Review Blog

Dec 16 2012

Stefan Gates incredible edibles: a science flavoured cookbook by Steven Gates

cover image

Walker books, 2012. ISBN 978146339062.
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Food and science. Humour. A sumptuously illustrated foodie science book with loads of recipes and how to hints, this book will be readily picked up by boys particularly in the upper reaches of primary school. Girls will grab it when it is left on the shelf with similar eagerness. Gates' aim of debunking some of the fears kids have about food, of encouraging them to try something new, of seeing old things (like Brussell Sprouts, for example) with new eyes, is well conceived and outlined in this great book.
Divided into two major sections, Mad Recipes and then Crazy Experiments, means that some truly billious things are explained, discussed and photographed. Within the mad recipes section kids will find Snot and foot soup, Flowerpot bread, Car engine kebabs, for example, littered with sections which tell you about eating insects or Durian fruit. All is designed to use the gross, the unusual, the grotty and the nasty to get kids' interest burning. How could they not read about making your farts even smellier and making your wee red, or cooking salmon in the dishwasher?
Interspersed with these oddball pages and photos are included little side panels with even more grotty and ugly foodie things: watch out for eating insects, or field rats, or deep fried scorpions, or bee vomit. If that hasn't put you off, the second section advises kids on a variety of things, vegetable instruments and cola fountain. And again, little side panels give a host of the oddest snippets of information, making the whole a fascinating and very funny study of food.
I can imagine hosts of kids pouring over this book, taking it home to try things out, and teachers taking sections to have a play with a class, or kids just having fun reading the side panels. Along the way some serious information is given or themes discussed, like the problem with food aid, and more trivially, why onions make you cry. All in all a fabulously funny and entertaining book with some great recipes and stories along the way designed to encourage kids' interest in food. And I will certainly try out the flowerpot bread, meal in a loaf, and really hot chocolate.
Fran Knight

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