Too Many Cooks

“Hilarious and wise, Too Many Cooks celebrates a year in the family kitchen with one mom, four kids, and a picky pediatrician husband.”

“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 healthy simple meals for children. It is also great fun for those of us who love to peek at the domestic lives of others. Franklin has a warm, unpretentious voice and appealing recipes that are asking to be tried.”

--Jenni Ferrari-Adler, author of Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant

Emily Franklin’s food memoir Too Many Cooks was born of two simple loves: food and children. A foodie and former chef, Franklin wants to pass on her love of food and cooking to her kids; she wants them not only to enjoy what they’re eating but to know what they’re eating. So, over the course of a year, she introduces her children to new dishes–some exotic, some thrown together with whatever she has in her cabinets–with varying degrees of success. Undaunted by failure (“This tastes like sand!”), Franklin pursues her culinary mission from the heartland of Indiana to the Umbrian countryside. Some meals conjure visions of pleasure while others are utter catastrophes. Along the way, she discovers how a delicious (or even disastrous) meal can bring families together and feed the soul.

As Franklin chronicles her family’s year around the kitchen table, season by season, she shares original recipes. From comfort, kid-friendly food like Mummy Nuggets, to the more adventurous Saffron Fish Chowder, to food made on the fly like Orange-Oaty-I-Don’t-Know Cookies, each recipe follows a charming or bittersweet or laugh-out-loud anecdote that captures the chaos of cooking for four young kids.

Franklin seasons her stories with how-I-did-it advice on cooking and parenting that makes this such a delightful and inspiring read. And with more than 100 simple, mouthwatering dishes, Too Many Cooks is a happy mix of recipes, memories, and good storytelling.

Listen to an excerpt on NPR


“This is one of the best books I’ve read on cooking by instinct. You can’t learn to cook by instinct just from recipes or instructions…although if you follow enough recipes you’ll start to develop instincts…An engaging, funny book on the perils and promise of the kitchen when there are many children underfoot.”

--Faith Duran, The

“This delightfully written memoir puts into practice what [it] preaches. Novelist and former professional chef Emily Franklin chronicles her yearlong mission to introduce her four children to exotic foods from purple potatoes to curried goat. Franklin mixes tales of wonder…with more than 100 recipes that were tested on her own kids. Recipes range from simple (Roasted Broccoli) to imaginative (Crunchy Sesame Tofu).”

--The Boston Globe

“Too Many Cooks’ appeal is the real life, day-to-day chronicle of one person’s, Emily, commitment to teach her children about food. We get to tag along with her, experiencing first hand, the trials, tribulations, teachable moments, and end results, of young children as they are introduced to a vast array of ethnic and exotic foods. Side splitting commentary about things like fuzzy footballs (coconuts) keep you turning the pages to discover what other ‘out of the mouth of babes’ stories she has to share.

“Her simple recipes will inspire even the kitchen-phobic to try new things for picky eaters. Like the practical mom she is, Franklin suggests baby steps. Taste-test yummy-sounding recipes on your kids…Adults will like them and the book.

—-USA Today

“We all know a kid like this—one whose diet consists primarily of hot dogs, pizza and chicken nuggets. Dismayed by her own children’s limited palate, Emily Franklin, a novelist and former chef, decided to embark on a year long culinary journey with her four children—to introduce them to new dishes, both exotic and thrown together, involving them both in the preparation and the partaking. The memoir of that year, Too Many Cooks is a delight to read both for its comedy and wisdom, not to mention recipes for “Many Mushroom Soup,” “Apricot Almond Bread,” and other easy-to-prepare recipes that we may want to add to our own repertoires.”

–-Jewish Woman

[Emily Franklin’s] approach is inspirational, turning the kitchen, pantry, markets and restaurants into interactive classrooms for her children. Balancing child rearing, traveling, and just everyday living, she reminds us that what may appear as mundane or ordinary on the surface, can be far from it. Her stories remind us that every moment is a teachable one, if only we would just pause, step back and enjoy them. Her wit and sense of humor are limitless. She provides many kitchen tips that are valuable for moms or dads on the go along with a wonderful blend of recipes, memories, and a fun approach to just plain day-to-day living. This book isn’t just about food, it’s about family and how the two are inextricably intertwined. Whether you’re a foodie, currently raising a family, looking for ways to get the kids (or your husband) to try different foods, or you just need to know that you aren’t alone in trying to figure out how to balance it all, this is the book for you.”

–-Gourmet Girl