Little chefs

4th July 1997 at 01:00
THE FOOD SERIES. By Jillian Powell. Bread, Eggs, Fish, Fruit, Milk, Pasta, Potatoes, Rice. Wayland Pounds 8.99

Children often have a strong interest in food and are capable of cooking a lot more than fairy cakes. This appealing series explores each food category in a no-nonsense way to provide a comprehensive guide for eight to 11-year olds.

The series makes an excellent resource for food-related work and can be used in a number of ways. Each book looks at the history of the particular food as well as its role in customs and festivals around the world. Photographs of people working in food production encourage pupils to think beyond their own role as consumers. These are a useful addition when viewed alongside those of interesting dishes and people eating in a variety of contexts. There is an element of food science in each book with sections on nutrition and processing which cover difficult concepts in an accessible way. The correct terminology is often used and consequently the glossaries are invaluable.

For food technology work, a discussion of how foods are made or how they respond to heat is vital. These sections are limited in that they do not adequately clarify the functions of foods in a way which would guide children to select ingredients for their own products. The bread book, for example, lacks a basic outline of bread-making. The recipe for banana bread, highlights this problem and could cause confusion.

It is the recipes, many of which are for main meals rather than snacks or cakes, that will be irresistible to many children. It is a shame that only two are included in each book as they are well chosen and challenging without being beyond the capabilities of a supervised key stage 2 pupil. The methods are in simple stages with clear, coloured diagrams and adequate safety instructions. Some interesting foods and techniques are introduced which do much to encourage a mature attitude to food preparation.

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