Noodle Kids Will Get Your Kids Into the Kitchen

A cookbook that encourages kids to take part in preparing family meals.

Noodle Kids, a family cookbook, is not only adorable, amusing and fun to read, but it is full of recipes that will get children into the kitchen and teach them cooking skills. The book is cleverly written by chef Jonathon Sawyer, who owns The Greenhouse Tavern, Tavern Vinegar Co, Sawyer’s Street Frites, SeeSaw Pretzel Shoppe, Trentina and Noodlecat all in Cleveland.

Around the World in 50 Fun, Healthy, Creative Recipes the Whole Family Can Cook Together
By Jonathon Sawyer

Sawyer uses a cartoon mascot throughout the book called Noodlecat who gives us “noodle-y secrets” such as information on noodles eaten throughout the world, historical facts, safety and cooking tips. For example, with the recipe for pierogi Noodlecat writes, “Perogi, pyrogy, perogie, perogy, pirohi—The word comes from the Polish word for canoe. That’s what pierogi look like.”

Chapters are divided into stuffed, baked, gnocchi, saucy, slurps and gluten-free noodles. Be sure to check out the information on how to throw a ramen party and “You Can Do That With Noodles?” which has a recipe for grilled ramen and cheese that can be eaten like a sandwich.

Here is an easy recipe to try with your family:

Lulu’s Not-Linguine and Clams
One time, I took Louisiana and Catcher into the kitchen at the restaurant to make soup. I gave both kids a small saucepan and let them grab any ingredients they wanted. Lulu took a bunch of blanched French fries and clams. That’s it. I steamed open the clams and she ate them all, licking the bowl clean. A couple of years later, she tried a true bucatini and clams in Italy. She just went bonkers for it. Now we make our own version of her favorite at home.

24 whole, live littleneck clams, purged and rinsed
1 head garlic, cloves peeled and smashed
6 tablespoons (84 g) salted butter, divided
1 pound (454 g) bucatini
1 cup (235 ml) white wine
1/4 cup (16 g) chopped fresh herbs, divided (choose your favorites: parsley, oregano)
1/4 cup (25 g) toasted bread crumbs
1 tablespoon (15 ml) cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil
Crushed red pepper flakes
Crispy garlic and shallot chips (available at Asian and Middle eastern markets)
Crusty bread

Pasta pot with strainer
Big saucepan with cover
Serving plates

1. Fill the pasta pot with water and season with salt until it tastes like seawater. Bring to a boil over high heat.

2. In the big saucepan, combine the clams, garlic, and 3 tablespoons (42 g) of the butter. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 5 minutes to sauté the garlic.

3. Add the bucatini to the saucepan of boiling water and cook for 7 minutes. Drain the bucatini, reserving 1/2 cup (120 ml) of the pasta water.

4. Add the wine and 2 tablespoons (8 g) of the herbs to the clams and cook uncovered for 5 minutes to reduce the liquid. (Most of the clams should be open by now. If they aren’t, don’t fret. You can add 1/2 cup [120 ml] pasta water, cover, and cook until the clams open, up to 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, discard any clams that aren’t open.) Transfer the open clams to serving plates.

5. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons (42 g) butter and cooked bucatini to the clam sauce in the pan. Simmer over low heat until the sauce and bucatini become one, about 3 minutes. Transfer to the serving plates, garnish with the bread crumbs, and drizzle with the olive oil.

6. Bring the red pepper flakes, remaining 2 tablespoons (16 g) herbs, and crispy garlic and shallot chips to the table so everyone can season and crunchify their own dinner. Don’t forget the spoon and the scarpetta.

YIELD: 6 servings


In Italy, everyone loves to eat ‘scarpetta,’ which is weird because scarpetta means a ‘small shoe’ or ‘heel.’ But before I tried to eat my sneaker, someone told me scarpetta also means a crusty piece of bread you use to mop up every last bit of sauce. It’s even better than licking your plate.

Noodle Kids
Reprinted with permission from Quarry Books (2015).

Please send press releases and restaurant news, including information on staff changes, wine tastings, and cooking classes, to [email protected].

Click here to leave a comment
Click to enlarge images
Read more Eat & Drink, Table Hopping articles.

By submitting comments you grant permission for all or part of those comments to appear in the print edition of New Jersey Monthly.

Required not shown
Required not shown