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Chef and writer J. Kenji López-Alt cooks up a kid’s book

NEW YORK (AP) — Pipo is a young girl in a new book for kids who insists that pizza is the best food on Earth.

Prompted by her mom to prove it, Pipo goes across her neighborhood testing alternatives: tagine, red beans and rice, bibimbap and dumplings.

Her new conclusion: Pizza is the best. But there are also a lot of other bests, too.

That’s the charming premise of “Every Night Is Pizza Night” (Norton Young Readers), the debut children’s book by J. Kenji López-Alt, a guru of food science and a new father.

“I knew I wanted to write a book about food, and particularly a book about food from around the world and multiculturalism,” he says. “It’s about a picky eater who figured out how to not be picky.”

The book pulls together many strands of López-Alt, who is the author of “The Food Lab: Better Homecooking Through Science,” a textbook-like cookbook with roots in scientific reason. He’s also an advisor for the site Serious Eats, a partner in a restaurant in San Mateo, California, and the father of daughter Alicia, 3 1/2.

Though the heroine in the book is a picky eater, López-Alt and his wife, Adriana Lopez, have been blessed with a daughter who eats lots of things. Actually, they’ve helped condition her that way.

The day she was brought home from the hospital, Alicia was propped up on the kitchen counter as dad cooked, a sign she’d spend lots of time in kitchens. Her parents frequently let her smell new ingredients, let her eat what she wants, and never tell her anything is “yucky” or not appropriate for a child.

“My goal was to expose it as much as possible from the time she was born,” he says. “A kid doesn’t grow up with any sort of predefined notions of what’s delicious and what’s not.”

It’s a bit different from López-Alt’s own strict…

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