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Hungry Monkey:
A Food-Loving Father's Quest to Raise an Adventurous Eater
By Matthew Amster-Burton
ISBN: 0151013241
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: May 2009
Format: Hardcover
Number of recipes: 53
List price: $23
Type: Memoir; Kids
Sample recipe: Sticky Chinese-Style Spareribs
Intended audience: novice advanced beginner good home cook gourmet professional
Apparent goal: stocking stuffer sampler comprehensive encyclopedia coffee-table
Meal part: breakfast brunch lunch dinner dessert
Competition: outclassed a bit behind in the pack strong challenger likely champ
Variety: too little too much unusual nice mix just right
Practical recipes: <20% <40% <60% <80% ≥80%
# of ingredients: ≤4 ≤7 ≤10 ≤12 >12
Ingredient hunt: airfare required online specialty store supermarket pantry
Recipe complexity: too hard simple medium challenging professional
Instructions: inadequate verbose minimal complete educational
Time conscious: not conscious bald lies white lies realistic scout's honor
Cooking time: weekend project takes all day takes time ≥30 minutes <30 minutes
Added info: zip overwhelming scant ample generous
Photos/drawings: none drawings b&w photos occasional color all color
Recipe results: ≤dorm food casual food family meals fancy food fit for royalty
Nutritional info: none overwhelming hit or miss adequate comprehensive
Format/Ease of Use
Layout: ugh cluttered fine kind work of art
Legibility: unpleasant challenging ok clear brilliant
Production quality: cheesy delicate years of service gift quality stunning
Page numbers: hard-to-find spotty sufficient most pages every page
Table of contents: missing frustrating minimal helpful excellent
Index: none confusing adequate nice a treasure
Page flipping: upsetting tedious acceptable rare never
Writing history: beginner writer/journalist food writer writing cook personality
Cooking heritage: unknown self-taught teacher chef celebrity
Fulfills ambitions: falls short satisfactory successful exceeds home run
Flavor delivered: sad inconsistent tasty delicious exceptional
Overall tone: sterile trying too hard straightforward good friend mom
Value: ouch! a little pricey worth splurging on the money a deal
Overall rating: skip it good very good excellent Ochef Top 100

Comments: This is not a book about how to raise children, how to raise them to be good eaters, what foods (your) children will like or not like, or tricks that will almost certainly work to open the mouths and minds of children learning to eat new foods.

It is the story in great detail about how one food writer cooked for his charming, precocious, only-child daughter in food-obsessed Seattle from birth to age four. As long as you realize this relates to one father and one daughter – and contains few or no universal truths – you will almost certainly find it charming.

Matthew Amster-Burton does take on some of the "conventional wisdom" of how you introduce new foods slowly, how to avoid spicy foods, how to sneak in vegetables, how to avoid sugar and sweets, that are interesting and occasionally unexpected whether you have children or not. But in general, this is how one dad is trying to raise an adventurous eater. (For the record, the jury is still out….)

The writing is quite a bit like that of Robert Fulghum (All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, etc., etc.). With short. Sentences. Here and there. A joke. Or witty comment. If you like Robert Fulghum, you'll love Matthew. Amster-Bur.ton.


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