The cake is sliced lengthwise into four slices with the edges cut off (children may need parents to help with the cutting), raspberry jam is spread between the layers and around the top and sides, then covered with ground cake trimmings from the already cut-off edges. It is simple and delicious. Several chocolate recipes usually include fruit and nuts. The Chocolate “Rocks” with Hazelnuts, Croutons, and Cornflakes takes a little more work but would be fun to make. It’s a versatile recipe that allows your young cook to change the type of nuts or cereal and dried fruit.

Since Shorey’s job at home is to set the table, there is a chapter on how to set the table including how to fold napkins. Also included is a brief section on how to serve food and beverages and table manners.   The Decorating for Fun chapter shows how to make grape or olive rabbits, a lemon pig, a tomato rose and other garnishes.   Some are very easy, and others will take some practice. They all require the use of a paring knife which may not be appropriate for younger children.

A Grandfather’s Lessons is illustrated with drawings and artwork from both Shorey and Jacques, as well as photographs of them cooking together. The glossy pictures of the finished dishes will make your mouth water and inspire your young chef. A Grandfather’s Lessons: In the Kitchen with Shorey is a lovely book to add to any cookbook collection and a good way to start your budding chefs’ cookbook library while creating lasting memories of cooking with your children or grandchildren. Happy Cooking!   – Marj Cordova

Also available from Jacques Pépin: More Fast Food My Way; Jacques Pépin’s Complete Techniques; Heart & Soul in the Kitchen; The Apprentice; Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home; Jacques Pépin Celebrates; Chez Jacques; Simple and Healthy Cooking; Jacques Pépin’s Kitchen, Cooking with Claudine; Jacques Pépin Poulets and Legumes; The Art of Cooking; The Origins of AIDS; The Short-Cut Cook; Good Life Cooking; Happy Cooking; Today’s Gourmet; Menus; Essential Pepin Desserts.

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