Eat, drink and do it yourself

3rd August 2001 at 01:00
Kate Schofield sets out on a gastronomic tour of the world A WORLD OF RECIPES. Italy; Japan; Mexico; India; Caribbean; China. By Julia McCulloch. Heinemann pound;10.99 each. TES Direct pound;9.99 each.

FESTIVALS COOKBOOK SERIES: Chinese by Stuart Thompson and Angela Dennington Christian by Saviour. Pirotta Hindu by Kerena Marchant Jewish by Ronne Randall. Hodder amp; Stoughton pound;9.99 each TES Direct 9.49 each.

If you are not travelling far this summer, you might like to explore the food of other cultures. A World of Recipes takes you on simple but authentic journeys, with some culinary history and food-related geography, before guiding you through essential ingredients. Although intended for key stage 2 pupils, the recipes are graded according to level of difficulty, and the most complex would be suitable for much older pupils. Instructions are clear, and potentially hazardous procedures are highlighted.

The 17 recipes in each book include colour photographs of processes as well as the finished dish. Alongside obvious choices such as spaghetti bolognese, chicken stir-fry and vegetable biryani, each title includes dishes that will be unfamiliar to most children. These range from soups, main meals, salads and breads, to snacks, puddings (including ice creams that work) and, best of all, a Japanese bento box (lunchbox).

The Festivals Cookbook series will take you on the next stage of your journey, with more detailed background information but fewer recipes. Each book covers two or more religious festivals in depth, looking at the cultural and symbolic significance of the food eaten, regional variations and other celebrations.

Colour photographs accompany each step and show the finished dish, providing an essential visual reference point for inexperienced cooks. The authors have adapted the recipes for children. Onion bhajis and samosas are oven-baked rather than deep-fried and the recipe for coconut barfi, an Indian sweet, avoids the usual method of boiling milk and sugar.

With so many obvious curriculum links, this might be a good time to find a niche for some food-based content in schemes of work. Both these series will make preparation and research a pleasure over the summer, when you are most likely to have time to cook and eat properly.

Bon appetit!

Kate Schofield teaches at Falmer school, Brighton

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