When we first met twin chefs Lilly and Audrey, they were inspirational Citizen Kids who had been cooking since they were just four years old. Now they can add “published authors” to their list of culinary achievements. This week, the girls released their first cookbook, “We ♥ Cooking,” a beautiful and family-friendly collection of their favorite recipes. (Bonus points: there are pictures of every recipe. We love cookbooks that do that.)
Here’s the thing about Citizen Kids – they don’t let the fact that they’re young stop them from breaking down barriers or learning new skills. In their journey as chefs, Lilly and Audrey have had experience trying to find classes that suited their culinary aspirations and found that, while fun, “they didn’t always test our limits.”
“It’s kind of hard to be taken seriously when you’re maybe six years old and you really want to make something difficult, and you’re told that it’s best to throw cheese on top of a pizza and call it a recipe,” Audrey says of the cooking classes they tried when starting out. It’s no wonder that their book definitely reflects the idea that, though counters are tall and stoves are hot, kids can be chefs too.
The colorful book, subtitled “totally tasty food for kids who love to cook,” is unique for treating kids like capable individuals in the kitchen. In fact, it’s probably the only cookbook for kids out there that explains what mise en place is and the right way to zest a citrus.
Though the girls have always had tons of support from their families, and are huge advocates of supervision in the kitchen (“safety is very important!”), they’re wise beyond their years in instructing kids to make sure their parents don’t help them too much.
“Maybe tell your adult helper that you really want to do this yourself, and even if you are doing something wrong, maybe don’t have them fix it for you unless it’s dangerous.”
Being a real chef in the kitchen also means expanding your palette, and the girls don’t play it safe in their first publication. They go global with the recipes, including things many of us probably thought were potentially “icky” until we were well into our teens. Grilled cheese with Gruyere instead of slices of orange stuff, a curry bar, fig canapés – even the addition of chopped flat leaf parsley to lettuce cups is pretty adventurous compared to the normal recipes we think kids would want to eat, let alone cook themselves. Audrey’s favorite recipe in the book is the breakfast chilaquiles, while Lilly loves them all too much too choose.
The girls most wanted to create a series of recipes that would be great for the whole family: “All of the recipes in here are things you can make together,” says Audrey. According to Lilly, cooking has always been a family affair, and it comes through in the types of foods they’ve grown to love. “Instead of having a family game night or family movie night, our family would spend time together cooking. That was our time to talk about how our day went… so food for us is a family thing.”
Make sure to check out their new book, “We ♥ Cooking,” now available for purchase. Learn more about raising Citizen Kids and submit your own story or short video or ordinary kids doing extraordinary things.More On