Good Morning! Buenos Días! Ohayōgozaimasu!
Have you eaten yet?
If you’re hungry, you’ve come to the right place.
Thanks to this delectable new picture book, you’ll be able to enjoy not one, but twelve different breakfasts in twelve different countries!
In Pancakes to Parathas: Breakfast Around the World (little bee books, 2019), author Alice B. McGinty and illustrator Tomoko Suzuki serve up a sweet and savory multiethnic feast that’ll tantalize taste buds and stir up a little wanderlust. Who could resist a charming invitation to tag along with such a delicious itinerary?
It’s breakfast time around the world,
in countries near and far.
Wake up, world! It’s time to eat,
no matter where you are!
McGinty features each of the twelve breakfasts with a short poem and engaging note, while Suzuki’s bold and colorful double page spreads not only spotlight the foods, but provide cultural context with architectural landmarks, flora and fauna, and sensory rich side dishes.
Our first stop is Australia, where kids wake up to Vegemite on toast. McGinty instantly arouses interest and curiosity:
Breakfast in Australia
is a black and salty paste.
Thinly spread on toasted bread . . .
it’s quite a shocking taste!
Shocking? Well, of course we want to know more. McGinty tells us that kids in Australia love it despite its strong taste. It’s full of vitamins and when spread between crackers, “it comes out of the cracker holes like little worms!”
Fun details like these (just the kind kids eat up) abound in all the descriptions. Not only do we learn what the foods consist of, but how and when they’re prepared and/or eaten — weekday or weekend? Store-bought or homemade? Different flavors? What might be eaten along with the featured dish?
From Australia, it’s a little trip northeast to Japan for some natto with fish, rice and raw egg, before we head west to China, India, Israel, and Nigeria, bump up north to the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, before heading south to Brazil, after which we nosh in Jamaica and Mexico before finally landing in the USA.
There’s something fascinating to learn at each location. Did you know kids in Brazil have their own special morning coffee, or that if you lived in Nigeria, you’d probably eat your breakfast (a crunchy bean fritter) while walking to school? Chocolate lovers will be happy to hear about hagleslag, a type of flavorful sprinkle that’s spread on thick slices of buttered bread. Not to worry if you’re not into chocolate (how is that possible?), because hagleslag comes in other flavors. 🙂
Of course I was happy to see the UK included in this culinary tour, and know well the traditional and hearty English breakfast described, complete with bacon rashers, bangers, baked beans, fried toast, mushrooms, tomatoes and eggs. Not necessarily daily fare, but good on weekends or for special occasions. During the week kids might enjoy Weetabix with milk, or eggs and soldiers (soft-boiled eggs served in egg cups with sticks of toast to dip into the yolk). Suzuki’s generous platter is flanked by the British flag, a double decker bus, Big Ben, Parliament, and the London Eye.
I love how the “flavor” of each country is enhanced with all the pictorial details, from bridges to temples, skyscrapers to windmills, palm trees and beaches, fruit stands, elephants, olive groves, rug merchants and macaws. McGinty also keeps the lively pace going with transitional verses from country to country.
When we finally come “home” to America, we’re served the familiar cereal, bagels, toast and jam, maybe waffles and pancakes on the weekends. It might be nice to remind munchkins about the diversity of our country — that while these foods may be standard breakfast fare, people from all the countries mentioned in this book live amongst us (or “are” us), so any of the other breakfasts could be and probably are eaten here as well.
And that’s the beauty of it. Expand horizons and introduce kids to different cultures through food. I’m all for it. And while we all have our “go-to” breakfasts (mine is oatmeal/blueberries/rice milk), this book reminds us that variety is the spice of life. I’m inspired to change things up now and then — I can really get behind hagleslag, toast fingers (good excuse to use my egg cups), and a challah, cottage cheese, and chop salad buffet just like they have in Israel. I’ll pass on the sticky natto and shocking Vegemite, though. 🙂
🍴 A LITTLE BREAKFAST BUFFET 🍴
You didn’t think we would tell you all about this book without offering a wee sample of its goodness, did you?
Somebody had to do a little taste testing, and of course, we’re always willing to make the sacrifice on your behalf. 🙂
We started with some Aloo Paratha (whole wheat flat bread stuffed with spiced mashed potato). We had a few slices with plain butter and also had some with Cucumber Raita dipping sauce. Delicious, but it’s something I’d rather eat for lunch than first thing in the morning. Of course Mr Cornelius declared he could eat this any time.
From India, we zipped over to the Netherlands to try some Hagleslag. This was a bit like eating crunchy Nutella. It was definitely yummy with lots of butter on a thick slice of freshly baked bread. I wonder why I had never heard of it before — we certainly have chocolate sprinkles here in the U.S., but I guess it never occurred to me to eat them on plain bread for breakfast. We found our De Ruijter hagleslag at World Market.
Finally, we topped off our meal with a nice bowl of Weetabix, fruit and milk. Always nice to visit the UK! I confess I’ve had Weetabix before so it wasn’t new, but it had been a long time since I’d had some. The trick is to pour a little milk in the bowl first, then lay on the fruit and cereal so you get some nice crunch before things get too soggy. Weetabix is also lovely warmed up. 🙂
Did you enjoy that? We certainly did. 🙂
What’s your usual breakfast? What’s the best breakfast you’ve ever had while traveling abroad?
PANCAKES TO PARATHAS: Breakfast Around the World
written by Alice B. McGinty
illustrated by Tomoko Suzuki
published by little bee books, February 2019
Picture Book for ages 4-8, 40 pp.
♥️ Check out this recent Q&A with author Alice McGinty at the publisher’s website.
📗 BOOK GIVEAWAY WINNER! 🎉
Thanks to all who entered the giveaway for THE NIGHT THE FOREST CAME TO TOWN last week.
We are pleased to announce that the winner is:
*tippy tap tap*
Hooray and Congratulations, Joanne!!
We know you and your favorite munchkins will love the book!
Stay tuned, everyone, for another giveaway or two in April. 🙂
NATIONAL POETRY MONTH KIDLITOSPHERE ROUNDUP
Don’t forget to send me your links if you’re doing something special on your blog for National Poetry Month! Please help spread the word. Thanks!
Email: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com.
Carol is hosting the Roundup at Carol’s Corner. Zip over to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being served up in the blogosphere this week. Enjoy the weekend!
This post is also being linked to Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts. Put on your best aprons and bibs, and come join the fun!
* Interior spreads text copyright © 2019 Alice B. McGinty, illustrations © 2019 Tomoko Suzuki, published by little bee books. All rights reserved.
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*** Copyright © 2019 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.