Fremantle Press (2013)
Reviewed by Pearl Maya
Traditionally there were really only two way to learn how to cook: one was by watching the adults around you in the kitchen and the second was at school where they might covered the basics but rock cakes are, well, not that thrilling.
And then along came MasterChef and it’s offspring Junior MasterChef and millions of people, young or old, seem to have caught the cooking bug and have headed to the kitchen with Michelin star ambitions. Jake’s Cooking Craze, by Western Australian author Ken Spillman, captures the passion of the MasterChef phenomena to a T. In this edition of the Jake series, we follow young Jake as he catches the cooking bug, with Dad and Nana egging him on and forgiving his mistakes, culinary or otherwise.
We start with Jake’s first dish of “boiled sweet potato (and) baked beans topped with a sauce that blended everything in the kitchen door”. After being offered some guidance from Nana, and dismissing the basics as “boring”, Jake heads off to discovery great gastronomic delights of the TV inspired. From there it seems only a short step until Jake finds himself cooking for his school.
With a heavy dollop of humor, and the occasional in-joke to amuse their parents listening to their child read, carefully mixed with a dramatic illustrations, a serving of school yard dramas and a pinch of culinary education, Jack’s Cooking Craze is a great read, whether you have the craze or not.