Sam Stern’s Cooking Up a Storm, the Teen Survival Cookbook – Book Review


Teens, what do we know about this stage of life? To me, it’s a starting point of the road to self discovery. Witnessing a flower bud grooming well in a good soil seems to exude fresh and vibrant energy that merits a peek. Sam Stern’s Cooking Up a Storm, the teen survival cookbook is a perfect example and it’s pleasant to see another young chap hitting a milestone at the start of life.

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Book Description: You gotta eat, right? So you might as well eat food that you like … and maybe even that you made yourself! Whether it’s ginger snaps and fruit smoothies, or lemon roast chicken and pasta with meatballs, British teenager Sam Stern loves to whip up meals for himself and his friends and family. From sweet to savoury and everything in between, Sam’s collection of recipes has something for every taste and occasion. He even offers tips on what food to eat to give your brain an extra edge before big tests and what to chow down on after you’ve been playing sports. Inspired by great British chefs like Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay, and Nigella Lawson, high-school student Sam Stern introduces a fresh new voice in teen cuisine.

You will know when it’s a right path from the spoken words:

“Why do I like cooking? I like the fact when you’re cooking, you’re using your senses. Cooking even makes shopping kind of OK. I like to know where my food’s from. Cooking’s never boring. Once you can do it, you’ll always do it. It’s great to know you can be independent”.[1]

A youth’s perspective:

“A lot of adults these days don’t like to cook, don’t know how to cook, or don’t have the time to cook, which is a bit of a shame, ’cause they’re missing out. Maybe they didn’t get the chance to learn when they were our age. If this is your parents, you can learn how to cook and then do them a really big favour: teach them.[1]”

The book started with him saying,

“None of these recipes are tricky. Some are easy; some are really easy. Some are fast; some take a bit of time. If you’ve taken a cooking class or you already cook at home, you won’t have any trouble getting them down pat. And if you’re a first-time cook, then don’t worry – just follow the recipes.”[1]

Having a good balance of text and images, the content is divided into 13 sections – introduction; brilliant breakfasts; cool, quick lunches; school recovery; evening chill-out; impress your crowd; when friends stop by; weekend family meals; desserts, yum!; party, party, party; exam survival; essential extras; Sam’s top 20 tips and index.

The recommended recipe ideas are easy to follow and covers a good range, from simple-to-make dishes (mashed banana and yogurt bowl, fast Chinese-style Chicken soup), medium-range dishes (French onion soup, pasta with meatballs and tomato sauce) to complicated recipes (lemon roast chicken and best roast potatoes, Thai green curry, char sui pork).

His wealth of knowledge and experience in cooking is pretty impressive, clearly seen in the last three section of the book – exam survival, essential extras and Sam’s top 20 tips.

Catering to the teens of his age group, there’s a special section in the book which sets this cookbook apart from the rest – ‘exam survival’ which offers great tips on what best to eat during examination period when your body is required to function optimally.

The section ‘essential extras’ touches on the basic techniques of sauce-making, salad dressing, stock and more. Sam’s top 20 tips are his sound advices on working in the kitchen – how to respond to situational scenarios such as missing few ingredients, if a pan catches fire, hygiene aspect and more.

A great source of inspiration for growing teens, I must say. 🙂

1. Sam Stern and Susan Stern. Sam Stern’s Cooking up a Storm, the Teen Survival Cookbook (London, Walker Book Ltd, 2005), 1 – 4.

Children-related Book Review Post:
Introducing Solids to Babies After Six Months of Age
Kids can Cook! (2008)

One comment

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