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Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

All autumn long, I’ve been harboring a big love for Sophie’s Squash (Schwartz & Wade Books, 2013), Pat Zietlow Miller’s heartwarming debut picture book illustrated to perfection by Anne Wilsdorf.

I had my eye on it well before its official release date back in August, marveling like everyone else when it proceeded to rack up *starred review* after *starred review* (Booklist, PW, SLJ, Kirkus), my excitement steadily building until I finally held a copy in my hands and devoured every word. Oh my, oh yes! No wonder! Every accolade this book has received is so well deserved.

One bright fall day, Sophie chose a squash at the farmers’ market.

Her parents planned to serve it for supper, but Sophie had other ideas.

These ideas included naming her squash Bernice, holding her, bouncing her on her knee, tucking her into bed and taking her everywhere. Ever the steadfast friend, Sophie refuses her mother’s gentle prodding to cook Bernice and rejects her father’s attempts to pacify her with a new toy to take Bernice’s place.

But as time goes on, Bernice develops splotchy “freckles,” so Sophie decides to act on a farmer’s advice to keep Bernice healthy. She tucks her into “a bed of soft soil”, then waits out a wistful winter, hoping Bernice is okay. Come Spring, with all the snow melted, Bernice magically re-emerges, soon gifting Sophie with two wonderful surprises, as only the best of friends can do.

All art © 2013 Anne Wilsdorf

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Hungry?

Let’s check the weather report to see what’s on today’s menu.

I hope we’re not getting any hamburger storms or pea soup fog. I wouldn’t mind a little drizzle of orange juice, followed by a few low clouds of sunny-side up eggs with lightly browned pieces of toast drifting in from the east. If you see any cream cheese and jelly sandwiches out your way, don’t eat too many or you’ll get a tummy ache.

I twirled my spaghetti with glee when I learned that my favorite meatball maven Judi Barrett had published a brand new cookbook containing some of Grandpa’s favorite recipes. Now, you and any nibble-happy munchkins hanging out at your house can create your very own culinary weather!

As you know, the original Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs book starts out with Grandpa flipping pancakes on Saturday morning. So it’s only right that the first recipe in the cookbook should be for these very same pancakes, which taste just as good any day of the week, any time of day. Flipping them onto someone’s head, however, is entirely up to you.

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Ginger, Justin, and Frances show off Justin’s Pizza (photo by Trish Moreis-Stiles)

Chocolate Chocolate, yum yum, happy happy!

Look who’s here! As promised, the fabulous Park Sisters are visiting today to tell us more about their new cookbook, Allergies, Away!: Creative Eats and Mouthwatering Treats for Kids Allergic to Nuts, Dairy, and Eggs (St. Martin’s, 2013).

If you remember my previous post, you know that Ginger’s son Justin was diagnosed with severe food allergies when he was just a year old. The new cookbook contains 70 of Justin’s favorite recipes developed specifically for kids like him by his beautiful and talented mom and aunt.

Some of you may know that food allergies are growing by epidemic proportions in this country. Six million kids (or 1 in 13) are affected, and this number has grown by a startling 50% since the late 90′s. Affected families are having to learn different coping strategies that can sometimes prove pretty daunting. What do you cook for your allergic child to keep him safe, make sure he’s adequately nourished, and actually enjoys the variety of foods on his plate? Since eating is also a social activity, how do you ensure he doesn’t miss out on the fun of birthday parties and other special occasions?

Adorable Justin at his 3rd birthday party.

Justin has given all the recipes in this new book his highest *five star rating*. You don’t have to suffer from food allergies to enjoy them either. You’ll find many familiar comfort foods included, and I love the diverse mix of dishes, everything from Korean bulgogi and half moon dumplings to Mexican quesadillas and chili, to Italian pizza, lasagna and risotto to Greek tzatziki (thanks, Koomo!). Of course they’ve included chocolate. Did you have to ask?

Seoulful Half-Moon Dumplings!

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What could be better than a book brimming with delicious rhyming verse?

A book of taste-tempting riddle poems with gorgeous art, yummy recipes, food for thought, and gardening tips, of course!

In What’s in the Garden? (Dawn Publications, 2013), Marianne Berkes and Cris Arbo celebrate the joys of growing and eating twelve familiar fruits and veggies with a cast of adorable, happily-engaged multiethnic kids.

This delightfully fun, interactive feast is served up in a clever format: children are asked to guess which fruit or vegetable is described in each of the catchy four-line poems, then turn the page for the answer, where they’ll find an easy recipe featuring the produce to stimulate their appetites.

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tamalitos cover

First there was a warm, comforting bowl of  Sopa de frijoles (Bean Soup), followed by creamy dreamy Arroz con leche (Rice Pudding), then a savory batch of Guacamole so delicious you danced around the kitchen with a “green avocado laugh” printed on your face.

Sí, Amigos! It’s time to celebrate the fourth delectable book in Jorge Argueta’s bilingual Cooking Poem series, Tamalitos, illustrated by Domi (Groundwood Books, 2013). Estupendo!!

jorge and cooking poems

Poet Chef Jorge Argueta

Most of you already know how much I adore these books, written by a poet who sees magic in each ingredient and every utensil and says, “the whole kitchen is a cooking poem.” *swoon*

argueta two

(click to enlarge)

This time we read about a brother and sister making tamalitos, or “little tamales.” I want to hug myself just thinking about these mini corn masa and cheese-stuffed pillows wrapped in cornhusks (little pillows! a lot like dumplings!). As with the other cooking poems, there is reverence for Mother Earth, a lively, joyous total immersion in every step of the process, lots of sensory detail, and great anticipation at eating the final product and lovingly sharing it with the rest of the family.

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