Summer time is a great time for family activities.  How about cookin' up
some great food that can be prepared by young and old?

"There's a Chef in my Family!", by Emeril Lagasse, is a cook book that is
geared for all ages in the kitchen.  Emeril has broken down each recipe so
that it's easy to follow and read.  He has listed each step with numbers, as
well as his opinions, to help navigate the cooks toward a yummy success.
Here are a few of the 77 recipes that are included:  He has a recipe for
making a fresh, homemade bagel.  Now, I don't know about you, but I would
never try making a bagel from scratch when you can buy them everywhere.  But
the recipe looks so inviting and fun that even the title draws you in.
"Yes-You-Can Bagels" have a two page lay-out that gives just enough
information to make you want to dive right in.  The end result will surely
make you want to bite right in.  I also found a very simple recipe for a
lettuce salad that has some flavorful helpful hints making it a most
memorable lettuce salad.

Emeril has his chapters of recipes progressing through the day beginning
with a bounty of breakfast food and ending with some sweet delights.  I
especially like the way he begins this oversized book with a complete
section of helpful hints of cooking as well as an illustrated section on the
materials needed for success.  Helpful illustrations, by Charles Yuen, are
throughout the book as well as ingenious photographs, by Quentin Bacon, of
family members cooking.


Disney has assembled two family cook books that encourage parents and
children to get their hands involved in some serious cooking.  "Family Fun
Fast Family Dinners" is loaded with great meal recipes that are geared for
all ages.  The four chapters include soups and salads, main dishes, side
dishes and dessert.  There are additional recipes on many of the side bars
of the featured recipes that will appeal directly to youngsters.  For
instance, the delicious looking "Pork on a Bun" recipe has a smaller recipe
called "Hot Dog Octopus" which is easily made by slicing a hot dog into
several long pieces and laying it on a bed of spinach pasta.  "Family Fun
Super Snacks" has a similar layout with four chapters and great kid-friendly
additions.  The chapters are divided into fruits and vegetables, chips and
munchies, finger food and treats.  One of many easy, but yummy, recipes has
an apple and cheese kebab.  On the side bar, there is a great idea of making
a fruit worm kebab.

Disney has another recipe book that is written by the renowned chef, Ira L.
Meyer.  He came up with a unique idea of combining animated movies and
recipes.  "Disney Recipes: From Animation to Inspiration" by Meyer, and
edited by Marcello Garofalo, is a culmination of some of the greatest movies
with delicious recipes that seem to go hand in hand.  Included in this
creative combo is "Snow White's Winter Vegetable Soup,  Merlin's Magical
Broth, Ariel's 'Under the Sea' Tempura and Captain Hook's Codfish Fillet".
This large book is full of wondrous illustrations of not only prepared
dishes but of scenes from the actual movie and even renderings of the
characters throughout.  Also, there are tips to get the kids involved in the
cooking and 8 chapters of some of the tastiest food ever!  The pictures
alone will draw children of all ages to want to try one of these appetizing


Now how about some building, experimenting, acting, singing and creating for
a family activity?  "A Lithgow Palooza!  101 Ways to Entertain and Inspire
Your Kids", by John Lithgow, is a magical book of imagination.  The chapters
alone will spark ideas from you and your children.  Some of the eleven
chapter headings include ideas for performing, word-play, music, dance, art
and animals.  There's even a chapter on ideas while on your vacation.  (This
chapter alone, is worth buying the book.)  The layout is so family-friendly
that ideas will start popping out by merely turning the pages!

What I like best about these activities is that all family members become
actively involved together to create and achieve their goal.  The other
great thing about these activities is that there is a lot of engaged reading
that teaches children life skills that apply reading to the importance of
following directions correctly.  So, what are you waiting for?  Summer
time's a 'wasting!