Most preschool aged children love pretending to make food or play restaurant. While some are attracted to blocks and others gravitate towards writing at an early age, most preschoolers share the love of pretend play. Have you read, ‘How to Celebrate Everything’ yet? (Also a great gift for parents.) I just picked it up and... wow. I was a little weepy reading just the first page. Rosenstrach writes on rituals and routine with a baby, "It was rarely a straight line from one dot to the next, and it rarely resulted in a pretty picture, but the dots were our guides, our goals. Without them, without the routine, there was nothing preventing us from descending into a state of chaos."
While I’m not a big cook myself and dinnertime always feels like chaos to me, I’ve definitely felt more sentimental and interested in preparing food since becoming a parent. I love sitting at the table with my family and we've recently created a routine of sharing our 'highs, lows and acts of kindness for the day.' Dinner seems much more of an act of love both for myself and my family than ever before. Perhaps this is the reason children love pretending to prepare food; they understand the meaning and see straight past the chaos to the love.
If you discovered during Thanksgiving that you have a little foodie on your hands, or you yourself are a cook and want to share your hobby, here are a few titles that you might want to gift to your kids:
Julia, Child by Kyo Maclear is the story of Julia's friendship with Simone Beck, the French cookbook author.
Bon Appetit! The Delicious Life of Julia Child by Jessie Hartland is the traditional full biography of Julia told through graphic pictures. It's from the author and illustrator, Jessie Hartland, of the recently published Ada Lovelace, Poet of Science, a favorite on our girl-empowered book shelf.
To Market, To Market by Nikki McClure Nikki McClure's paper cut illustrations are always captivating. This book includes both a sentimental story and fun facts about a child going to the farmer's market with her mother.
Before We Eat: From Farm to Table by Pat Brisson and Mary Azarian - A poem of thanks to those that grow and prepare our food. The book also explains the process that the grower must go through to prepare each part of our food from seeds, to harvesting crops and feeding animals.
Can I Eat That? By Joshua David Stein Written by an acclaimed food critic, this book is sure to create some laughter and interest in food from your kids. The book is full of facts and thought provoking questions.
Food Trucks! By Mark Todd A rhyming book about dining categories and food trucks. For younger children also check out Food Trucks! A Lift-the Flap Meal on Wheels! By Jeffrey Burton.
How Did That Get in my Lunch Box? The Story of Food by Chris Butterworth This book can be read just for fun at home or in a health and nutrition class. The pictures are engaging and the story discusses how the food in your lunch was created. From planting and picking fruits to baking and cooking, the children will be engaged in thinking more about how the food arrived on their plate.
Foodie Babies Wear Bibs by Michelle Sinclair Colman This hilarious book shows infants browsing food markets and dining al fresco, but when it comes to using a fork and spoon and table manners, well it reminded me of Joanna Goodard's post on motherhood tips where her friend explained that "Babies be babies." For more laughs check out Urban Babies Wear Black.
First Book of Sushi by Amy Wilson Sanger Another board book that also acts as a rhyming story and can be very eye-opening for adults. "Miso in my sippy cup, tofu in my bowl," got me thinking about how often my kids are just the same meals over and over. Guilty as charged.
Good Enough To Eat by Lizzie Rockwell Besides being the name of my favorite brunch spot on the Upper West Side (the Gramercy Park omelette was my all-time favorite pregnancy craving), this book introduces nutrition and food facts for kids. It also includes a few kid-friendly recipes.
What are some of your favorite titles for little chefs?