peeking into tina davis’s look and cook

The second I spotted this cookbook on the Laughing Elephant website a few years ago, I knew I had to have it.

I’m a sucker for vintage illustrations and culinary ephemera, and this wonderful collection of 50+ classic recipes is chock full of charming old cookbook clippings from the 1900’s to the 1960’s.

Aside from its obvious appeal to nostalgia buffs like me, it’s a great kid-friendly first cookbook containing almost every standard comfort food dish you can think of:  meat loaf, mac and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, gingerbread men, griddle cakes, waffles, biscuits, chocolate pudding, apple pie, and scalloped potatoes. And what about soup, you ask (please do)?

Well, the Soup Section begins with this adorable illo from The School Lunch (Postum Company, 1928),

and there are recipes for Split Pea, Vegetable, Cream of Tomato and Chicken Noodle Soup. Nothing you haven’t seen before, but we’re talking about all-time classics, remember? And if you’re a budding child chef, working in the kitchen with a grown-up, you’d probably want to make something familiar and satisfying.

I like how the book begins with illustrated tables of cooking tools, explains how to measure ingredients, and then offers some all-important safety tips. The book is very sturdy, spiral bound with thick grease-proof pages (lays flat), and will definitely stand up to repeated use. There’s even a diagram showing the proper way to set a table and blank pages for recording favorite recipes. Definitely makes a nice gift for young foodies and cookbook collectors of all ages.


Thought you might like to read Tina Davis’s lovely intro, “The Best Meal I Ever Ate”:

The best meal I ever ate is one I ate often. It was made by my mother for my school lunch. Most days, I had the same lunch as my classmates, but sometimes my mother would put a hot dog in my thermos, cover it with boiling water, and screw the cap on tight. She spread mustard on a hot dog bun, wrapped it in waxed paper, and put everything in my lunch box. At lunchtime, I opened the thermos, took out the amazingly hot hot dog, and put it on the bun. I was always the envy of everyone around me. Other times she made my sandwiches on pieces of frozen bread so that by the time I ate them, the bread had thawed and was very soft. But these sandwiches weren’t nearly as good or amazing as the hot dog.

 Doesn’t that make you just want to hug yourself and eat a grilled cheese sandwich with a bowl of tomato soup — after you’ve eaten a hot dog or two or three?☺

LOOK AND COOK: A Cookbook for Children
by Tina Davis

published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2004
Ages 8+, 160 pages
*All recipes kid tested; has received very positive customer reviews

Better get two, just in case ☺. . .

**Really like that big bowl and spoon, yes I do.

Copyright © 2011 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.