By: Esme Washburn

Photography by: Calista Washburn

Published: April 2, 2019

Publisher: Prestel Junior


Esme and Calista Washburn are sisters. Esme is a middle schooler and amateur chef who learned everything she knows from her grandmother. Calista recently graduated from high school and is a budding photographer and is always willing to try Esme’s recipes. The two of them have teamed up to make a simple cookbook for preteens to begin getting comfortable in the kitchen. But, frankly, I liked using this cookbook just as much as a kid would.

The cookbook includes all the basic categories of food including breakfast, lunch, appetizers, mains, sides, and desserts. But there are only 2-4 recipes per section so it isn’t too overwhelming for kids. New chefs can get comfortable making a few recipes and not feel like they need to know how to make everything.

The introduction includes a glossary of cooking terms and techniques, important tips on measurements, and safety information. Then the kids can dig right into the recipes.

Each recipe includes ingredients and directions written in the easiest format. The photos to go along with each recipe are really well done. Calista’s photography makes each dish look completely appetizing!

I made the Ultimate Banana Bread since it was a bit different from the recipe I usually use and I happened to have some ripe bananas on hand. The “secret” ingredient to Esme’s moist banana bread was yogurt. This definitely gave the banana bread a moist texture and our family gobbled it up!

The other recipe I tried was Crispiest Breaded Chicken. I used chicken tenders (on the left in the above photo) and tilapia (on the right in the above photo). The recipe was well-explained and was quite quick to make.

The fish fried up nicely and made for a delicious supper.

I am anxious to try several other recipes in the cookbook including hummus and Esme’s chocolate chip cookies that she has been tweaking and adjusting to make them the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

I could see grandparents getting this to have a cooking day with grandkids. I could also see purchasing this for your kids to help them gain a bit more responsibility in the family and having them be in charge of supper maybe once a month. For kids that might want a bit of a challenge, Esme shares how to make your own fresh pasta and homemade tomato or pesto sauce.

If you have a child who wants to learn more about cooking or is interested in being a bit more independent then I highly recommend this cookbook for them. Your family will appreciate all the delicious meals your child makes for you!

To purchase a copy of 20 RECIPES KIDS SHOULD KNOW, click the photo below:

I will be linking up this review on Booking Mama’s regular Saturday feature, Kid Konnection. This is a place for bloggers to share posts related to children’s and YA books. You will find spotlights, reviews, and sometimes even giveaways by clicking HERE, every Saturday.

I will be linking up this post as part of Beth Fish Reads’ Weekend Cooking. Weekend Cooking is open to anyone that has a food-related post to share including a book review (fiction or non-fiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. Grab the button and link up on Saturdays, but you can post any day of the week. To see all the Weekend Cooking posts and this week’s link-up, click, HERE.

Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to purchase through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.

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  1. Beth F on July 20, 2019 at 3:29 pm

    I love this book too and I so appreciate that the recipes aren’t childish, though a child could make them. I was also impressed with the range of dishes Esme made.

    • Stacie on July 25, 2019 at 3:43 pm

      Yes, even though it is targeted to kids, I feel it has a grown-up look.

  2. mae on July 20, 2019 at 8:28 pm

    Cooking for kids is a category that’s been overwhelmed by Youtube, I suspect. Buzzfeed 2-minute recipes. All those busy hands flying around with a final sigh of satiation! This sounds like a more serious approach to kids cooking.

    best… mae at maefood.blogspot.com

    • Stacie on July 25, 2019 at 3:42 pm

      Definitely and that it doesn’t happen as fast or as mess-free as the videos look.

  3. Carole from Carole’s Chatter on July 20, 2019 at 8:53 pm

    Going to order this one. Cheers

  4. bermudaonion (Kathy) on July 21, 2019 at 1:29 am

    I flipped through this cookbook and thought a lot of the recipes looked great. I’ve bought all the ingredients to make her bread recipe but haven’ t had time to try it yet.

  5. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz on July 21, 2019 at 12:17 pm

    I was just talking to my son and daughter-in-law about good cookbooks for beginning cooks, and this looks like it might be perfect. So many cookbooks make it look like you have to have a college degree before you can prepare a decent meal! But if you have never learned to cook (say, because your mom was an amazing cook and never let you help….) you need a book like this. Thanks for sharing it.

    • Stacie on July 25, 2019 at 3:41 pm

      Yes, it is very introductory with just a few recipes for each category so not to overwhelm. Also gives an opportunity to master a few recipes before moving on to harder recipes.

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