The Sylvia Center has one basic mission: to get kids excited about good food. Through classes around New York City and field trips to their farm in Hudson Valley, the Center gives children hands-on experience with fruits, vegetables, and other ingredients — showing them where all these ingredients come from and how make them into a meal. And now Sylvia Center has released this cookbook, which not only gathers all their tried-and-true kid-happy recipes in one place, but also provides us with plenty of cooking tips and ingredient notes so we can get the Sylvia Center experience no matter where we live.
• Who wrote it: Liz Neumark
• Who published it: Knopf
• Number of recipes: Around 200
• Recipes for right now: Panzanella with Heirloom Tomatoes and Anchovy-Caper Dressing, Hudson Valley Corn Bisque, Grain-Stuffed Peppers, Eggplant Caponata, Roasted Chicken with Basil and Caramelized Shallots, Chipotle-Honey Barbecued Baby Back Ribs, Red Snapper Fish Tacos with Pineapple Salsa, Spaghetti with Burst Cherry Tomatoes, Carrot-Ginger Squares
• Other highlights: In the introduction, Liz Neumark refers to this as a "family cookbook," and I really like that idea. This is a cookbook that's meant to be used — it's meant to be read out loud with your kids, picked over for recipes, splattered with sauce, and marked with notes.
I also suspect that you — and your kids — will discover something new every time you open this book. At first, you might be drawn to the familiar comfort foods like mac n' cheese and roasted chicken. But as you get comfortable with these, you'll notice recipes on the adjoining pages for things like sweet potato gnocchi and turkey burgers flavored with tamarind paste. Don't know how to cook with tamarind? No worries. You'll find a helpful descriptions for this and other key ingredients located right next to the recipe.
This feeling of discovery supports the sense that this cookbook is a kind of classroom. You're not meant to go through it linearly; instead, you find a recipe or an ingredient that draws you in and that becomes the starting place for lessons in ingredient sourcing, cooking techniques, and even basic math and science skills.
• Who would enjoy this book? Parents with children, especially with children who are getting curious about food and are old enough to start helping in the kitchen.
Find the book at your local library, independent bookstore, or Amazon: Sylvia's Table by Liz Neumark
• Visit the author's website: Sylvia Center
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
(Images: Emma Christensen)