1) I was looking for a team approach. Something that was organized in such a way to remind me what I needed to review the night before with my sons, what I needed to lay out for them, what I might need to instruct them on or even help them with the night before. It also has become the reference for my quick grocery list for those staples I keep on hand for a meal anyone in the family can put together quickly.
2) I wanted it to focus on a main dish for the whole family. I wasn't really interested in cakes, cookies, breads or snack type recipes. Or food that looks more like kids' artwork than a meal. My kids like to eat. I didn't need their food to entertain them in order to trick them into eating it. I just needed step-by-step instructions for down home meals I knew they would love.
3) I wanted recognizable ingredients. I don't like to cook with a lot of canned soups and pre-made ingredients. But there are some of those types of recipes in this book. Because let's face it, cooking is oh so daily. And now and then, it's great to throw an easy meal together with this type of ingredient. The Chicken Pot Pie recipe is like that. Fast, convenient, easy and DELICIOUS. But a few pages later you will learn how to make Mac N Cheese, lentil soup and chicken noodle soup from scratch as well as tacos without that premixed seasoning packet. When making homemade pizza, I used to make the crust from scratch, but our family likes the mix you just add water to better. And when I'm asking my kids to cook, I know crust from scratch is asking too much. For some kid, they may want that challenge. Not mine. So it is written toward the simple approach, not the all scratch approach. There are plenty of other cookbooks if that is the approach you and your child want.
4) I wanted foods my kids would eat. The recipes in this book are our kids' favorites. They are down home, wholesome, some healthier than others, but all delicious. Combined with fresh fruits and veggies at every meal, your family will have a satisfying and tasty family meal.
5) I wanted clear instructions that left nothing to chance. I loved that one reviewer wrote:
I "realized that the book is written TO them [her children], in a conversational style, they were so excited to get started. So much so that I have hardly had a chance to get my hands on it myself since they have been reading, planning, and executing wonderful kid friendly meals.
That is the most special part, in my opinion about this book. I feel comfortable handing it over to my girls and leaving the kitchen to go play with and care for my two little ones. It comes with a built in Mommy of sorts, to gently guide the girls with the littlest details, which normally they would come to me with."
I wanted the cookbook to feel like I was right there with them, giving them a heads up about the steam that would come off the pan when they drained the pasta, reminding them to stir so things would not burn, walking them through how to thoroughly wash the lettuce or measure liquid. So I was very pleased when this reviewer picked up on exactly that and it allowed her the freedom to attend to other things, and not hover over her children as they cooked. That is exactly what I was going for.
6) I wanted them to gain skills and confidence in the kitchen and be able to branch out from there. The cookbook is a launching pad, a training ground. If they take it no further, they will be able to feed themselves and their family well forever. If your children discover they love to cook, they are now ready to experiment to their heart's content with other cookbooks or web sites that will hone their skill further. I love that my kids now experiment and when they come up with a winner say, "Hey Mom, I have something new for the cookbook!"
If these items resonate with you, you are going to love this cookbook!