Of Bookworms and Jelly Bellies

 Book: Bookworms and Jelly Bellies

Author: Rajini Rao & Ruchira Ramanujam

Genre: Cookbook

Publication: Hachette India

You may call me pompous and a brag,  but I take pride in being a good cook. I don’t innovate or concoct new dishes but I do follow the cook book instructions to the T and hence have successfully hosted elaborate parties and several surprise visitors ‘bouncers’ as we call them in fauji lingo.

I have a hoard of cook books tucked away in kitchen shelf with tell-tale signs of spills and subsequent successes. So when this book arrived at my door step, I was quite excited.

The colorful cover even caught my daughter’s eye instantly. Looking at her eagerness to flip the pages, the title ‘Bookworms and Jelly Bellies’ aimed to attract kids of all ages lives up to its expectation.

There are very few cook books that solely target young cooks who are entering that curious phase of making something on their own and the usual cookbooks even have some recipes whose ingredients might not be easily available. The end product after following all the instructions most often does not even look like the big glossy picture. This one however aims to make kids love kitchen work. It looks real and comprehensible for kids.

Divided into various sections for age groups ranging from three to fourteen,the book has some cute recipes with varying degree of execution difficulty.  From a twisty curvy cucumber slices caterpillar to baked scones to pasta dishes all the recipes are easy and create a curious enthusiasm in the kid…well my kid is enthusiastic to try her hand out. So I assume kids her age would be too.

Another adorable twist in the cook book is this reference to children’s stories. Each recipe has a corresponding children’s book with little trivia for that fun element. So if the recipe is of  ‘cookies’ the corresponding story is ‘If You Give A Mouse A Cookie’ by Laura Joffe Numeroff…a recipe for ‘Avalakki Pavalakki’ has devdutt Pattanaik’s ‘An Identity Card For Krishna’ for company…’Chocolate Snow’ recipe is paired with Roopa Pai’s stories ‘The Taranauts Series’ and Asterix in Switzerland is obviously for ‘Cheese Fondue’ recipe which even I fell in love with!

What this book is doing is killing two birds(…not for eating!)… One it attracts the kids to try something new with new name perhaps and two, it introduces many story books which the kid may or may not have read and after seeing it here would be curious to read. So it’s a win-win for the parent, I suppose. I quite liked the idea of this cookbook.

Some of the recipes are even good for serving as snacks during parties that I host. Now till my daughter finds time to experiment and play little chef, I, myself shall start trying some of these for may be her tiffin!

The book is a wonderful experiment of putting up recipes with a spin. It would be good thing to have on your kitchen shelf.