For my birthday in January I got a cookbook from our friends in London. My mom has been penpals with Ange for over 20 years and she has two kids, Joe and Isabel, around the ages of me and my brother.
It was a by a teenage cook named Sam Stern. The book is called "Get Cooking." It's the third book he wrote and he's written two others since then. His sixth book, "From Virgin to Veteran" comes out later this year.
In this cookbook some of his mates -- that's what they call friends there -- challenged him to come up with recipes that use their favorite ingredient, like cheese and tomatoes and chocolate. When I was looking at the cookbook, I saw a lot of great recipes, like Brilliant White Pizza, Cheese Pizza Pastry (like my pizza pockets) and Homestyle Hotdogs, but his Cheddar, Chili and Onion Muffins really caught my eye. I liked them because they had a variation that uses chorizo, one of my favorite sausages, and cheese is already one of my favorite foods.
It was fun reading the recipes because Sam uses different terms than what we would say, like "tip into the bowl" and "the odd lump is cool." A lot of the ingredient amounts are listed in grams and I had never measured anything on a scale before.
A word from Mom: Who would have thought we'd have to translate a cookbook from England.
In theory we speak the same language, but when it comes to reading recipes it was almost foreign at times. Like calling fennel a great "flavourer," "blitzing" spices in a coffee grinder, and calling baked potatoes "bakers."
Anyway, it was fun to realize that teens half a world away crave the same foods and to open our family's eyes to foods like Chickory au Gratin and Cool Cauli Curry.
• Jerome Gabriel, a seventh-grader, has been helping in the kitchen since he could hold a spoon. His mom, Deborah Pankey, is the Daily Herald's food editor.