A blog by the staff of the Thomas Ford Memorial Library
Happy Mother’s Day! This week’s cookbook is aimed at busy parents!
What kind of cookbook is it?
Parents Need to Eat Too is a practical guide to feeding yourself while your children are young. From prepping your pantry and freezer while you’re expecting your child to making meals you can eat with one hand while you bounce a baby on your knee to adapting the recipes you make to work as purees and first finger foods, this has it all, and does it in an easygoing and delicious way!
Is this cookbook easy to use?
YES. Food blogger and mom Debbie Koenig called on friends and acquaintances with young kids far and wide to test her recipes. Over 100 moms and dads participated, and I was one of the lucky ones that got to help out. Every recipe in here has been tested and adapted to the lifestyles and needs of real parents. Koenig understands that we don’t often have time to go to the elaborate lengths that are required in a lot of gourmet cooking, so the goal here is great food that real grown-ups eat in the midst of snuggling with their little ones. There’s a place for frozen pizza and Chinese take-out, but Koenig makes real meals possible when you’re short on sleep and need a good meal.
When time saving tricks or chefs secrets make a recipe easier, Koenig includes instructions right there in the recipe in a friendly, conversational tone.
Each recipe ends with a “Mama Said” note with comments, adaptations, and reactions to the recipe from her mom testers.
Can you easily buy the ingredients for the recipes?
There are a few less common items in some of the recipes, but Koenig always offers easy alternatives and substitutions when this happens. For example, one recipe notes that “basmati [rice] is best, but a Success boil-in bag is great too!”
What is special about this cookbook?
From beginning to end, this is a cookbook with parents in mind, and Koenig writes with the familiarity of your neighbor or friend from school. It’s the only cookbook I’ve come across with sections like “Nap-Friendly Cooking” where recipes are broken down into manageable stages that you can do throughout the day to prep for the meal, or recipes with delicious ingredients to support breastfeeding and increase milk production. In many ways, it’s several cookbooks in one: a general purpose cookbook, convenience meals book, a slow-cooker book, a big-batch book, as well as being a great guide to setting yourself up for success in the kitchen and in taking care to feed yourself well when you’re suddenly consumed by taking care of someone else.
Boxed asides from professionals like pediatric dietitians, food safety experts, lactation experts, as well as gobs of tips from the trenches of early parenting elevate this from a useful cookbook to an incredibly helpful and entertaining guide.
Even if you’re not in target audience of parents to young kids, it’s still worth checking this book out for the simple way things go together and the goal of maximum bang for your effort.
What are your favorite recipes from this cookbook?
The recipe from this book that has become a staple in our household is the Polynesian Flank Steak. It couldn’t be easier or tastier, and it makes me feel like a real success when I serve it.
Another favorite online: Roasted Cherry Tomatoes with Couscous,
And you’ll have to pick up the book to find these great ones: Brown Sugar Yogurt Cake, Fruity Oatmeal Squares, Provencal Braised Chicken, and the Spanish Tortilla recipe from my own kitchen. – Review by Heather