Friday, June 01, 2012

Guy Friday-- Guys Cooking

I always say that the one thing that the Feminist Movement could have done to improve was to train the men before going back to work. Hindsight is 20/20, of course, but I do try to encourage the boys at my school to read cook books. They seem to enjoy them, and seem to be more apt to cook dinners and meals than the girls, who have been gravitating toward cupcakes recently, and baking in general.

Karmel, Annabel. You Can Cook.
Dorling Kindersley, July 2010
Jennifer at the Jean Little Library, enthused about another title by this author, Cook It Together, but my public library didn't have that. I was rather impressed with this title. Like almost all cookbooks for children, it starts with explanations of basics-- kitchen tools, safety measures, even an introduction to various kinds of fruits and vegetables. The recipes are basic but helpful; how to cook eggs of various kinds, and how to make toast in the broiler. Okay, that was my one complaint about the book. When I learned how to do this in home ec in 1977, we thought the teacher was crazy. Who does not own a toaster? The recipes continue with sandwiches, wraps, and then some very easy and good dinners like corn chowder, stuffed baked potatoes, and veggie fajitas. The book ends, of course, with some baked goods, including cupcakes. Even though this is a British title, there's nothing too strange, with the possible exception of fish en croute, which I don't see many US children making.

My personal favorite for children's cook books are the various incarnations of the Betty Crocker Kids Cook, but the most recent edition is spiral bound. For the same $17, I'd go with the longer lasting You Can Cook. A lot more recipes than the specialty nonfiction press cook books.

Grant, Vicki. Hold the Pickles.
Dan Hogg is glad to be making $10 an hour for his uncle, working at a food fair, even though it involves him dressing as Frank Lee Better, a more nutritious hot dog, and handing out samples of the wares, which may be healthier but do not taste very good. He runs into all sorts of problems-- his costume malfunctions (mascot costumes are hard to balance sometimes!), he manages to rip it, and he is beset by bullies. Add to this meeting two girls who addle his brain a little. Before long, he's cowering in the bathroom without his costume, and someone is terrorizing the food fair and pick pocketing the patrons. Can Dan emerge from the bathroom, clothed, in time to stop this and still keep his job as his uncle's mascot?
Strengths: This is a quick pick for reluctant readers. Fairly funny, fast paced, and with an attractive cover, I think that there would be boys in my school who would pick it up.
Weaknesses: I got this out from my public library because I read the world's worst synopsis on it, which I can't find now, of course. It's hard to describe this and make it sound good!


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