The Washington Post

A cookbook to end all cookbooks

(Courtesy of Anne Prince)

My family is on the verge of joining an elementary school community in the fall. I had been worried about how my daughter would do in her first full-day real school.

Now I have a new fear: How will I do?

The prospects are not good, I’m thinking, as I leaf through “Let’s Eat In! Family Tested Recipes From Around the World and Around Your Block,” just published by the Northwest D.C .Janney Elementary School PTA. I’m serious; this cookbook is serious.

“We didn’t want to do a spiral-bound directory of macaroni-and-cheese casseroles and brownies,” said Anne Prince, a co-editor of this gorgeous publication. Instead, the group produced a 260-page professionally published, designed and illustrated metaphor for Washington Region Parental Overachievement.

Bookending the recipes for Rolled Flank Steak Stuffed With Spinach and Roasted Red Peppers and Fallen Chocolate Souffle Cake, there are adorably decorated children’s vignettes about their young love of food.

I’d have a hard enough time contributing a recipe that meets these standards, let only deserving a spot on an acknowledgement page that thanks parents for donating “hundreds of hours of time.”

It’s not just the $20 book either. There’s also a sleek Web site with so many pathways it’d take a week to explore, a regularly updated Facebook page and at least one corporate partnership.

It is all, of course, for a good cause. Hundreds of copies have already sold, according to Prince, and profits are intended to support a planned community garden.

Still, I’m scared to leave preschool.


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