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Too Many Cooks: 4 Kids, 1 Mom, 102 New Recipes

3.69  ·  Rating details ·  217 Ratings  ·  61 Reviews
"I love my mom and I'm a good cook, and still I can't help wishing that Emily Franklin would adopt me--or maybe send me a care package. But at least I've got her recipes now. And this book, which is the perfect mix of heartwarming and mouthwatering. Yum." --Catherine Newman, author of Waiting for Birdy"Emily Franklin's Too Many Cooks is a boon for anyone trying to cook hea ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by Voice (first published January 1st 2009)
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Mar 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: cookbooks
Emily Franklin is the mother of four children and is married to a very picky eater. This book is really a family journal which takes place of the course of a year and includes a recipe or two at the end of each chapter. It was fun to see how another parent convinces her children to try new foods. She tells it like it is and all parents can relate.

The recipes are interesting and simple. They have an international flair. There are no photos.

A fun, easy read and a few recipes to try out.
Jan 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
I loved the adventure that Franklin takes you on as she and her husband decide to introduce new foods to their children after seeing them pick chicken nuggets on the menu at a seafood restaurant. Franklin calls it their "quest to create happy, healthy eaters without tricks." There's no pureeing foods and putting them in to hide them from the kids, it's just putting it out there for them to experience and try.

Franklin shares stories of introducing new foods to her kids. I love how she finds ways
Feb 19, 2011 rated it liked it
This is a really different book written by a woman who was a chef on luxury yachts & then became a mother & dives into culinary adventures with her 4 children. It goes through "seasons" and at the end of each one there are a handful of recipes to try. I got some good ideas & lots of new recipes.

Some quotes that I enjoyed are below:

At the end of the day, you try your best with kids, give them everything you can, and see how they turn out at the end. Who hasn’t done the same thing in
Traci Haley
Oct 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2009
I've been on a non-fiction kick recently, which is highly unusual. Fiction has dulled a bit and needs to be put aside while I indulge in some good, narrative non-fiction.

"Too Many Cooks" was a really enjoyable read. The author's children are charming (so much so, I wonder if they can possibly be real!), as is her husband and the rest of her family. The stories are short and sweet, leaving you hungry (literally!) yet satisfied.

My biggest complaint about the book is the actual recipes. The author
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I want to own this book and try all the recipes with my family. I haven't read a cookbook/memoir that had so many recipes that seemed absolutely realistic to try and serve. My favorite part is that she introduced her kids to a huge variety of vegetables and cuisines, but from her description of the recipes, it didn't sound like it was a huge waste of time if the kids weren't excited about it. Which is usually my problem, I feel like I spend way too much time preparing meals that no one except Ro ...more
Apr 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs, cookbooks
Excellent inspiration to get you out of the rut of "kid cooking" - validated by the wonderfully recognizable anecdotes of raising a family.

I loved this quote: "I can say that cooking for one whiny, picky child is far more difficult and stressful than for forty on the rolling seas. But I do it anyway... I have long believed that cooking and parenting go hand in hand. Not only because children need food and one of the earliest ways we connect to them is by feeding, but because both are wonderful a
May 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
As a reluctant cook,very few of the recipes inspired me but the tale of the author's year with her four small children resonated. Each short chapter is a vignette where Ms. Griffin attempts to introduce her children to a healthful and varied diet, sometimes with success. At home and abroad, this family enjoys good food and sees the wisdom in involving the kids in the cooking. I particularly enjoyed the author's frequent references to nursing her baby - not only could I relate to her profound fee ...more
May 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
I love a good cookbook-slash-memoir. I like that the author's intent is to broaden, rather than fool, her children's palates and that the recipes have nothing to do with adding pureed vegetables to brownies. The scope and timeline let the reader watch as the Franklin's children age and mature over the course of a year. Her family members are well-developed as characters and there were lots of moments where I laughed in recognition or read parts aloud to my husband, wanting him to experience thos ...more
Kirsten Feldman
Oct 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned-books
This cookbook sold my kids on broccoli!

TOO MANY COOKS by Emily Franklin does two different things, both equally well: tells funny, offbeat stories about where and how her recipes originated and provides accurate, useful actual recipes. This may sound obvious or simple, but I have tried many cookbooks and found otherwise. Too many cookbooks either are pretty coffee table books without viable recipes or simply books of recipes that have not been properly tested. Every recipe I have tried from this
I guess I'm not Franklin's target audience - moms from affluent backgrounds with several children. The recipes are consistently interesting; I plan on trying some of them. As a matter of fact, in a Twilight Zone moment (cue theme), I had mango chicken for lunch, really liked it, thought about how one might make it at home, opened the book later that day, and there was the recipe at the end of the next chapter! It was amusing that her husband turned out to be a pickier eater than the kids.

A good
May 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was a great book! Initially I grabbed it at the library because nothing from my "to-read" list was available. The random pick turned out to be a good read.

I try to introduce a wide variety of foods to my boys, and it was encouraging to read another mom's take on the same thing. Her recipes were inspiring. If I wasn't in the middle of a move, I'd have made more than a few right away! I'd like to own a copy (or check the book out again) so I'd have the recipes. Life is too hectic right now!
Sep 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
Probably more like a 4.5, which says a lot considering that our dietary restrictions automatically force me to pass on a large portion of the recipes. That said, there are still plenty I have bookmarked!

I loved the writing, it was as much a book about mothering, parenting, family, choices, and celebrating the day to day as it was about recipes. It just so happened that those recipes were woven perfectly into the family story.

Truly enjoyable, immensely readable - I was wanting one more year in t
Jun 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, 2014
I really loved this book! I not only enjoyed the peek into the author's family life, I really enjoyed all the recipes! I've tried several from this dollar store find and all have been praised by the family. I have many more to try and I'm excited to continue. I'm so happy I plucked this book from obscurity on the Dollar Tree shelf and added it to a cherished place on my bookshelf. We've become fast friends and I'll be looking for other works by Emily Franklin. :-)
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, 2014
I really loved this book! I not only enjoyed the peek into the author's family life, I really enjoyed all the recipes! I've tried several from this dollar store find and all have been praised by the family. I have many more to try and I'm excited to continue. I'm so happy I plucked this book from obscurity on the Dollar Tree shelf and added it to a cherished place on my bookshelf. We've become fast friends and I'll be looking for other works by Emily Franklin. :-)
Brooke K.
Aug 05, 2009 rated it liked it
Anything regarding food will catch my fancy. I found the book at times to be a bit meandering almost verging on pointless, but Franklin's pointed and beautiful observations about the conditions of the human experience combined with the shared challenge of raising children and helping them cultivate a diverse food palette made this an enjoyable tale, in addition to the recipes shared throughout each chapter may make this one worth owning.
Aug 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I'm loving this book! It's full of fun personal stories about taking care of 4 children. I find myself laughing out loud and nodding my head in agreement to many things she writes (and I only have 1 child.) There are great recipes throughout that I'm planning to try and an index in the back so I can easily find the page they're on later.
Feb 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Hmm. Reading this again and am really enjoying it. Definitely at least 3 far anyway.

At times I really related to the author, at times she was a bit whiny and that annoyed me. Some fun anecdotes about being in the kitchen with kids and some parenting moments I could relate to. Not nearly as good as Molly Wizenberg and Kathleen Flinn's food memoirs.
Julie R.
Jul 21, 2009 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book but still am finding it hard to believe that her children actually ate some of the stuff she says they ate! My child is a picky eater and I'm trying some of her technics, without a ton of success so far... Also tried her cooking style, winging it with what you have in the pantry. It isn't so hard after all!
Jul 23, 2009 rated it liked it
I can't say I loved this book... there were a few recipes I'll try... I was hoping for some kid-friendly recipes but that wasn't really the premise of the book (they were mostly 'what new foods can I get my kids to try' recipes using ingredients my kids (and husband) wouldn't like due to their strong flavors).
Oct 22, 2013 rated it liked it
This was a fun, light look at a mom's journey to introduce her children to good, interesting food. Some parts had a travelogue element to them. Others were neat commentaries on parenting. Recipes were enjoyable. Stopped 75 pages short b/c just have other stuff I want to read more and had sort of gotten her gist.
Jul 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
This is a great book! A former private chef is now a stay at home mom. She writes lovely essays about her 4 children, then at the end of each chapter includes the recipes. Her recipes are very simple, most feature olive oil, salt and pepper. Her family is a big fan of anything roasted, so I tried a few recipes. Her kids are adventurous eaters so she must be doing something right.
Aug 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
Delightful chronicle of life as a mom of 4, with recipes at the end of every chapter. Emily not only loves to cook, but she involves her kids in the process, getting them to try new things and express their opinions about what they cook and eat. Interwoven with tales of food and cooking are the stories of one year in the life of this family.
Fawn Rueckert
Sep 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
Loved this book, it read like a memoir with recipes at the end of each chapter. One chapter does deal with her kids learning to swear, she doesn't edit, just warning to my friends that are sensitive to that. All in all, very charming look into someones family and home.
Dec 29, 2009 rated it really liked it
An interesting look at motherhood and food. The family anecdotes are charming and believable and the descriptions of food and cooking made me want to try out all of the recipes (at the end of each chapter.)
Sara Truog
Jan 14, 2012 rated it liked it
I checked this out from the library thinking it would offer advice on how to encourage your kids to be more adventurous eaters, but it's really more of a memoir about cooking with kids around. Some funny stories, lots of interesting recipes... it's worth a look.
Sep 12, 2012 rated it liked it
I liked Franklin's writing - funny and mostly down to earth. I can't help bu think that her kids had to have complained a little bit more on this food journey they took, but then again, if she focused more on the complaining I probably wouldn't have finished the book!
Caroline Bock
Feb 18, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a fun read at the start, I have 2 little kids who give me a hard time about eating different things, so I could relate. I found it a little repetitive, each chapter started to sound like the last. I do have to say that there were plenty of good recipes in it though.
Feb 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Well written and interesting tale of a cooking mother and full of good recipes too. I've tried a couple of them so far and keep meaning to do a full on review on my blog. Hopefully I'll get to that soon.
Jun 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
My dad gave me this book for Mother's Day. I had never heard of it, but thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Very well-written, with fun stories I could relate to as a busy mom, and great recipes throughout. I don't consider myself a "foodie", but highly recommend this book.
Susan Erhardt
Aug 25, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: adult-nonfiction
I enjoyed this until I was about halfway through, but reading it then became tedious. It seemed to me that the author was trying too hard to be funny, and many of the anecdotes were pointless and not very entertaining.
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Growing up, Emily Franklin wanted to be “a singing, tap-dancing doctor who writes books.”

Having learned early on that she has little to no dancing ability, she left the tap world behind, studied at Oxford University, and received an undergraduate degree concentrating in writing and neuroscience from Sarah Lawrence College. Though she gave serious thought to a career in medicine, eventually that ca
More about Emily Franklin...
“The task of any good cook, of any parent, is to be present- in the kitchen and out. To taste all the items, absorb each child's day, all those moments, and form them into the day's meals.” 1 likes
More quotes…