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Kitchen Garden Cooking with Kids : 2nd Edition - Stephanie Alexander

Kitchen Garden Cooking with Kids

2nd Edition


Published: 22nd August 2012
Ships: 5 to 9 business days
5 to 9 business days
RRP $39.99

Stephanie Alexander's philosophy is that there is no such thing as special food for children: if food is good, everyone will enjoy it regardless of age. This revised edition of Kitchen Garden Cooking with Kids tells the inspiring story of the garden and cooking program Stephanie initiated in a large inner-city school in Melbourne in 2001. Since then, the program has given thousands of children, at 260 primary schools around Australia, the opportunity to plant, harvest, cook and eat the very best kind of food – freshly grown, organic, unprocessed and delicious.

Gathered here are 120 of Stephanie's recipes, all written for children, with simple instructions and lots of fast, fun facts for curious minds. In the same way that The Cooks's Companion changed the culinary habits of a generation, Kitchen Garden Cooking with Kids challenges the eating habits of our children.

'An entirely new approach to cooking with – and feeding – our children.' Australian Women's Weekly

About the Author

For 21 years from 1976, Stephanie Alexander was the force behind Stephanie's restaurant in Hawthorn, a landmark establishment credited with having revolutionised fine dining in Melbourne. From 1997 to 2005 Stephanie, along with several friends, ran the Richmond Hill Café and Larder, a neighbourhood restaurant renowned for its specialist cheese retailing. In her recently published memoir, A Cook's Life, she recounts how her uncompromising dedication to good food has shaped her life and changed the eating habits of a nation.

One of Australia's most highly acclaimed food authors, Stephanie has written fourteen books, including Stephanie's Menus for Food Lovers, Stephanie's Seasons and Stephanie Alexander & Maggie Beer's Tuscan Cookbook (co-author). Her signature publication, The Cook's Companion, has established itself as the kitchen bible in over 400 000 homes. With characteristic determination, Stephanie initiated the Kitchen Garden at Collingwood College in order to allow young children to experience the very things that made her own childhood so rich: the growing, harvesting, cooking and sharing of good food.


What is a kitchen garden? A kitchen garden is a garden created to provide edible, aromatic and beautiful resources for a kitchen. This book tells the story of one garden established in a particular place at a particular time. It does not provide a complete or precise blueprint for making other school gardens. What I do hope is that this story will provide inspiration, motivation and perhaps the underpinnings of a broad philosophy for the teachers, principals and parents setting out to establish kitchen gardens in their own schools, community sites and even private homes.

Just as each kitchen garden is different, each kitchen garden teacher will design their classes accordingly. Six such teachers have participated in the program at Collingwood College at various stages and each has brought with them their own vision of how best to organise the classes. Much of the practical information presented in the following chapters is a synthesis of these individual contributions.

While it is impossible for anyone kitchen garden, and therefore kitchen garden class, to be seen as a template for another, we have worked with children in non-classroom settings now for five years and we know what they respond to and like doing, and the sorts of things that help them learn. Scattered throughout these pages are class plans, ideas for activities and games, and basic equipment lists – information that other schools will be able to use as a starting point for their own class planning.

This is a book about a garden, but it is not a gardening book. You won't find specific information here on, say, the parts of a plant. But it is very much a cookbook, one with plenty of information on seasonal availability of garden produce and recipes that describe how to turn produce into dishes that children will love to cook as well as eat. In all, the book contains around 120 recipes, grouped into thirty-two menus – one for almost every week of the school year. The recipes have been written to be read and cooked by children. All have been tried and tested at Collingwood College, and are equally suitable for children cooking at home with adult supervision.

The cooking program at Collingwood College has never underestimated what children can achieve and what kind of food they will enjoy eating. I have worked as a kitchen volunteer at Collingwood College almost every week for five years. During that time I have watched with delight as small hands have chopped, mixed, rolled, stuffed, shaped and baked an impressive array of ingredients, including produce grown by the children in the garden. And every week, as I have looked at the children arrange their lovely dishes with such pride and care, it has made me sad to realise that so few parents, teachers and policymakers get to see and appreciate what young children are capable of when it comes to the preparation and enjoyment of good food.

Many, many people and organisations have been involved with the Kitchen Garden at Collingwood College, and each has brought with them enormous insight, energy, skills and enthusiasm.

My former personal assistant and co-author Anna Dollard has been there from the beginning. There would be no Kitchen Garden at Collingwood College were it not for Anna. She has been far more than my right-hand person. She has challenged, she has researched, she has refined submissions, she has listened, she has collated and recorded, she has carted manure, she has provided the thermos and, most importantly of all, she has believed in the project from the very first day and has been a loving friend throughout this enormous adventure.

There are a number of other people, and one important organisation, whose contributions have been of such significance that it is hard to imagine how the project could have come together without them. They are: community garden activist Basil Natoli; principal Frances Laurino; vice-principal Stanley Pamieta; school teachers Mary-Ann De Carlo, Ken Watson and Kevin Conroy; garden and kitchen teachers at Collingwood College, Peta Christensen, Liz Moore, Heidi Sanghvi, Peta Heine, Karen Yann and Desley Insall; parent and architect Freda Thornton; gardener Shane Quinn; mother, volunteer and major donor Barbara Heine; the not-for-profit organisation Cultivating Community; and the tirelessly committed volunteer team. The contributions of these people and many, many others are outlined in the following chapters.

But from the beginning the children have been at the heart of the program, and their enthusiastic responses have determined the program's direction more forcefully than anything else. The children have given us the strength and motivation to overcome the numerous obstacles we have faced along the way, including the perennial threat of funding shortfalls and the ongoing quest for more resources
Stephanie Alexander

Stephanie Alexander's early food life was influenced first and foremost by her mother, Mary Burchett, a wonderful cook who was interested not just in recipes, but in the culture that inspired the dish. She was eager to experiment. When she left school she went to the University of Melbourne and then studied to become a librarian (with no thoughts of working with food professionally). She left Australia at the age of 21 to see the world. The world for her at that time was France, and she was delighted to discover that France was every bit as thrilling and satisfying as she had dreamed it would be. In the intervening 40 plus years she has returned as often as possible and, whilst acknowledging change, there remained a value and respect accorded to food that she found renewing and reassuring.

Visit Stephanie Alexander's Booktopia Author Page

ISBN: 9781921383076
ISBN-10: 1921383070
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 22nd August 2012
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 26.1 x 26.1  x 1.6
Weight (kg): 1.18
Edition Number: 2