Friday, October 8, 2021

Q&A with Jenny Chandler



Jenny Chandler is the author of Green Kids Cook: Simple, Delicious Recipes & Top Tips, a new cookbook for kids. Her other books include Cool Kids Cook. She teaches in London and Bath, UK.


Q: What inspired you to write Green Kids Cook?


A: I’m absolutely passionate about getting kids in the kitchen. There’s just no doubt that children who can cook from scratch are more adventurous about what they eat and much more likely to have a healthy diet.


Right now, we’re not just dealing with an obesity crisis, we have climate change to deal with too. We need positive change.


I wrote Green Kids Cook to empower our youngsters to do something practical and fun, engaging and delicious and hopefully instill a love for good, honest food for life.


It’s all about getting more plants on plates, and we could all do with eating more veg’.


Q: How did you choose the recipes to include, and do you have any particular favorites?


A: The recipes in the book are dishes that we really enjoy, and cook regularly, at home as we continue on our journey eating a more veg’-focused diet.

I chose manageable recipes that both kids and adults would enjoy eating. I love recipes such as Minestrone Soup or the Beetroot and Carrot Fritters where different ingredients can be swapped in and out according to the season, what’s in the fridge or personal preferences.


Perhaps if there was one recipe that I’d recommend kicking off with it would be the Green Pea and Coconut Soup - ridiculously easy to make, ridiculously good to eat.


Q: What age group do you think would especially enjoy the book?


A: I think 7-15 year olds will love the independence this book can give them in the kitchen, with recipes they can manage from start to finish.


Having said that, young kids can take on tasks and cook in tandem with adults and I’ve already had some fantastically positive messages from uni’ students using the book too. The key is the simplicity, the step by step instructions. It’s ideal for any novice really.


Q: What links would you like to see kids make between food and environmental health?


A: I’d love children to link their everyday food choices with the health of the planet. It might be as simple as choosing a local apple over an imported banana, making a flapjack at home rather than buying a plastic-wrapped cereal bar or swapping out a few portions of meat for seasonal veg’.


Every step these young people take will make a difference, and in a world where the environmental issues they witness on social media can feel overwhelming, we need to create climate warriors rather than worriers.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Much of my time right now is taken with running workshops with chefs for The Humane Society International. The idea is to get big-scale caterers to increase their use of plants, reducing less sustainable, and particularly factory-farmed, meat.


There is, of course, another book whirring around my head and I’m constantly testing recipes, so do watch this space.


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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