Teen Chef Cooks: 80 Scrumptious, Family-Friendly Recipes

Rodale. Sept. 2019. 160p. index. photos. pap. $19.99. ISBN 9781635651942.
Gr 6 Up–De Las Casas, the 2016 Chopped Teen Grand Champion, draws on her experience as the Crescent City Farmer’s Market Ambassador to present her spin on cooking with fresh, seasonal ingredients. After a brief introduction and produce list, the cookbook is organized into four basic sections—“Spring,” “Summer,” “Winter,” and “Fall.” Each section contains 20 recipes that emphasize in-season fruits and vegetables. Dishes range in complexity from the very simple “Oven-Steamed Fresh Corn” to the more complex “Strawberry-Basil Pavlova.” There’s something for everyone. Beyond the recipes, there isn’t any additional content. The layout is clean but bland, mostly owing to excessive white space and inconsistent images. Photographs, when included, are vibrant full-page or two-page spreads that showcase nicely plated dishes. However, many recipes are either accompanied by general photographs of utensils or nothing at all. The lack of complementary images only adds to the sense that there’s not a lot of substance to the book.
VERDICT Readers searching for a simple collection of recipes will enjoy this slim volume, but those craving more content will go wanting. The book feels like a missed opportunity to introduce young readers and their families to the impact of eating seasonally and buying local. An additional purchase for public libraries

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