Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Twist It Up

Twist It Up
by Jack Witherspoon

The author of this book is not your average chef.  The way he came to be interested in cooking and then writing a cookbook is truly inspiring.  When Jack was only 2 years old he was diagnosed with leukemia.  He spent the next 3 1/2 years in treatment.  After he recovered, his doctors told his parents that if the leukemia returned, he would only have a 50/50 chance.  When Jack was 6 his leukemia returned.  But, once again, Jack beat the disease.  It was during this time he developed his interest in food and cooking.  His treatments left Jack too tired to do much else than watch television.  One day he happened upon the Food Network.  That was the start of a new interest.  A year into the treatments a family friend, who owned a restaurant, offered to do a fund raiser and Jack would be the one to do the cooking.  It was a huge success and the proceeds went to the Jonathan Jaques Children's Cancer Center where Jack had had his treatments.  One thing led to another and Jack ended up writing this cookbook.
Oh, did I mention that by the time this book was published Jack was just 11 years old?  Pretty amazing.  Sadly, just before this book was released, the unthinkable happened.  Jack's leukemia came back for a third time.  But this story has a happy ending.  Jack has recovered and is doing well.  You can follow Jack on his blog and read more of his amazing and inspiring story, just click here.

Now, about the cookbook itself.  This book contains over 60 of Jack's favorite comfort food recipes.  It is well laid out and there are beautiful color pictures of each of the recipes.  Jack includes a personal note about each recipe.  Also included is his signature "Twist it up" of the title.  The twist could be a substitution or suggested pairing.  I like the recipes because they are all pretty simple and use basic ingredients.  The section on School-Night Dinners might even get your kids inspired enough to want to help in the kitchen.

If I have leftover turkey from my Christmas dinner I plan to try Jack's Favorite Turkey Stroganoff.  The recipe calls for ground turkey but I think this would be a nice change from leftover turkey sandwiches.
The Maple Syrup Whipped Cream is fabulous on pumpkin pie, just as Chef Jack suggests.  I also found it great for dipping gingersnap cookies or apple wedges into.

Other kids cookbooks you might like:

New Junior Cook Book by Better Homes and Gardens

Kids' Fun & Healthy Cookbook By Nicola Graimes

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