By Guest Blogger Nancy Silcox
Who would have thunk it? A cookbook, featuring local kids whipping up their favourite recipes becoming a Waterloo Region, Christmas season best seller?
Not so far-fetched as it seems, at least according to David Worsley, co-owner of Words Worth books in downtown Waterloo.
“The Giller Prize winner (Michael Redhill’s Bellevue Square) and Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls sold very well over the season,” says Worsley. “But Kids in the Kitchen: 80 Recipes by Kids, to Kids, for Kids came in a close third.”
Photographed with love and imagination by Kitchener’s Jennie Wiebe and New Hamburg’s Elisabeth Feryn, the book features over 80 kids, aged two years to nineteen in the kitchen creating their favourite recipes.
Ranging from breakfast fare, such as Baked Ham in Egg Cups to after-school snacks such as granola Bars; from soups and salads to favourite main courses like Mini-Personal Pizzas, the book was the brainchild of local writer Nancy Silcox.
“The book started out as a little fun project that I could do with my three granddaughters,” says Silcox. “Then it grew and grew as people asked if their kids could take part.”
Silcox was delighted with the response and had only one ground rule for the participants. “The recipes had to be kids’ favourites. No adults involved.”
Over 80 favourite recipes included kid “easy-makes” such as “Dead Easy Peanut Butter Cookies” and “Chicken Noodle Soup for Picky Eaters.” More time intensive dishes like “Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs” and “Chewy Chocolate Celebration Cake” also made their way onto the book’s 189 pages.
Aiming for an international feel too, Silcox invited kids outside Canada to join in. From Italy came Spaghetti Carbonara; from Uganda came Juma’s Samosas and from Columbia, Arroz de Leche (Rice Pudding.)
Food sensitivities were considered too in Silcox’s book. Waterloo Region Councillor Jane Mitchell’s grandchildren Mary and Robert made for “Kids in the Kitchen” Vegan, Gluten-Free Chocolate Cupcakes. Clarissa’s Tuna Surprize and other pasta dishes are easily adaptable with rice noodles
With the recipes pouring into Silcox’s computer came food riddles: “what’s the only type of bean that doesn’t grow in the garden? A jelly bean;” food jokes “why did the tomato blush? Because it saw the salad dressing” and colourful art work.
Paired with Wiebe and Feryn’s top-notch photography, by the time the book was complete, 90 recipes and dozens of full-colour “extras” were showcased.
Launched at the Baden Hotel on October 1 with a “standing room only” crowd in attendance, “Kids in the Kitchen” was an immediate hit.
“I’m guessing that hundreds of the books were opened on Christmas Day,” says Silcox.
As the New Year of 2018 opens, the little book that grew and grew keeps on giving. All sales of the book are passed on to two local charities: Nutrition for Learning and Dreamshare for Uganda. Close to $15,000 has been raised for these charities to this point.
Copies of “Kids in the Kitchen” are available at Words Worth Book in Waterloo. “But don’t wait too long,” laughs Silcox. “They have a habit of disappearing quickly.”