Starting from Scratch - A book review

Last Christmas I made a cookbook of a collection of my favourite cookie recipes for my nieces and nephews who are all starting to take an avid interest in cooking and baking. While they enjoyed the cookbook, it sparked a whole lot of questions, about the mechanics and chemistry of baking and cooking and at the time, I spent a lot of time on looking for the answers to those questions.

If you’ve had, or are currently fielding these types of questions then you need to get a copy of Starting from Scratch: What You Should Know About Food and Cooking by Sarah Elton.

Starting From Scratch book image

Journalist, Food Writer, Food Columnist and Best-Selling Author – this is Toronto-based Sara’s first book for kids. She’s managed to take a complex topic that lots of adults, quite frankly, don’t understand and bring it down to a level that kids just get. What’s even more remarkable is that she’s been able to do it, by talking to kids instead of talking down at them.

Beautifully illustrated by Montreal-based Jeff Kulak,  the visuals and colours help reinforce the message that Elton promotes, and engages young readers who spend time pouring over all of the details in the designs.

Starting from Scratch is not a cookbook, but a book about food, how and why it works. However, Elton does include a couple recipes as examples for young readers to read.  It's best suited for kids ten years old and older, I did read the book with my 7-year old niece who definitely grasped the concepts that Sarah shares.

Coming from a very multicultural family, I appreciated the fact that Sarah didn’t shy away from global cuisines, and I even learned a thing or two about why spicy food usage increases. We had fun with the fun facts and challenges that are peppered throughout the book, and I could see how this would keep a young reader engaged.  The book tackles and expertly answers questions like:

  • Why are some cuisines spicier than others?
  • How do you measure a cup of butter?
  • What is freezer burn?
  • What do fancy food terms really mean?
  • How can I be safe using tools in the kitchen?

My favourite part of this book is the section - What goes with what? A Guide to Flavor Pairings. It’s a wonderful guide that teaches about food and spices that go well together by cuisine. Again, I know quite a few adults who could benefit from this list. You can by this book through the publisher Owlkids online store and through several online retailers.

Look out for it or pick up a copy today – you won’t be disappointed.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book to review from the publisher and I was asked to write a review as compensation. The opinions/review of the book are entirely my own (Rhonda of Olive & Ruby).

Copyright © 2014, Olive & Ruby. All rights reserved.

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