[review + recipe] The Little Big Cookbook for Moms by Alice Wong and Natasha Tabori Fried

You know the old saying, “Good things come in small packages?”

Check out The Little Big Cookbook for Moms (Welcome Books, 2012)! This chunky, 6-1/2″x 6-1/2″ charmer is chock full of good ideas for busy young moms wishing to make delicious, healthy meals for their kids with the least amount of fuss. In addition to 250 nutritious recipes (Breakfast, Soups and Sandwiches, Snacks and Small Bites, Dinners, Veggies and Sides, Desserts), there’s oodles of practical advice and dozens of cool vintage illustrations, making this a perfect baby shower or new mom gift.

The 20+ page introduction sets the stage for the delectable cooking adventures to come. There’s advice about general nutrition, choosing whole and organic foods, stocking the pantry, food safety and storage, herbs and spices, making homemade baby food, food allergies, and the Top 10 Ways to Get Your Child to Eat Better. 

The authors have included their own family favorites as well as kid-friendly classics (Broiled Salmon, Chicken with Garlic and Shallots, Vegetable Lasagna, Sloppy Joes, Southwestern Chicken Tacos, Macaroni and Cheese, Chicken Fingers). As busy moms themselves, they appreciate one-pot meals and the accommodating slow cooker, and like to think in terms of making ahead and freezing on the weekends, as well as creatively using up leftovers. They know that a well-stocked pantry is a godsend for those days when they need to get something quick and nutritious on the table without giving it a second thought.

I was happy to see a lot of veggie recipes and an emphasis on trying to expose kids to a wider variety of foods. If they are given the opportunity to taste things like baba ganoush, vegetarian brown rice sushi, shrimp curry, quinoa with fennel and pine nuts, or Chinese greens with oyster sauce, they will grow up to become more adventurous eaters — even moreso if when old enough they are encouraged to help Mom in the kitchen.

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♥ love me some latkes, part one ♥

Oy! It’s Hanukkah already and though I’ve been waiting patiently for a nice Jewish grandmother to adopt me, she hasn’t come forward yet. Cornelius suggested we should just go ahead and make our own latkes while we’re waiting.

Mmmm, latkes — the mere thought of crisp, golden potato pancakes with dabs of sour cream and applesauce makes my mouth water. I can picture mothers and grandmothers busy in the kitchen preparing their special recipes for loved ones, happy families gathered around the table eager to try the latkes first despite all the other delicious dishes being served. And why not? Latkes are irresistible and so comforting, a perfect ode to oil for the Festival of Lights!

Since I really wanted to impress any grandmotherly prospects, I decided to forego the classic white potatoes recipe in favor of something a little different. Actually, I got a special request from poet friend Gail Gerwin to share the Sweet Potato-Apple Latkes recipe from The Apple Lover’s Cookbook which I reviewed recently. I was only too happy to oblige, despite the fact that Gail is too young to be my grandmother (she’s a terrific cook, though, if you remember the delicious Stuffed Cabbage she made for Passover Seder this past April).

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