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Pick up your copy of The Sunday Star paper today (July 8) for a 25% discount on these cookbooks. Look for the coupon in Star2.

Basics To Brilliance – Kids

Author: Donna Hay
Publisher: Fourth Estate
Price: RM112.90

In Australia, Donna Hay is a household name whose cookbooks line bookshelves across the country. Hay’s mastery lies in the fine art of creating simple, effective recipes that are also beautifully photographed. She also has the added allure of being on television and having her own exceedingly popular homeware range, selling everything from aprons to spatulas.

With her latest cookbook, Hay has set her sights on a much younger demographic: kids! Released in tandem with a cooking show, the book is a magical, happy foray into cooking, designed to incite joy in both children and adults alike. Hay (who is a mum herself) says that one of the key things she discovered about getting kids to be involved in the kitchen is to create fun events out of every meal, building dishes out of slumber parties, movie nights and the like.

International foodAs a result, you’ll discover a wonderful array of peppy, child-friendly recipes such as fluffy pancakes, maple butter popcorn, spinach and pumpkin risotto, cheat’s pizza, and chocolate pudding cups. Although the recipes are designed for children to recreate, adults will find themselves salivating over the dishes too.

What’s even more impressive is Hay’s safety tips for kids, including advocating the use of oven gloves and getting parents to help out with certain appliances, certainly useful information for tiny tots with little kitchen experience.

The font is also satisfyingly huge, which makes it easy for children to read and digest.

Ultimately, there’s plenty to love in this wonderful cookbook, which will help get kids interested in exploring their inner kitchen gods/goddesses and will no doubt make them lifelong fans of Hay in the process. – Abirami Durai

Kintsugi Wellness: The Japanese Art Of Nourishing Mind, Body And Spirit

Author: Candice Kumai
Publisher: Harper Wave
Price: RM119.90

international foodAt first I couldn’t remember where I’d come across Candice Kumai before. And then recognition took root and I realised that she was one of my favourite contestants from the very first season of Top Chef, where her bubbly personality shone. Kumai has since gone on to greater heights, publishing multiple bestselling cookbooks and becoming a regular judge on Food Network’s Iron Chef America.

With Kintsugi Wellness, Kumai returns to her Japanese roots, espousing the virtues of kintsugi or repairing broken vessels by sealing them back in place so that they are stronger and better than before. Kumai see this practice as a metaphor for self-healing.

Much of the book is autobiographical, and Kumai writes with so much honesty, it’s as though the book served as a cathartic exercise. And it is these narratives – her trips to Japan, and her formative years with her family – that buoy the book and engender both likability and an endearing quality.

The flip side of this is that because so much of the book is taken up with stories, there aren’t quite as many recipes as you might like – although you will find delicious-looking recipes for yakisoba noodles, Japanese rice porridge and miso chocolate chip cookies.

But perhaps the biggest downside of the book (for me, at least) is the sheer number of pages Kumai dedicates to tips on cultivating sincerity, practising gratitude for the past, meditation, being one with nature, and other nuggets of wisdom that would seem far more suited to a self-help book. Although it is fair to assume that Kumai intended the book to take a holistic approach to kintsugi, incorporating both food and a guide to better living, the latter element offers little appeal to those after a pure cookbook without all the floofy bits and bobs. – AD

Pasta, Pane, Vino

Author: Matt Goulding
Publisher: Harper Wave/Anthony Bourdain
Price: RM136.90

international foodBefore he wrote this book, food and nutrition writer Matt Goulding asked the late Anthony Bourdain, “Does the world need another book about Italian food?”

Bourdain said no, but their correspondence led to the publication of Goulding’s third book under the award-winning food and travel portal he cofounded, Roads & Kingdoms.

Their correspondence introduces this book, and is a tribute to Bourdain’s contribution to food journalism.

Published by Bourdain, Pasta, Pane, Vino is a food travelogue, an exploration of Italy’s cuisine that celebrates the ordinary people who cook with their hearts using skills honed over many generations.

It’s soulful food writing from someone deeply curious about food and eating, how people make food, and how it’s linked to people’s lives and passions.

Goulding takes his readers along to the different provinces in Italy and delves into the local cuisine, culture and influences.

He features people he met, such as the three brothers who became the mozzarella kings of Puglia, the Barolo Boys who turned the hilly Piedmont into one of the world’s great wine regions, and Nonna Anna who has travelled twice to Japan to teach the Japanese how to make ragu.

Be mesmerised as Goulding describes his food adventures, from sitting down to a delicious seafood dinner in a local restaurant in Sardinia to learning how to make pizza in Naples and, of course, pasta. He also gives in-depth information about the history and evolution of Italian cuisine, which add to the fascinating book.

This is not a cookbook but it whets your appetite for authentic Italian food – and it’s definitely the best guide to pore over before your next trip to Italy (you’ll want to book your tickets after you’ve read the book). – Ivy Soon

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