Kitchen Playdates by Lauren Bank Deen

kitchen playdates The other day at the library, I just had to pick up this colorful book, Kitchen Playdates by Lauren Bank Deen. The cover shows happy kids busy in the kitchen cooking and the book promised ideas and recipes that could be made with kids.

My kids have always loved to cook with me, especially when it comes to baking. They like to measure, stir, chop and more. One of my daughter’s favorite possessions is her monogramed apron, and my youngest son contents himself with a towel wrapped around his waste. My oldest son begs for more responsibility in the kitchen hen it has to do with the stove, although he does sometimes still balk at having to pack his own lunch in the morning.

So, it goes without saying that I was really looking forward to browsing this book.

Kitchen Playdates my be a little different from most kids cookbooks in that it is geared not just for kids but for adults as well. The recipes are meant to be easy for kids to prepare, but also pleasing to adult palates. The food is much more sophisticated than most kids cookbooks, although all of the ingredients are pretty easy to obtain.

The recipes are combined with playtime ideas, such as a paper cutting craft along with parchment wrapped fish, or the idea of painting pictures with spices to go along with a spicy dish.

While both playdates are intriguing and would definitely expand the kids exposure and experience with food, I’m reluctant to try most of them for a couple of reasons. First, the food might be a little too much for very young kids, although older kids may be game to try dishes such as edamame dip and that parchment-baked halibut with shitakes, lemons and herbs. Next, being the mom of a growing family on a budget, I’m very reluctant to spend lots of money on pounds of expensive spices (although she does advise to buy them in bulk) just to use as craft supplies.

Still, there are plenty of ideas and recipes to use as a jumping off point (why not a spice playdate where kids are blindfolded and get to sniff various spices and then describe them or draw a picture about them?).

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About Mary Ann Romans

Mary Ann Romans is a freelance writer, online content manager, wife and mother of three children. She lives in Pennsylvania in the middle of the woods but close enough to Target and Home Depot. The author of many magazine, newspaper and online articles, Mary Ann enjoys writing about almost any subject. "Writing gives me the opportunity to both learn interesting information, and to interact with wonderful people." Mary Ann has written more than 5,000 blogs for since she started back in December 2006. Contact her at maromans AT or visit her personal blog