Why You Must Teach Your Children to Cook and a Review of the World Food Cafe Quick and Easy Cookbook
My eldest has always been a foodie, eating huge amounts and thoroughly enjoying every mouthful. He has been a joy to cook for over the last 17 years and now I am reaping the rewards of all those shared kitchen moments as he begins to branch out beyond Anything on Toast and Things Mum Taught Me to Cook. He is beginning to thumb through my recipe books on the hunt for the tasty, inspiring and unusual and he now regularly serves up a gourmet delight to tickle our taste buds. An unseemly fight therefore broke out between us when The World Food Cafe Quick and Easy cookbook arrived for us to review! He won.
I bought Chris and Carolyn Caldicott’s first World Food Cafe Cookbook when it came out in 1999 so I was eager to get my hands on this one and I’m not disappointed (yes – I’ll get on to the cooking bit in a minute, don’t be so impatient!). I love reading cookbooks in bed – no, it’s not weird, lots of people do it, you’d be surprised – I also love travel writing so when the two come together as beautifully as they do in this book, with fabulous photos thrown in for good measure, I am one very happy blogger!
Chris and Carolyn have been travelling the world together for over twenty years, gathering vegetarian recipes from the people they meet as they go. This is not fancy pants restaurant food, it is everyday food from home kitchens, street stalls and roadside cafés, it is simple, nourishing and delicious. Each recipe comes with a description of the people and country who shared it with the Caldicott’s, from Bangladesh to Vietnam via places as diverse as Bhutan, Lapland, Cuba and many more. It is inspirational.
My eldest isn’t keen on dairy based dishes so the foods of parts of Africa and the East suit him very well; he has been dipping into the chapters which visit the cuisines of Japan, Vietnam and Namibia. Meanwhile, I am leaning towards Cuba this week with its Mojitos, Zesty Mojo Sauce and piping hot tortillas but my eye is also caught by the delicious autumnal prospect of a Quince and Butternut Potje or a Creamy Potato and Mushroom Bake from Namibia! We are totally spoilt for choice and want to cook most of the recipes in this book!
His first meander through its pages brought us an evening of Vietnamese delights. As a precise and measured person he was in his element with the careful preparation which went into the creation of Pho Noodle Soup. He served it with rice paper spring rolls, inspired by a recipe he had found elsewhere, and Nuoc Cham Dipping Sauce.
He spooned rice noodles into a bowl for each of us and we piled our own choice of condiments on top before he ladled over the warm spicy broth he’d brewed up in the kitchen.
The food was delicious but it was the sociable aspect of it which I enjoyed most as we all leaned in and took handfuls of the vegetables, herbs and tofu he had prepared. There was a lot of chatter and laughter as there always is at the best of family meals.
I can’t tell you how much I am enjoying watching my boy spread his culinary wings and I’m pretty confident that when he leaves me next year he will have a good repertoire of nourishing but frugal meals up his sleeve! I suspect we may be fighting over which of us gets to keep this particular book on our shelves and I also suspect that it will be him!
I love this picture of his hands wrapped around his noodle soup, it warms my heart.
He of course, just out of shot, was muttering about being allowed to eat his dinner for goodness sake
World Food Café Quick and Easy Recipes from a Vegetarian Journey is published by Frances Lincoln and priced at £20 but I have a discount code for all my readers! It is valid until the end of September so get a wriggle on, I think it would make a lovely Christmas present for a foodie or traveller – or both!
To order World Food Cafe: Quick & Easy (9780711232969) at the special offer price of £16.00 (inc UK p&p) please call Bookpoint on 01235 400 400 and quote the code 46WORLDFOODCAFE.
Disclosure: We were sent one copy of the World Food Cafe Quick and Easy Cookbook which, frankly, leaves us with a dilemma!