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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
There is more to cooking than just the preparation. It's a family activity, a learning tool and much more. Everybody Cooks!: STEM Facts and Recipes for Family Cooperation and Healthier Eating will tell you how. What is Stem? It's an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics and, yes, it's all part of cooking and healthy eating. Author Renee Heiss has created a fascinating book in Everybody Cooks! that combines so many components of food preparation and makes it a family event and a learning tool for young people. Well, perhaps the book is also a learning tool for adults as well. I learned a lot about calories, cholesterol control, blood sugar, and much more. For example, I always knew that sugar raised one's blood sugar. What I didn't know was that by using cinnamon in the same recipe you can control the increasing blood sugar because cinnamon actually lowers blood sugar. And cinnamon adds such an interesting flavor to anything. What a good idea!
I like the way Everybody Cooks! approaches multiple holiday celebrations throughout the year, presenting foods that are characteristic to that specific holiday. Each recipe is accompanied with a background to the significance of that dish, a list of important features like healthy ingredients, as well as some history on the holiday itself. Math games are inserted for such events as Super Bowl Sunday, and scientific/technological tidbits are inserted, like the importance of refrigeration and how it's used for certain food preparation techniques. The author uses interesting technological terms like 'Refrigerated Products Logistics', terms one wouldn't normally consider discussing with children, but interesting and informative.
Each recipe has the ingredients listed in the order that they are used. The instructions are clearly written out with symbols to indicate the danger level of certain procedures. This helps families determine which procedures to allocate to each child. I like the ideas presented in this book. My only concern is the high sugar content in many of the recipes and the frequent use of prepared products like cake mixes, which to me doesn't suggest healthy eating. Lots of good ideas, though, and wonderful photography.