Review: Usborne Children’s World Cookbook

A little while ago, my friend Lisa from The Book Mums spotted a cookery book that she thought would be right up my street – and she was right.  It’s the Usborne Children’s World Cookbook which is filled with recipes from 25 different countries. If you have a long summer holdiay ahead of you to fill with children this book would be a very handy addition to your activity list.

The great thing about the Usborne Children’s World Cookbook is that it has a firm outer cover and inside it is spiral bound, making a great lie-flat book for the kitchen counter. The pages are thick and whilst they are probably not indestructible, they wipe clean very well if there are any minor splashes or spillages.
When I was little, I remember that my sister and I had a cookbook, with step by step pictures and instructions and two characters messing around – I wish I could remember the name of that book as it was the very first book I ever cooked from as a child. One of the characters was a cat, a bit like Henry’s Cat, but he wore a chef’s hat. Anyway, I digress. This book reminded me of that book in the way that the pictures breakdown each recipe in a simple-to-follow format.
Children of any age could easily follow the recipes in this book – if they are younger, of course, they would need lots of help and supervision. Older children (8-11) would enjoy picking out recipes to try too. You also get little snippets of information about each country throughout and its food or traditions.
There are some basic hints and tips to start with, such as how to chop an onion, how to grease a tin, whisk and beat. The first double-page spread features The United States of America, mentioning New York delis, pretzels and giving a recipe for a baked New York Cheesecake. Flip over and you’ll find a second recipe for Chocolate Brownies and a picture and explanation of the tradition of eating Pumpkin Pie. Well, we didn’t expect healthy recipes to start with, did we?!
England features Cream Teas with an easy recipe for Scones (which kids always love making and eating) and mentions seasonal fruits, berries and our love of jam making.  
The Latin America pages are cool, showing you how to make Tacos, Guacamole, Salsa and Re-fried Beans. This would be a great project for older kids or adventurous families who could easily put together a theme night (based on any of the countries, in fact).
There are also pages showing all kinds of bright and colourful fruit and vegetables. I liked the way that unusual fruits were highlighted, such as Guava, Star Fruit, Lychees and Sharon Fruit and in the case of vegetables, Plantain, Okra and Yams. We took our book out shopping with us to see whether we could spot anything unusual – we found a few and came back with kiwi fruit and asparagus which my little boy was then keen to try. 
There are also pages on Fish and Seafood, Cheese and Bread as well as photos of lots of Cakes and Pastries from around the world. My favourite sweet recipes were the Austrian Sachertorte and the German Lebkuchen (spiced biscuits) which we’ll definitely be making and decorating at Christmas.
It was great to see savoury food from The Caribbean, Norway, Russia and The Middle East highlighted and there were some real treats from Denmark – my son loved making ‘Smorrebrod‘  or open sandwiches and we enjoyed getting to know other Mediterranean ingredients, particularly as he adores olives!
Towards the back, the last few pages feature the flavours and spices of  India, Thailand, China and Japan. We made the Fried Rice with Vegetables from China easily enough and the kids had fun practicing with chopsticks. In hindsight, I didn’t chose the easiest food for them to pick up, did I?!  
All in all, I was very impressed with this book both for its educational though fun style, a very clean layout and simple to follow instructions. We’ll definitely be busy over the long Summer holidays experimenting and trying new recipes from around the world.   

The Usborne Children’s World Cook Book is available through Usborne Children’s Books and is priced at £12.99. Check out Lisa at The Book Mums who will easily point you in the direction of a local consultant or will mail it out to you.

Other Usborne cookbooks include The Children’s Book of Baking, The Usborne Healthy Cookbook and 30 Things to Cook and Eat.
For downloadable versions of recipes in the book go to the Usborne Quicklinks Worldwide and enter the keywords “world cookbook“.

Thank you for my review copy. The book is written by Angela Wilkes and Sarah Khan with food photography by Howard Allman.

Keep in touch!

Subscribe now to the Ren Behan Food newsletter twice a month - delivered to your inbox!

Comments

  1. Fabulicious Food says

    >Aah thanks so much for the comment Wendy! Any pal of Lisa's is a pal of mine and I would love to make you a cake one day! How funny that you have that book too. I do remember the Apple Snow, also Baked Tomatoes and also I remember being so amazed by the Baked Alaska but never made it – I've still never made one to this day! Maybe when I get my recycled copy I will try it!

  2. Anonymous says

    >Reading this 'cos my fwend Lisa loves your cakes! I have a your childhood cookbook, recently rescued from my parents' loft. It is called My learn to cook book and features a cat and a dog (with big bows but no chef's hats) The cat makes all sorts of useful comments like 'Eat Apple Snow immediately before it melts' and my fave 'Serve piping hot but be careful! Hot Cheese is really hot so try a small piece first' I loved (and still love) this book, got it fror my 10th birthday. I am looking forward to aquainting myself with your writings. If they are good enough for Lisa you'll do for me. Hoping one day to sample the legendary cake! Wendy

  3. Fabulicious Food says

    >No way!!! Can you believe that WAS the cookbook!!!! LOL. I can buy it on amzanon (used) how fantastic. Why on earth did I think it had a Henry's Cat cheffy type character in it?!Maybe inside they are dressed up! Thanks so much for guessing that :-) A little trip down memory lane.

  4. Choclette says

    >Ha ha, I wonder if your old cookbook was the same as mine – My learn to cook book: a children's book for the kitchen by Ursula Sedgwick, although it's the dog I remember most. This one reminds me of it, but sounds so much more adventurous. Would love to have had this to cook from.

    • Helen Rhodes says

      Thanks for this, I couldn’t remember the name of this book either & loved it as a child! Wanted to get it for my toddler who now loves cooking!

  5. Sarah, Maison Cupcake says

    >I absolutely love Usborne books, they're so well laid out and clear. I remember reading them when I was about 10!

  6. mycustardpie.com says

    >Fond memories of Usbourne books as they were a staple for entertaining my children (the arts and crafts ones are superb).

  7. Emma says

    >Always on the look out for decent children's cookbooks, thanks for this, it sounds lovely! Emma :)

  8. Fabulicious Food says

    >Thanks Helen! It isn't one you'd spot on the shelves and sometimes good to point out the less obvious ones. Hope she likes it if you get it.

  9. Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours says

    >This would be amazing for my vegetable resistant eldest god-daughter who is just discovering that she loves cooking!

    Thanks for pointing it out!