As a pastry chef and now author a lot of people ask me... How did you come up with this concept for a children’s picture book cookbook? Now I tend to giggle to myself every time someone asks me that because thankfully for me they are excited about my concept and not like oh lord how did you come up with this and who in god’s name published it? Because as an author and as a chef people are always constantly judging what you do. Oh your tart is to sweet, your mousse is to airy, your book is to long, your illustrations are not what I thought they would be. When you enter a career where you are constantly being judged and critiqued it almost becomes second nature to expect people to not like your product whether that be food or books. Once you realize you cannot please everyone and just giggle to yourself the world becomes a much more fun place!
But really how did I come up with Mimi? I have spent a lot of my free time in the bookstore and when I say bookstore I mostly mean the cookbook section. Then one day I decided to roam around a little… I found myself in the magical world of the children’s section. It’s such a bright and colorful place. How could anyone not love being in there... until you see screaming children running frantic through the section because they don’t want to go home. But weirdly enough the screaming and crying inspired me more than anything (I am obviously not a mom because most moms would see and hear that and think nap time which means mommy wine time! Or well that’s what I would probably think if I was a mom)
So through the screaming and crying I thought to myself... self, why is there not more children’s cookbooks? There are some and they are cute and make sandwiches in the shapes of dinosaurs and space ships but why isn’t there a type of cookbook that gears solely just to the development of children learning to cook? Although, let’s be honest what child wants to read a boring cookbook that has some pictures but a whole lot of procedures and recipes and boring stuff.
Through my crazy train of thought I thought to myself …. Self (as you can see I talk to myself a lot!) why is there not a children’s cookbook that is geared to entertaining and teaching kids at the same time? Why is there not something that can keep a child engaged, keep them interested in what they are learning? I think the key to learning is having fun while you learn. Wouldn’t you learn more if you had fun while you were doing it? See I told you! From that point a light bulb went off in my head and I immediately ran home and starting writing and brainstorming all the possibilities of a children’s cookbook. Do the tools talk? Does the mixer teach you what to do? Does the stove teach you about safety? Then I realized I was thinking about this too much. Children want to learn, they are eager to learn. They are a sponge. What they see they embrace and use towards future encounters. If mom and dad watch cooking shows kids want to watch cooking shows. So why not give a child a real life story they can relate to. Why not give them a character they feel comfortable with, one that they can see as their friend. And from there Mimi was born.
It’s funny too because a lot of people are asking me where the name Mimi came from. Well, that is a very funny story or well funny for my family who gave me that nickname. Apparently as a child I could have been a tad on the selfish side (key words “could have been”) because apparently all I said for years was Me me me…. Yes I was one of those kids. Well the name stuck. I have been Mimi for the past 29 years of my life. I am not even joking, you can ask my mom. Trust me she would LOVE to tell the story! (How about we don’t and said we did because if we ask her we may be here for a while)
So Mimi was born! She became a real life character living in her favorite place in the world… her Nonni’s kitchen where she gets to get dirty, play with food, be creative, and really find a happy place where she belongs. She is an everyday little girl eager to learn how to bake. It’s her luck that her grandmother is one of the best bakers around (yes Nonni is based after my own grandmother even though she thought I was selfish and all about me me me she still loved me unconditionally and I think everything turned out just fine!)
Mimi’s Adventures in Baking has been a long time in the making. She has transformed into a brand new form of cookbook for kids that enables them to be hands on in the kitchen, and gain confidence in reading and cooking. This fun book not only teaches you how to bake but also works on counting, measuring and most importantly following directions. I love this book for so many reasons but I love it because it teaches a skill that is fun and interactive. So fun kids won’t even realize all of the skills they are learning. Learning to bake is easy and fun. Baking has become very intimidating for people, but I promise with Mimi and Nonni’s help they will show you scratch baking at its finest.
Mimi has come a long way from literary agents to so many publishing houses and has finally found an amazing home at Mascot Books where they have truly brought her to life. Her desire to bake and share her joy of baking shines through every page. The recipes are easy and fun filled. Each book has one recipe. So no more flipping through cookbooks deciding what to make. With Mimi you can embark on a baking adventure where she learns to measure, mix and bake her way through the kitchen. Even if you are not a very good baking parent this book can make anyone a baker. Basic skills are needed to be able to bake and Mimi teaches you in a fun and interactive way.
I hope you fall in love with Mimi, and find that baking and being in the kitchen is a whole new way to interact and spend quality time with you kids. If you are baking novice have no fear if Mimi can do it so can you! Also, keep an eye out for all the Adventures Mimi has coming soon! Her next adventure includes making an allergy friendly dessert for her friend which is due out later this year. I believe making children aware of allergies and how they affect others is very important in this day and age. And what better way to learn than in a fun and interactive way!
Happy baking everyone!
About the Author
Chef Alyssa has been baking since she was a little girl in her grandmother's kitchen. Since graduating from the Culinary Institute of America she has worked for famous chefs and elite companies such as the Ritz Carlton, Tom Colicchio, Norman Van Aken and Gray Kunz. She currently is the Executive Chef at Riverwalk Bar and Grill on the Historic nook of New York City, Roosevelt Island. She also has a boutique custom cake company called AllyCakesNYC where she creates cakes to appease the imagination. Through her journey of baking she developed Mimi, her very own miniature version of herself.
As a child she loved baking and everything that came with it. As an adult and food lover she realized there was something missing when she frequented bookstores. A interactive children's cookbook. And we are not talking about a boring old cookbook for kids with lots and lots of recipes, and some pictures. Children these days have just as much interest in the kitchen as there parents do, but the ordinary cookbook is just not going to cut it. She created Mimi's Adventures in Baking to give children and adults a way to get into the kitchen and allow the child to become the chef and the adult the assistant. With each book has one recipe and an interactive storyline the child can read, and at the end go into the kitchen and do what Mimi did! And for the "non-baking" parent, these elite pastry chef recipes are tested and ready for even the most inexperienced baker! Impress other moms with Mimi's creations!
Mimi's Adventures in Baking will also teach children how to measure, mix and bake their way through the kitchen while also giving safety tips along the way. No more boring cookbooks! Now there is a fun, exciting and educational way to learn how to bake!
About the Book
Mimi's Adventures in Baking is the first storybook cookbook that creates a fun and interactive way of learning how to bake. Follow Mimi as she learns to measure, mix and bake her way to her very first batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies. Learning how to bake can be easy and fun with Mimi!
Navigating your way through a kitchen full of tools, ingredients and of course safety measures are brought to life in this storybook cookbook. No more flipping through endless recipes and boring procedures. Mimi makes baking fun for the whole family. Let your child take control and become the chef they always wanted to be!