A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Thanks for following our cookbook series. This week we feature a book about cooking for children, showing again that there are many kinds of helpful cookbooks in our large collection.
Sneaky Chef is half recipes and half philosophy/technique about “sneaking” healthy foods into meals that children would normally eat. It relies on make-ahead recipes such as purees that can be made in advance and then frozen.
Is this cookbook easy to use?
The purees/make-ahead recipes are in a separate chapter from the regular recipes, which is helpful. At the end of each puree, there is also a list of which recipes call for that puree. “Sneaky tips” are scattered throughout the book. Symbols at the beginning of each recipe signify which of 13 methods were used. The symbols are a little hard to decode, but they are not essential to recipe preparation, and there is a key provided on page 92 if you want to know more. Symbols include a candle for Method Ten (“use slower-burning foods to avoid blood sugar ‘spike and crash’”), a chocolate bar for Method Twelve (“use kid-friendly flavor decoys to distract kids from what’s underneath”), and a food processor for Method One (puree).
Can you easily buy the ingredients for the recipes?
Yes. You will want to have a good food processor or blender, though—something that makes very smooth purees. The point is to hide vegetables and other good-for-you foods that kids aren’t eager to eat, so making sure the carrots or spinach are pulverized to a smooth cream (no chunks!) is important.
What is special about this cookbook?
There weren’t many cookbooks like this at the time Sneaky Chef was published in 2007. The foods are not only for kids, either. I’m not a fan of many vegetables (plus I don’t have kids), and I found plenty of recipes to try in here that I made more than once. The only downside is that it does take more time to prepare these meals than I am used to, especially since I didn’t usually have the purees pre-made.
What are your favorite recipes from this cookbook?
Sneaky Baked Ziti (p. 226-227), which is made with tofu and the Orange Puree (pureed sweet potatoes and carrots).
Review by Dana