Sean Mendez‘s One World Kids Cookbook (Interlink 2011) starts with a strong foreword by Ferran Adria. He writes about the growing problem of overabundance of food in the developed world leading to obesity, bulimia, and anorexia.
Even worse is that they are affecting the youngest of our population, starting with children. If we do not find a solution soon, problems relating to unhealthy diets could become an unsustainable cost for most nations. (p. 5)
The book is full of healthy recipes from around the world. The recipes are easy to read, and easy to follow. They have step-by-step photos of children making them, and “tasty tips” to handle problems.
There are not only recipes, but also plenty of maps, pictures, and illustrations from 19 countries – plus smoothies from more countries. For Somalia Sean explains what Halal means, and describe Canjeero: “A popular main dish in Somali is a canjeero, which is a small pancake-like bread. For children, the canjeero is mixed with tea and sesame oil to encourage growth. (p. 52)” Why tea? For Spain he defines a siesta, and writes that in northern Spain, rabbit is more common than chicken in restaurants. The recipe for Spain is Roasted Vegetables with Spicy Dip (p. 58-59). The boy in the pictures, who looks like he is 8 or 10, is doing all the work, including frying the vegetables.
Some of the photographs by Andy Parsons are really cute, like Maori kids on the beach in New Zealand – burying a girl in the sand. Some are serious, like a Russian kid, who while enjoying himself, is still working – unloading bread for refugees in Ingushetia. Not all of the pictures are of kids – for Mexico, there is a photo of a very old Mayan woman selling corn kernels from a basket. For Greece, there is a photo of two men working a huge vat of olives.
I like this book. It has plenty of pictures and information – and most kids could make the recipes with a little help.
RECIPE: Chicken and Spinach Curry
4 chicken breasts cut into chunks (or 225g/1 cup red lentils)
225g/1/2 pound spinach leaves, washed
450 g/1 pound canned chopped tomatoes
1 onion, finely chopped
2 red chillies, deseeded, finely chopped
5-cm/2-inch piece of ginger, peeled, roughly chopped
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
2 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons garam masala
4 tablespoons plain yoghurt
2 tablespoons olive oil
225 g/1 cup cooked basmati rice, cooked to packet instructions
Heat oil in a pot and add cardamom pods, bay leaves, and cinnamon. Fry for 1 minute, moving constantly.
Add chillies, onion, salt, pepper, and spices. Fry for 5 minutes, mixing often to ensure spices do not burn.
Blend ginger, garlic and tomatoes to a smooth paste with a blender. Pour in pot and simmer for 10 minutes.
Blend uncooked spinach to a paste, using 1 to 2 tablespoons of water to loosen. Remove cardamom pods from pan.
Add chicken pieces (or lentils) to pot and stir in the spinach paste (try not to spill it as we did!) Simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat, add yoghurt and stir well. Serve on a bed of rice.