Cookbook Review: Around the World with Little Kitchen by Sabrina Parrini

Rating: ★★★★☆

Since the advent of Junior Masterchef, cookbooks for children have never been hotter – and indeed, they’ve been popping off the hotplate and onto the bookstore serving shelves like those notoriously quick hot cakes, of late.

This latest tome by Sabrina Parrini, cookbook author and Kitchen Wiz presenter, follows on from her first book – Little Kitchen – and takes readers on a culinary journey around the world.

Promising international recipes kids ‘can really make’, Sabrina was inspired by her belief that being a great cook calls for experimentation with new flavours, and different ways of preparing food.

Beginning with notes on safety, equipment, ingredients and handy kitchen hints, kids are first treated to Lunch. Figuratively, of course. Dishes include frijole nachos (Mexico), udon noodle salad (Japan) and mushroom quiche (France), whilst the Dinner chapter covers such delights as Pad Thai (Thailand), Prawn and Tomato Paella (Spain) and Chicken Cacciatore (Italy).

A serving of delicious Sides (Australia’s contribution is herb and cheese damper) is followed by Biscuits and Cakes – covering a diverse range from devil’s food cake (USA), lamingtons (oi oi oi!) to chai tea cupcakes (India).

In Desserts, treats include bread and butter pudding (UK), apple enchiladas (Mexico) and of course – our home-grown, ubiquitous mini pavs.

What I like about this book is the relative sophistication in the recipes, clearly indicating it’s a book for slightly older kids who will actually cook something, rather than two-year-olds whose culinary interest rarely extends beyond cleaning off a batter-smeared wooden spoon.

The recipe for French onion soup, for example, is made kid-friendly by caramelising the onion to a tasty sweetness, as opposed to dousing the broth in cheek-puckering salt, as generally catered for the more mature palate. Cheesy croutons add even more kid-friendly flavour.

A recipe key gives the country of origin, the creation rating (easy, medium, tricky), and number of servings, while additional snippets of text teach kids a little more about the featured country – or provide neat and tidy recipe tips.

Using kid-friendly language that doesn’t dumb things down, this is a keeper of a book for both serious junior chefs and those who just love to potter in the kitchen – all without the overwhelming culinary hoo-ha. Oh – and travelling the world from tasty plate to tasty plate is yet another tempter in this lip-smacking book.

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