Estimated reading time: 3 minutes
Katja Leccisi, MS, RDN, Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
Photo: Janet Fotheringham
My mother has given me many gifts. Two of them are a love of reading and an appreciation for good, homemade, simple food.
I have fond memories of time spent in the kitchen with my mom, especially baking bread and cookies. I also remember cooking with my grandmother, learning how to make her special cakes. This family time in the kitchen is definitely one of the reasons I chose nutritionist as my profession.
When I became a mom, my daughter was welcomed into the kitchen from a very early age. As a toddler, she would stand on a stool at the sink, happily washing vegetables. As she grew, she learned how to cut out and decorate cookies, knead her own little loaf of bread, and even bake a cake. Many years later, I became stepmom to two more little ones and cooking together was a way to bond with them. My daughter is living on her own now, and although she calls me occasionally with cooking questions, she manages her kitchen very well, and I love it when she cooks dinner for me when I visit.
I also read to my daughter every day, and I still read aloud to my step kids, although they have outgrown most picture books. Of course, books that have food themes often found their way into our selection. They were fun to read as stories, and often inspired us to create and explore together in the kitchen.
These are my tried and true favorite read-aloud books for children.
- The Seven Silly Eaters by Marianne Hoberman
- Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
- Jamberry by Bruce Degan
- Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert
- Stone Soup (a traditional folk tale by various authors)
- In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
- Pancakes, Pancakes by Eric Carle
- The Great Big Enormous Turnip by Alexei Tolstoy
- Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Here also are some fabulous cookbooks to use with your children. The first two are great for little ones, with illustrations. The other two are a great place for older children to go a little deeper, either with you, or on their own.
- Pretend Soup and Other Real Recipes by Mollie Katzen and Ann Henderson
- The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen
- Teens Cook: How to Cook What You Want to Eat by Megan Carle, Judi Carle, and Jill Carle
- Cooking Up a Storm: the Teen Survival Cookbook by Sam Stern and Susan Stern
And finally, these are my newest favorite books for family-centered food. They contain tips for organizing the way you shop, cook, and eat, and are filled with beautiful recipes to cook, on your own or with your children of all ages.
- Brown Eggs and Jam Jars by Aimée Wimbush-Bourque
- The Family Cooks: 100+ Recipes Guaranteed to Get Your Family Craving Food That’s Simple, Fresh, and Incredibly Good for You by Laurie David
- What to Cook for Dinner with Kids: How to Simplify, Strategize and Stop Agonizing over Family Dinners by Maryann Jacobsen
Share your list of favorite books with us, or send us some pictures of your kids in the kitchen!
Katja Leccisi, MS, RDN is a registered dietitian-nutritionist in both Canada and the United States. She has more than 20 years’ experience working with families and educators in clinical, community, and workshop settings in both countries. Her first book is How to Feed Your Kids. Katja is the mother of a young adult daughter, and the stepmother of two younger children. She lives in Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, Canada, where she enjoys yoga, meditation, music, gardening, cooking, and a very active outdoor life all year-round.
Editor’s note: After reading this post, I could remember so many! Here are a few of my favorites: Pass The Jam Jim by Kaye Umansky, War and Peas by Michael Foreman, Bunny Cakes by Rosemary Wells, Making Minestrone by Stella Blackstone, The Magic Porridge Pot and The Little Red Hen (traditional folk tales), A Birthday Cake for Little Bear by Max Velthuijs, and The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord and Janet Burroway.
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