[review + recipe] Fanny in France by Alice Waters and Ann Arnold

Bonjour Mes Amis!

Are you in the mood for a little trip to France?

I was so excited last Fall when I learned that renowned chef and restaurateur Alice Waters had written another children’s book about her daughter Fanny. I remember well when I first saw Fanny at Chez Panisse in a bookstore back in the mid 90’s.

You know that feeling when you see a book that looks interesting, and you casually pick it up, and as you’re fanning through the pages, your pulse starts to quicken and your senses go on high alert because, because — oh my, what’s this? wow! LOVE, yes! it’s love at first sight!?

I had not seen a book like that before — a children’s story with illustrated recipes! Usually stories were stories and recipes lived in cookbooks. But to combine the two? Brilliant!

So began my obsession newfound interest in food-related children’s books and illustrated cookbooks. I also wanted to move to Berkeley, California, immediately so I could dine regularly at Chez Panisse.

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[tasty review + recipe] Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story by Nadiya Hussain

All of us here in the Alphabet Soup kitchen were thrilled when Nadiya Hussain won Season 3 of The Great British Baking Show (‘Great British Bake Off’ in the UK).

We loved her unusual flavor combinations and beautiful presentations, and it was awesome seeing how her confidence grew each week as she tackled all those signature bakes, technical challenges and show stoppers.

Nadiya wins Series 6 of The Great British Bake-Off.

Most agree that she also captivated audiences with her telling facial expressions. Her flexible eyebrows sometimes told the whole story: determination, panic, joy, disappointment, fear, frustration. It was such an emotional moment when she was declared winner and said, “”I’m never gonna put boundaries on myself ever again. I’m never gonna say I can’t do it. I’m never gonna say ‘maybe’. I’m never gonna say, ‘I don’t think I can.’ I can and I will.

This 31-year-old Leeds wife and mother of three has been very busy since her big win last year. In September 2016, she published Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story, a charming collection of 15 updated fairy tales + recipes for children, and her adult cookbook featuring family recipes, Nadiya’s Kitchen, will come out in 2017.

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[review + giveaway!] taking a peek at The Forest Feast for Kids by Erin Gleeson

If you want to get your kids to eat their veggies, ask them to feast their eyes on Erin Gleeson’s gorgeous photos of Carrot “Noodle” Salad, Kale and Black Bean Tacos, Bay Potatoes, and Pesto Pepper Pizza.

They’ll marvel at the stunningly showcased variety of colors, shapes and textures, then ask to see more. Grazing through the sweets, they’ll drool at the divine close-ups of Fried Banana Split, Plum Tartlets, and Melon “Cake.” You’ll likely hear cries of “I’m hungry!”, “I want some!” and maybe even,”What’s edamame?”

A quick glance at the illustrated recipes and they’ll be anxious to make some of the dishes themselves. And yes, before you know it, they’ll be happily eating their fruits and their veggies, eminently proud of their newfound skills. 🙂

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[review and recipe] Kids Cook French by Claudine PĂ©pin, Jacques PĂ©pin and Shorey Wesen

Bonjour! Êtes vous affamĂ©? (Hello! Are you hungry?)

I don’t know about you, but after reading the yummy recipes in Kids Cook French (Quarry Books, 2015), I’m starving! At this very moment, I would love to feast on Claudine PĂ©pin’s Spring Menu: Eggs Jeannette with a Salad, Chicken Breast with Garlic and Parsley, SautĂ©ed Swiss Chard, Parsnip-Potato PurĂ©e, and Almond Cake. Mmmmmm!

You may know Claudine from any one or all three of the James Beard Award-winning PBS cooking series she appeared in with her father, legendary French chef Jacques PĂ©pin. It is natural that Claudine (an accomplished home cook and wine educator who married a chef), should publish a cookbook for kids, since she grew up with fine cuisine and now cooks most nights for her 11-year-old daughter Shorey.

Art © 2015 Jacques Pépin

True to Claudine’s guiding philosophy — that there’s no such thing as “kids food,” only “good food” — Kids Cook French doesn’t look or read like a children’s cookbook. You won’t find rebus-like directions in large print with little measuring spoons, or yet another “recipe” for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. This is not to say that the recipes are overly complicated, only that adult supervision is required for what are clearly family projects.

Claudine (center) with Shorey, Rollie, Jacques and Gloria (by Tom Hopkins).

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five paws up for paddington bear’s apple tart

The furry helpers in the Alphabet Soup kitchen are just counting down the days till the new Paddington movie premieres in the U.S. on Christmas Day, which just happens to be Paddington’s winter birthday (he also celebrates June 25).

Though we’re disappointed Colin Firth decided to leave the project, and that the bear in the first movie trailer didn’t quite feel like the same character from the books, we’re still very pleased that Paddington will likely win over millions of new fans.

HarperCollins is re-releasing some of the Paddington novels and picture books, Michael Bond has written a new novel, Love From Paddington (hitting shelves in December), and there’s the wonderful Paddington Trail with 50 bear statues scattered around London. And what about all the coolio movie tie-in merchandise? Yes, please!

New Paddington Bear finger puppets are faboo!
The set comes with Paddington and Aunt Lucy finger puppets, a two-sided backdrop and 24 stickers.

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