Thursday, June 24, 2010

To Cook is to Eat

Teens Cook: How to Cook What You Want to Eat

Written by Megan Carle, Jill Carle, and with Judi Carle

Released: July 1, 2004

Summary: Written by two teens who know what teens do and don't know about cooking, TEENS COOK is an instructional cookbook that teaches young adults how to make great meals—and be confident and independent in the kitchen. Authors Megan and Jill Carle are teenage sisters with nothing much in common when it comes to food—except that they both know how to cook really well. One buys ingredients she likes and figures out what to make when she gets home; the other follows every recipe to the letter. One is a vegetarian who's drawn to ethnic food; the other prefers all-American comfort food. Together, they're a dynamic duo who have created and mastered more than 75 recipes for breakfasts, snacks, sides, family meals, dinners for one, and desserts. In TEENS COOK, the Carle sisters also share their kitchen know-how on averting and fixing disasters, dealing with cookbook math (fractions and metrics—ugh!), deciphering culinary vocabulary (all those terms we kind of know, but not really), explaining chemistry (why and how stuff goes right and wrong in the kitchen), and avoiding accidents (can you say "grease fire"? oops!). For teens (and tweens) who are tired of eating what their parents decide to fix, TEENS COOK offers foolproof advice for whipping up some tasty home-cooked meals of their own.

I know, I know, this isn't my usual fiction review, but I needed to share this amazing book. I got this book as a Christmas present from my friend Amy a few years ago and I’ve only recently re-discovered it. Boy, am I glad that I did.

This is by far the easiest cookbook that I have ever used in my life. I mean, I like to cook and bake, especially for larger crowds, but this book makes it so easy to make a one person meal too. It goes over breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, soups, salads, family meals, and individual meals. Honestly, it does it all plus it has both your comfort favourite foods like mac and cheese along with foods that I would never even consider like vegetable maki rolls.

What I really like about this book is how user friendly it is and how easy they make it so that you can take a recipe and substitute a lot of ingredients. My favourite is the seven-layer bars (which I think I’ve gotten up to over 10 layers) which I also make into just s’mores bars and other things. Seriously, this recipe is gold. I used it to bribe two guy friends of mine to help me move out of my last apartment; meaning that the only payment they got was this baked deliciousness. And one of them got a case of beer. But still, that is the power of these bars. Though they can also put you into a diabetic shock, so be careful what you put in them.

As far as cookbooks go, this is a 10/10 for me. Aside from the cream cheese brownies, I’ve never had a failed recipe from this book (though I was able to turn those brownies into a different desert which was even better). So if it’s your first time at college, or you’re newly on your own, or if you just want some really easy recipes to make for your family, this is a great book to pick up. In fact, I want to get my hands on the other ones that these girls have done. Except for maybe the vegetarian one…

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