Sunday, April 29, 2012

Cooking, the fun way

How to Feed Your Child (and enjoy it)!
Fun Recipes for Young Moms
By Tabinda J. Burney. Niyogi Books. Pages 213. Rs 395

Reviewed by Seema Sachdeva

ONCE upon a time, the big fat Indian family flourished with numerous siblings and cousins living together. Home-cooked food was the acceptable fare. However, in the present nuclear setup, eating out is becoming more popular. With an increasing number of women opting to work, there’s not much time left at the end of the day to prepare lavish meals for their children. Add to this, the easy availability of junk food. Thus, inculcating healthy eating habits in children is a difficult task indeed.

Dr Tabinda J. Burney’s How to Feed Your Child (and enjoy it)! attempts to keep alive the traditional methods of cooking and feeding children, while keeping in mind the practical, time-efficient style of cooking.

The subtitle of the book clearly mentions that these are Fun Recipes for Young Moms. The book aims to encourage young mothers and fathers to rediscover the traditional Indian cooking and its benefits.

Keeping in mind the hectic lifestyle of today’s parents, the book, based on the writer’s personal experiences as a mother of two daughters, presents easy recipes that offer many choices to the picky eater. These are based on the theory that children exposed to a variety of foods and flavours are less likely to be fussy eaters.

Easily available seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables have been used to prepare a balanced diet that will go a long way in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

The introduction to the book is informative. The book begins with a chapter on Nutrition, in which the writer gives an interesting guide to essential nutrients required for a healthy body.

The book covers recipes in a chronological order — beginning with food to be consumed during the weaning period, followed by the toddler stage, and finally meals for schoolchildren. Since feeding the little ones is no child’s play, there are recipes that use a lot of colour to attract toddlers. The Healthy Tiffins section, which includes sandwiches, wraps and yummy treats, will make sure that there will not be a day when you will see your little one bringing back an unfinished lunch box from school.

From vegetarian, fish, meat and chicken dishes to tasty titbits for kids, on offer is a wide array of dishes for enthusiastic mothers, who are ready to go that extra mile to see a smile on the face of their loved ones as they eat the food prepared so lovingly.

From soups, drinks, chutneys to raitas, dips and salads, the book offers a plethora of choices to spoil your loved ones. Children are sure to get bowled over with mouth-watering recipes like Vegetable Treasure Hunt, Bhindi Begum, Sticky Chicken Lollipops, etc.

That creativity is the main ingredient in these recipes is evident from not only the interesting names of dishes like Wibble-Wobble Fruit Jelly or Good Morning Sunshine but as much effort has gone into making it a fun eating. For instance, the good old French Toasts take a new avatar as Snazzy Squares, which children are going to love.

The book also gives a peep into our culture with recipes that celebrate every Indian festival. Make your children wear the colours of patriotism on the Independence Day while feeding them with the Tricolour Ice Lollies and Tricolour Fruit Kebabs. Take your kids on a ride on Boats on the Beach this Onam, besides the Gingerbread Men ’n’ Xmas trees on Christmas.

Written in a simple language, the writer gives step-by-step information that aims to target first-time mothers. An interesting add-on is the information about the nutritive aspects of the main ingredients used in each recipe.

Towards the end of the book, the author gives useful tips to new mothers while busting some common food myths. Spice, Spice Baby!! gives a detailed note about health benefits of various Indian spices used in the book. The chapter on Food Safety gives guidelines on handling meat, eggs and other foods. The only thing that is lacking is that there are no visuals to illustrate the recipes. But on the whole, this food guide brings Indian cooking for the new-age moms in a fun way.

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