Grow It, Cook It

It’s late in the year; harvest season is upon us. If this year in local food has had a “theme” it would be the victory garden. Growing your own has a new appeal. If you haven’t started your garden yet, maybe it’s a bit late, but it’s not too early to think about sharing the garden experience with your youngest family members next year.

DK Publishing’s resident children’s cooking expert, Jill Bloomfield, just published her own children’s guide to gardening. Grow It, Cook It is a great step-by-step visual guide to how to grow a plant on the first spread of pages, then shows step-by-step how to cook the ingredient on the next.

Instructions for growing include plants such as tomatoes, zucchini, herbs, pumpkin, beans, potatoes and fruits like berries. Recipes include Rainbow Salad, Onion and Leek Soup, Sunflower Pot Loaves, Zucchini Frittata, and Mini Pumpkin Pies.

The book also features educational content that will teach kids about the lifecycle and parts of the plant, how to compost, kitchen skill basics and even how to collect seeds for planting next year’s garden.

Case Studies from school garden programs and food education in schools have shown that kids are more likely to try foods that they have helped grow and prepare. Grow It, Cook It will serve as a guide for parents who want to share this experience and help foster a lifetime love of gardening, cooking and healthy eating for their children.

Grow It, Cook It would make a great holiday gift since many seedlings are started indoors well before the last frost of the season. Overall, the book has some good tips and an easy visual format.

The only “grow-cook” combination that may not work is the section on lemons. As the text notes, “Have Patience! It’s likely to take eight years or more for your plants to flower and bear fruit.” Eight years might mean your child is off to college before that project is complete!

Otherwise, the book is fun, visually-interesting, and offers a great guide for parents who want to offer their kids the garden to table experience — without moving to Berkeley!

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