Monday, March 7, 2011

Blast From the Past: Elliot's Extraordinary Cookbook

This morning I woke up with a yen for cinnamon rolls. I possess dozens of cookbooks, yet the one I turn to when I bake these rolls is Elliot's Extraordinary Cookbook by Christina Bjork and Lena Anderson. This delightful book is brought to you by the same team that wrote and illustrated the Linnea books.

More than a recipe book, it tells the story of how Elliot meets his upstairs neighbor, Stella, a grandmotherly type who introduces him to the joys of good food and cooking. Interspersed throughout are a trove of information about the food we eat, such as the history of the potato, the nutrients we need, how an egg cooks, and even a discussion of the digestive system. Considering that the book came out in 1990 it is surprising current, with advice to eat more fiber, fruits, and vegetables, and to consume less sugar.

The recipes are simple and kid-centric.  Each section is devoted to a main ingredient, such as potatoes, milk, eggs, and bread. There are recipes for very young children that require no cooking (make a pear porcupine with half a pear and slivered almonds for the quills) to more elaborate ones for advanced chefs (an apple tart with custard sauce). Instructions are also given on how to make butter, cheese, and grow sprouts. Later on, Elliot attempts his first dinner party and there are recipes for a first course (vegetable dip), main course (spaghetti and meat sauce), and dessert (filled pineapple).

The design and illustrations are charming and kid-friendly, as fans of the Linnea books can easily surmise. Each spread is a feast for the eye, with spots of the main characters cooking, tasting, or investigating food in some way. Sadly, the book is out of print, but anyone who is interested in a remarkable cookbook for children can buy used copies from our friends on Amazon.

Now to get started on those cinnamon rolls!

This week's Nonfiction Monday is at Picture Book of the Day.


  1. My six-year-old is always wanting to help in the kitchen these days, so this book seems especially appealing. Hope those cinnamon rolls turned out well!

  2. Hi Catherine,
    It sounds like a great book. It's a shame it's out of print, and you are lucky to have it in your personal collection.