Adios Applebees, Toodle-oo Taco Bell

Starting from Scratch: What You Should Know about Food and Cooking, by Sarah Elton; Illus. by Jeff Kulak (2014)

Opening Line: “It’s easy to open a can of soup.”  Yes, Sarah. Yes it is. 

This book hit me at the perfect time. Yes, I bought if for school months ago as part of an awesome STEM grant I received. Yes, I brought it home with me for the summer to read along with a dozen others. But I didn’t pick it up until this week. The week after what I’m affectionately calling my Eating Out Binge, also known as the months of June and July. For a while there, between moving and traveling and surgeries, we were eating out A LOT. This week, when I found myself craving vegetables, Sarah Elton’s book seemed to call to me from the office, saying, “Emily. It is time.”

On a very basic level (I mean, it is written for teens and preteens, which also means it’s just about perfect for me), author Sarah Elton explains why and how everyone should be able to cook a meal from scratch. She goes through the entire process, from “The Building Blocks of Taste” all the way to cleaning up the kitchen afterward. Somewhere in between, she awoke my inner chef (or perhaps just my inner instinct to feed myself and my family), and I found myself planning out tonight’s dinner in my head. Through her encouraging tone and Jeff Kulak’s beautiful design and illustrations throughout,  cooking became, not necessarily easy, but definitely approachable. While my regular chef is laid up with a giant knee brace wrapped around his leg, I now feel inspired to take over the duties of the kitchen and see what I can cook up.

Informative and delightful, 2 stars


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