Get Cooking

sam-stern-get-cooking.jpgToday, Sara Cabot of Little Lettice reviews teen chef Sam Stern’s new cookbook, Get Cooking. Read on for Sara’s review, as well as to learn how to be one of 5 winners to receive a copy of Get Cooking!

"Sam Stern is a British teen celebrity chef who is now – amazingly – on his third cookbook. The premise of his latest cookbook - Get Cooking - is simple: get up and get cooking. Cleverly, Sam got eight friends to inspire with the contents, resulting in eight chapters based around ingredients that teenagers really love: cheese, pasta, chocolate, potatoes, and so on.
Sam is doing for the teenage market what Jamie Oliver did for an older market: making cooking cool. In the introduction (“Why cook?”) Sam warns that kids are missing out if they don’t cook, and that every part of the cooking process “has something cool going for it.” He claims that, “Cooking gives you power in loads of ways. It’s a great way to be independent...” and that cooking is also “...about the good times…everyone sitting eating together and having a good laugh.”

Each of the chapters – inspired by Sam’s friends’ favorite ingredients – begins with a photo of that friend, and some information about the ingredient that he/she has chosen. The recipes are presented in a no-nonsense, easy to read, 1-2-3 step layout, which makes them easy to follow. The writing is accompanied by plenty of cheery photographs so that your teen cook can see what the dish is meant to look like. The language is aimed at teens: ingredients are “slapped into a large pan” or “blitzed in a food processor.” Butter is “chucked” into the bowl.

I was especially interested to read what Sam concocted for the “Veg” chapter. He has come up with some nutritious and tasty dishes for vegetarians; creations such as spicy mushroom and garbanzo bean burgers and cauliflower curry. At home, we tried the "Zucchini, Lemon and Thyme Risotto” and my kids pronounced it “delicious.” Like Jamie Oliver, Sam Stern likes to experiment with ingredients, and he is imaginative with vegetable sides, which is useful for teens that aren’t so keen on them. For example, his broccoli stir-fry, cauliflower with cumin (this is the only way that I cook cauliflower nowadays; it spices it up nicely), and carrots “done like pasta” (i.e., cut into strips with a potato peeler, blanched in boiling water, and tossed in butter and lemon) all are yummy.

As well as encouraging teens to be adventurous cooks, Sam also offers homemade recipes for old favorites such as macaroni & cheese, pizza, and home-style ketchup. His chapter entitled “Chocolate” is bound to be where many teens head, and Sam provides a range, from the more technically impressive “Top Chocolate Soufflé” to the more mundane “Frozen Chocolate Banana Sticks.”

Not surprisingly, one of my 12-year-old son Nick's favorites was the “Chocolate Cherry Crepes” (with butterscotch sauce). It was great to see him experiment in the kitchen, though I had to draw the line when he wanted to eat the crepes for breakfast!"

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Congrats to winners Janice, Elizabeth, Stephanie, Helen, & Amy!
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Now, want to be one of 5 winners to receive a copy of Get Cooking? Here’s how:

  • Visit the Candlewick Press new releases page, then email (with ‘Get Cooking’ in the subject), and name a new book offered by Candlewick Press (other than Get Cooking!).

  • One entry permitted per person; US entrants welcome to enter.

  • Entry period closes at noon EST, Saturday, April 25, 2009.