A cookbook? Something that looks like a book but isn’t? Or something else to chew on?
MasterChef Junior Cookbook
Are your kids crazy about the food shows on TV? Do they dream of competing on MasterChef Junior? This cookbook is a compilation of 100 recipes inspired by the dishes made during the first five seasons of the show. Each recipe names the young chef who inspired the dish and the season they appeared on the program. We tested the book with two cooks, eight- and six-years old. We made the Pappardelle with No Vodka Sausage Sauce from season three and the Lemon-Basil Cupcakes from season two. These were great recipes, although neither of our young chefs would have been able to tackle them on her own. We think this is a great book for learning to cook together. The food is terrific and the techniques are solid. Even if you’re not cooking with kids, you’ll find this a great cookbook.
$19.99. Available at bookstores.
NovelTea Teas: Literary-Inspired Tea Caddies
Is there a book-loving-tea-drinker among the children on your gift list? Order this present and NovelTea Tins will send them a colorful book-size metal tin, about 6 inches wide, 8 inches tall and 2 inches deep. The tin looks just like a book, but open it and inside are bookmarks and a one-, two- or three-ounce packet of tea. We tried “Oliver Lemon Twist.” The green and gold jacket calls to mind the Charles Dickens classic and the tea inside was a mix of green tea, ginger root, lemongrass and lemon myrtle. Very lemony and delicious. It all feels very English, so the tea is loose and the directions call for 3 grams (a scant tablespoon) of tea per cup. There’s a “Down the Rabbit Hole” collection with “Anise in Wonderland,” “Pu’er Rabbit” and “Pekoe Pan.” You can tell the book lovers who created these tins are having fun with the idea and your recipient will as well. (And yes, there are more adult-themed varieties as well like their “Matcha Do About Nothing.”)
$29 per tin. novelteatins.com
Simply Gum Natural Chewing Gum and Mints
Scientists have studied it – chewing gum wakes us up and can even boost mental performance. Adults sometimes use gum and mints to freshen their mouths and their breath between meals. Kids sometimes chew gum because it gives them something to do. But what’s in those sticks and squares? Generally chewing gum is made with a plastic base that lets you chew and chew and chew. Plastic? The folks at Simply Gum wanted to do better. They make gum with simple, natural ingredients: organic raw cane sugar, natural chicle (the sap of a tropical tree which is what started people chewing gum in the first place), organic vegetable glycerin, organic rice flour and natural flavorings. The gum is available in cinnamon (our favorite), fennel, mint, ginger, coffee and maple. You can feel good about using it yourself and giving it to your kids. They also make mints in mint, ginger and cinnamon. There’s no excuse to litter because each package of gum comes with “post chew wraps.” Brilliant. They even offer a subscription service.
Order online and it’s $15.99 for a package with six boxes of gum in one flavor, or one package with a box of each of the six flavors. The mints are sold in a six-pack of tins, also $15.99. Both available at simplygum.com. Or individual packages of gum and tins of mints are available at Whole Foods, Cost Plus, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie.