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Starting from Scratch: What You Should Know about Food and Cooking [Hardcover]

Sarah Elton , Jeff Kulak
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 19.95
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Book Description

March 15 2014
Starting from Scratch is a manifesto on food that will help kids relate to what they eat, whether on special occasions or every day, inspiring both budding chefs and budding food lovers in the process. Beginning with an exploration of taste and the way it works, author and food activist Sarah Elton explains how ingredients have been on the move for centuries, resulting in the unique and fusion flavors we love today. She breaks down the science of food and cooking into bite-sized and easily digestible pieces of information that cover everything from the chemistry of heat versus cold, fat versus acid, and salt versus sweet.

Both practical and philosophical in its approach, Starting from Scratch demystifies food and cooking by boiling it down to the basics. Kids will be able to make sense of recipes, measure and substitute ingredients, and stock a pantry, but they’ll also discover that food is more than just a prepackaged meal. Using simple and universal examples, like how an onion is transformed when it’s boiled versus charred, caramelized versus fried, Starting from Scratch will inspire kids to eat better, try new flavors, and understand what’s on their plate.

Even readers who decide the kitchen isn’t for them will leave with an improved sense of where food comes from and be able to join in on a conversation that continues from snack time to dinnertime.

Frequently Bought Together

Starting from Scratch: What You Should Know about Food and Cooking + The Headmaster's Wager
Price For Both: CDN$ 29.56

  • The Headmaster's Wager CDN$ 15.16

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"Starting from Scratch stands out because of its friendly, accessible approach to teaching kids about the importance of healthy eating and preparing your own food. ...Daring and picky eaters alike will feel encouraged to diversify their food choices by taking pride in their own cooking adventures."

"...a book I'd heartily recommend for elementary and middle school classrooms and libraries. Elton doesn't just talk about cooking and baking; she talks about nutrition, science and ethics as well."
(Julie Danielson)

"Elton's insightful text is punctuated by Kulak's quirky, vintage art ... a sumptuous treat for any budding foodie to digest."

"A well-organized, descriptive book about the science, history, and tools of cooking and food. ... This book will supplement the 641 section by adding a food science and history dimension that is rarely seen at the intermediate level."
(Carrie Randall)

"Novice cooks of all ages will find Starting from Scratch an invaluable basic food preparation curriculum. Highly recommended!"

"There are so many possible ways for teachers to use this book ... [it] deserves a place in every middle school (and yes, high school) library's nonfiction collection."

"There's more than enough in this encouraging book to get aspiring chefs started and plenty for confirmed foodies who enjoy working in the kitchen."

"For those kids who love cooking and eating, this title should be required reading ... written in a clear and engaging style, this title has plenty of kid appeal."

"A lively, colorful and matter-of-fact introduction to the culture of food ... what will make the volume of interest to young readers are the eye-catching art and the many fascinating tidbits of information."

About the Author

SARAH ELTON is an author and journalist who specializes in writing about food. Her bestselling books for adults include Consumed: Food for a Finite Planet and Locavore: From Farmers’ Fields to Rooftop Gardens, How Canadians Are Changing the Way We Eat. A food columnist for CBC Radio's Here and Now, she lives in Toronto. Visit sarahelton.ca and find Sarah on Twitter @SarahAElton.

JEFF KULAK is an Edmonton-born, Montreal-based designer-illustrator. From his studio, a converted room in a former nunnery, he creates art for books, magazines, album covers, and event posters.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars More Bookish Thoughts... June 16 2014
By Reader Writer Runner TOP 50 REVIEWER
Previously known for her adult non-fiction titles, "Locavore" (2010) and "Consumed" (2013), CBC Radio food columnist Sarah Elton has entered uncharted territory with "Starting from Scratch." She aims her new book at kids though newbie chefs of any age would appreciate this engaging and informative introduction to food and cooking.

Elton covers a wide range of topics here: the history of various international culinary traditions, the science of cooking, instructions on following a recipe, tips for organizing and stocking your kitchen and, of course, advice on beginning to cook. While the book’s early chapters deal mostly with food culture, Elton immediately works interactive elements into the pages.The “no-smell challenge,” for example, asks readers to taste the difference between an apple and an onion with their noses plugged by clothespins. Further along in the book, Elton offers simple recipes including pasta sauce, granola, and oatmeal cookies. Brief sections on food security and labels (organic, free-range etc) give older readers pause for thought. Finally, appendices include more recipes and a guide to pairing flavours as well as several handy measurement-conversion charts.

"Starting from Scratch" shines because of its friendly, accessible approach to teaching kids about the importance of healthy eating and food preparation. Although packed with information, the text never seems dense or overwhelming thanks to its presentation in easily digestible blocks of print and colourful sidebars. Jeff Kulak’s fun, bright illustrations add a whimsical touch and inspire readers to take pride in their own cooking adventures.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Aug. 18 2014
Back to basics in a fun way. Great for kids, interesting for adults too.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars 4.5 stars: Entertaining, practical intro to the practical science of cooking Aug. 3 2014
By Cissa - Published on Amazon.com
First, I need to say- this is a book for kids, maybe through young teens. It goes into enough depth to give a good grasp of many of the various aspects of cooking, from a practical-science perspective, but it may not get into enough depth for adults.

Second- NO recipes. Not a one. While everything in the book can be used to prepare and improve recipes found elsewhere, it doesn't include any. I can see the point, but personally I would have preferred a few simple ones that illustrated the points being made.

The text is entertaining and very readable, and accurate to the best of my knowledge (and I am something of a food prep nerd). The layout is great, including the illustrations, and make it fun to read.

I think if I were to give this to a kid getting interested in cooking, I'd accompany it with a solid recipe book. so s/he can apply their new knowledge as well as just read about it. I think it would be a great resource for homeschoolers, too- cooking is one of the best ways of showing kids how math really IS practical! I'll also mention that the other female chem majors I knew in college ALL got into chemistry through our love of cooking!

While it's not quite what I was hoping for when I bought it, I think it's an excellent book and fills a gap, especially for kids who want to know "why?" about everything!
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Introduction to the Joys of Cooking March 19 2014
By Dee Long - Published on Amazon.com
Many kids in the 21st century who are in danger of thinking that food only comes in packages will benefit from this handsomely illustrated guidebook that offers an inviting invitation to young people to get cooking in the kitchen using fresh ingredients. Topics range from why some foods taste sweet or salty to the importance of proper measurements, why recipes are useful, to basic safety when using a knife and other kitchen tools. Parents and kids would benefit by reading this book together, then commiting to preparing a meal together with the entire family at least once a week!
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