I have way too many cookbooks. I admit, I have a sort of weakness for them when I see them in the stores. I’m actually starting to run out of room on my cookbook shelf in my kitchen, but of course when I was offered to review a cookbook called Family Eats: A Cultivating Foodies Cookbook, I had to jump on it. And keep reading, because I have the opportunity to give a copy away to one of you!
*Discloser: I was given a Family Eats cookbook mentioned in this post for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
I am a relative newcomer to the blog Cultivating Foodies by Stephanie and James Parker, and I started reading when they had just announced their first ever cookbook. Since I actually make the recipes I pin on Pinterest, I’ve been following food blogs for quite some time. Again, a weakness. I would say it’s because I have an appreciation for food photography, but really, it’s because I like to eat.
Opening up Family Eats, the first thing I noticed was the photography. There was an accompanied photo for every recipe, but there were also photos of authors’ James and Stephanie with their two children, all of them cooking together. And I thought; well if their little girl, younger than Olivia, can participate, so can Olivia.
Cultivating Foodies is more than a food blog and Family Eats is more than a cookbook. They are both about involving the entire family in cooking and meal preparation. Family Eats, A Cultivating Foodies Cookbook is not to be confused with a kid’s cookbook. It’s not a book that teaches your children to cook. While Olivia has enjoyed everything we’ve made from it, it’s not a “kid-friendly” cookbook in the sense of the term, filled with ants on a log and sloppy joe recipes.
Rather, it’s an inspiration to gather everyone, even the ones who aren’t exactly “ready” to be helping in the kitchen—ahem Olivia— and experience the Family Meal together.
Some of the pages held tips and quotes about the family meal, but it was this one that not only caught my attention, but changed my whole attitude about letting a 16 month old cook with us:
“The best advice I ever received about cooking with children was from my mother. She told me: ‘You have to let them help before they are helpful. This is the only way they will learn. Yes it makes a mess. Yes they do not always do a great job. But it teaches them responsibility, and you patience.'” -Stephanie
So together, we all cooked.
We made their homemade Pizza, putting together their Pizza Dough from scratch, along with pizza sauce and used a ton of fun toppings that Olivia enjoyed putting together with us.
Chris actually raved this was better than our go-to recipe for pizza dough we’ve been using.
The crust was light and flaky, and actually made us two pizzas. The homemade sauce was not only easy, but had incredible flavor.
Food photographer I am not, but seriously, Olivia had fun helping us. It’s actually what prompted us to get a Learning Tower knockoff ($45 instead of $200, thank you very much), so she could start participating with us more during meal prep. Alas, we did not have it for this meal, so she couldn’t get the full experience, but she did have a great time being plopped on the counter periodically to help.
The pizza turned out amazing and Olivia loved it (don’t let her face fool you).
She did only get to try one bite of the Chocolate Sheet Cake we made (because we’re meanie parents), but loved decorating it.
It was actually the first cake I ever made from scratch and I didn’t have the sheet cake pan they called for, but a 9×13 for the same amount of time worked like a charm. You can’t really go wrong with chocolate cake and chocolate icing.
Almost all the recipes in this book are ones I would make. In fact, we have a couple more meals planned this week from Family Eats and I’m so excited. Olivia doesn’t realize it, but she’s excited too.
When I received my copy of the book, I thought I was just going to review some of the recipes. But it’s prompted me to rethink cooking with a toddler. To not wait until she’s three to begin rolling out dough for cookies with her, but to dive in now and make Cuban sandwiches and Calzones and forgive her messiness and lack of proper assistance. You guys, this whole experiencing has me all sorts of Emotional. Olivia loves participating in meal prep almost—almost—as much as she does eating.
The image below shows all the places you can check out the Cultivating Foodies blog and Family Eats cookbook.
And now it’s time for me to give away a Family Eats cookbook to one of YOU! If you want a chance to win a cookbook, enter the Rafflecopter link below! Winner will be announced next Wednesday morning! Sorry, open to US residents only this time!