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Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father's Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater Paperback – Bargain Price, Mar 31 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Reprint edition (March 31 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547336896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547336893
  • ASIN: B004KAB40Q
  • Product Dimensions: 20.1 x 13.2 x 1.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 249 g
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #821,721 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By heather c rowe on Sept. 26 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I feel so white for even buying this book. it might be unfair of me to be grumpy that the author seemed so self-congratulatory about his daughter's "adventurous" eating (and his admission in chapter 8 that the only vegetables she would eat were beans & tomatoes), but I had hoped for more. I want 8 month-olds gnawing on duck feet and achar, not 3-year-olds willing to eat enchiladas with "recipes" for banana-nutella sandwiches and chicken fingers. there is no solid advice for helping your child to enjoy a wide array of tastes beyond the common-sense, so I guess I should have had the common-sense not to spend money on this book that I could have been spending at the farmers' market.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 48 reviews
25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
the quest is short, the brag is long. **sour grapes alert** July 6 2009
By Andrew D. Fraser - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The subtitle of the book "A Food-Loving Father's Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater" is somewhat misleading. The "Quest" is basically over by the time his daughter cuts teeth. I had expected to read about a struggle, some sort of resistance, even some failures as the author raises his daughter.

It does have it's humorous moments and is an easy, enjoyable read. But, for those of us trying to raise kids with similarly adventurous palates, he makes it sound too easy.

Not every anecdote results in his daughter licking her plate clean and asking for more, but his stated goal of raising an adventurous eater is accomplished very early in the book. The rest of it reads like a proud father showing off his daughter's trophy case... "and here's the time she stuffed herself with sushi... and here's the time she ate pad thai for three days straight..."

Yes, I read the entire book, but apart from debunking advice re: baby food. I did not come away with much usable advice for raising my own adventurous eaters. He acknowledges this fact, but it seems like a cop out.

The recipes at the end of each chapter were nicely annotated and looked like they'd be welcomed by my children once they get out of the "no mixed-up food" phase.

Amster-Burton should write a companion "Cooking with Iris" cookbook of his daughter-friendly recipes bolstered with excerpts of his anecdotes. I liked his idea of using an electric skillet for cooking with children.
29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Feed Your Baby Food! June 4 2009
By K. Heine - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I finished this book today and gave it to my husband so he could read it while on a business trip. I am already regretting that decision because I won't have Hungry Monkey in my hands again for 6 whole days. As soon as I read the last page I wanted to start over again with some little sticky flags in my hand to mark recipes I wanted to try and passages where Amster-Burton says specifically that kaiten sushi is ideal baby food. But no, I was all, "This book is hilarious. It's about cooking and kids and Seattle. You're going to love it. Why don't you take it to LA with you?" And now I can't make dumplings or cornmeal pizza crust until Friday. If you know me at all, and you might not, you'll understand why these four reasons alone merited my five-star rating of Hungry Monkey:

-Amster-Burton writes about Seattle and makes me feel like an insider, even though I live in Bellevue;
-he references Bread and Jam For Frances multiple times, which is possibly the best book ever written;
-he got a 5 on my humor rating scale, meaning I was laughing out loud to myself AND making my husband listen as I read funny parts aloud;
-the way he talks about food and feeding his family is equal parts Anthony Bourdain and M.F.K. Fisher, which is no easy feat.

What I was drawn to most in this book is the author's respect for both his daughter and the food they make together. Their relationship as depicted in the book is really quite lovely and illustrates that one does not have to dumb down conversations, expectations, ideas or flavors just because one lives with someone who happens to be a toddler.

And, on a personal note, as I sat in a nearly empty restaurant today and waited for our order that I could SEE on the warming tray for over 15 minutes (including one child's order of mini hamburgers and grapes...yawn) while my own toddler got increasingly flappy and bouncy in her high chair, I thought about our last visit to our favorite sushi place where she happily ate her fill of tamago sushi and edamame as soon as we sat down. Then I thought about Hungry Monkey and realized that I'm glad to have its message, its spirit and its recipes to guide me through these next several years of eating, cooking and throwing food on the floor.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Hilarious, Insightful, and contains bitchin recipies May 7 2009
By B. Schielke - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Super funny book about the adventures of raising a kid under a foodie's watch. The writing style and pace of the book make it tough to put down. Plenty of bacon and pirate references as any good book should have.

The recipies seem to be pretty dang good. I have made the Phad Thai recipe so far and am going to try out the braised short ribs soon even though my kid can't eat real food yet.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Foodie? Give it a try. Parent? Depends on what you're looking for. Aug. 5 2009
By Jennifer Donovan - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Hungry Monkey: A Food-Loving Father's Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater by Matthew Amster-Burton is many things -- entertaining, mouth-watering, quirky, a bit self-important (as I'm convinced all memoirs are) -- but advice for parents? Not so much.

So--in short, as a parenting book/memoir I give it 3 stars, but as a book for foodies, I'd give it 4. Let's call it 3.5 stars.

Amster-Burton is a foodie. He's not just a foodie, he's a professional food writer/restaurant reviewer. He's the fulltime caregiver for his preschooler Iris, the "hungry monkey" at issue, balancing this freelance work with his parental responsibilities.

If you're a foodie, and can stomach (no pun intended) a little parental bragging (probably no worse than you come across in your typical mom blog or phone call with your first-time parent friend or relation), then I think that you'll enjoy Hungry Monkey. However, if you're expecting to find suggestions on how to convince your young child that he should eat mushrooms, then you're going to be disappointed.

The conclusion that he makes is that kids will eat what they want to eat. Yes, offering variety -- persistently -- is good. Yes, get them involved in helping you make the food. But no, don't expect that just because you and your spouse love hot chilies that your progeny will let you indulge your spicy palate at the family table.

But, if you enjoy food and cooking, you will enjoy reading about his culinary explorations and how the addition of a child changed it somewhat, but not completely. So, in that, it's aptly titled. It is a foodie's quest, and I would say that Iris <em>is</em> more adventurous than most children and many adults.

Each chapter has some sort of a theme, and there are a few recipes at the end of each chapter. They are gourmet, but not daunting, and there are several that I want to try, including his simple pad thai, bibimbap, shrimp and grits, and I have to say that he even made me curious about trying brussels sprouts.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Hilarious, but more entertaining than useful Dec 28 2009
By Silea - Published on
Format: Hardcover
For every parent navigating the choppy waters of transitioning their baby to solid food, the avalanche of information is no help at all. Almost every book/expert on the topic suggests bland, boring foods, introduced at a glacial pace. They also suggest that if your child refuses to eat kale, it's because you didn't present it properly. But for those of us who recoiled at the idea of feeding our child bland rice cereal, wondering how children in India or Jamaica survive given how highly-seasoned all the food is there, and if our kid would ever learn to enjoy bibimbap, there's solace in Hungry Monkey.

Hungry Monkey is, mostly, an account of the author's first few years feeding his daughter real food. It's hilarious, and full of little amusing quotes from the daughter. Each chapter ends with a few recipes, designed in most cases to be relatively quick and easy.

One will quickly notice, however, that these recipes aren't terribly different from recipes in other, non-child-oriented cookbooks. After the first post-breastfeeding chapter, which has useful recipes like creamed spinach, it's just food that the author's daughter likes. Or, often, liked-before-she-developed-the-neophobia-that-nearly-all-children-do.

The utility of this book is mostly the therapeutic consolation it provides. Your kid used to loved yams yesterday, but hates them today? You're not the only parent to go through that. Your kid refuses to eat anything except pizza and PB&J? Again, you're not alone. Your kid ate a huge bowl of white rice, and nothing else, for dinner? Join the club. The recipes that we've tried are pretty good, but nothing about them sets them apart as particularly child-friendly.

Also, it's really, really funny.

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