Starting from Scratch author interview by Tara Noland

Tara Noland


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Starting from Scratch by Sarah Elton


I had the pleasure to speak with Sarah Elton the author of Starting From Scratch on the phone, after given this book for review, and ask her a few questions and chat about my favorite topic, FOOD!!

This is Sarah’s third book and a perfect addition for our growing kids section here in The Kitchen at BonBon Break. I asked Sarah what inspired her to to write Starting from Scratch. She told me with our busy schedules that children are now becoming disconnected from the kitchen, but this is an important life skill that needs to be taught. She related it to skills like tying your shoes and crossing the street safely. This book empowers kids with the knowledge they need in order to cook a meal. In the past, people learned how to cook by watching their parents (usually mothers and grandmothers) in the kitchen. But as a society, we are cooking from scratch less frequently, and lots of skills and knowledge have been lost. This book steps in to fill this gap and brings kids back into the kitchen where they can have fun making yummy food.

I also asked her why she started her book with a chapter on taste. Sarah explained that for kids, taste is important, something that adults take for granted. Food also has sound and that has a big impact too, the crunch of an apple, the pouring of tea. All of these things are important to have a healthy connection to food. We don’t talk a lot about taste in North America not like in France, where schools spend one week every autumn just teaching kids to taste their food so they can enjoy it more!! This particular section of the book is to awaken kids to what’s happening in their mouths and their noses and their brains when they eat. She found that younger people respond very well to suggestion that they should slow down and take the time to think about all the different ways they taste their food.

As a mother of two young children, Sarah started her little ones, as early as two-and-a-half, with butter knives cutting mushrooms. Her six year old can now make dressing with confidence (although she does hover so the oil doesn’t gush out of the bottle as she pours). Sarah introduces her readers to four basic recipes, pasta sauce, lentil soup, granola and oatmeal cookie to offer kids a choice to free them from common supermarket staples, pre-made pasta sauce, canned soup, boxed cereal and packaged cookies, all full of sugar, sodium and insanely long ingredient lists.

Next, we discussed what her memories of her favorite recipes were growing up as a child and something that she still makes today. With a perfect French accent she said, “Crepes”, that she still cooks to this day the way her family did when she was a child. She spent a lot of time playing at her grandmother’s feet as she cooked. Cakes and chocolate chip oatmeal cookies came up next, but she then remembered one of her favorite cookbooks that she used growing up, The Moosewood Cookbook. Her family, when she was  a child would make vegetarian and healthy meals from this cookbook written by Mollie Katzen. Mollie is kind of a idol to her, and to this day with a child with Celiac disease and husband that doesn’t like meat, she cooks mainly vegetarian. She loves to cook ethnic meals such as Indian, Vietnamese, Asian, Thai and European.

Starting from Scratch is a great education tool that could work for children all the way up to university age. Older readers will be able to take the information and begin to apply it to a more creative approach to cooking. Younger readers will enjoy the vibrant illustrations by Jeff Kulak an award winning illustrator and designer with numerous books to his credit. He lives in Montreal.

Starting from Scratch will inspire kids to eat conscientiously, try new flavors and understand what’s on their plate.

If you click on the picture here you will be able to purchase this book for yourself or the kids in your life and BonBon Break gets a little monetary contribution from Amazon.

Sarah EltonABOUT SARAH ELTON: Sarah is an author and journalist who specializes in food writing. Her books for adults include Consumed: Sustainable Food for a Finite Planet and Locavore: From Farmer’s Fields to Rooftop Gardens-How Canadians Change the Way We Eat. A frequent contributor to CBC Radio, she lives in Toronto with her husband and two young kids. This is her first book for children.

Follow Sarah Elton on her Website | Twitter


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