A Delicious Way to Bring your Favorite Stories to Life
When I was a child, I fell in love with a cookbook called Wild Foods. Just the idea of foraging the woods for berries and creating a delicious soup filled me with wonder. Years later, when my daughter was small, we discovered a lovely cookbook for dolls called Mudpies and Other Recipes. We lovingly prepared Wood Chip Dip, Dandelion Soufflé, and Rainspout Tea for her dolls. Cooking with children is such a wonderful way to spend time together. Within these superb cookbooks, you’ll recall your favorite stories and feast on mouth-watering dishes.
Your children will scream with delight when they read and recognize the many treats from Roald Dahl’s memorable books. Bunce’s Doughnuts! Bruce Bogtrotter’s Cake! Frobscottle! Both of these cookbooks are a great tribute to his nutty genius and were largely compiled by his widow Felicity after Dahl’s death. For adults, I recommend Memories with Food at Gipsy House and also Miss Dahl’s Voluptuous Delights by Roald’s granddaughter Sophie. She has a new cookbook Very Fond of Food available from Random House in April. (Ages 8-11. Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) and Puffin)
This exquisite cookbook reminds us of the beauty of Burnett’s classic The Secret Garden and the magic of making things come to life. Mary’s rambling walks along the moors in the countryside with Dickon and their hard work in the garden stirs a great appetite for porridge, little sausage cakes, and jam roly poly. Cotler does an excellent job of detailing what life would have been like in Victorian Yorkshire and Prudence See’s delicate illustrations appear as if a letterpress had printed them. Chapters devoted to traditional Yorkshire cottage fare from the kitchen garden for picnicking and English teas to more exotic Indian creations like Fresh Mango Chutney and Florence Nightingale’s Kedgeree will leave you craving more from Misselthwaite Manor. (Ages 8-12. Publisher: HarperCollins)
As C.S. Lewis’s stepson Douglas Gresham writes in his introduction, “Narnian food is utterly delightful.” I couldn’t agree more. Just think of Edmund as he accepts the enchanted Turkish Delight from the White Witch; Mr. Tumnus and Lucy’s tea in his cozy parlor; or the grand banquets at Cair Paravel. Pauline Baynes illustrated the magical artwork for the original seven books for The Chronicles of Narnia beginning in 1949 with The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. Recipes for Sugar-Topped Cake, Steamed Pudding and Ginger Fig Pudding, and Ember-Roasted Salmon would make even Aslan’s stomach rumble and growl with anticipation. (Ages 8-12. Publisher: HarperCollins)
Unofficial or not, I officially commend Dinah Bucholz on her remarkable compendium of magical recipes. The muggle in me was astonished by her wit and fervor for conjuring such inventive concoctions. The chapter titles alone (1. Good Food with Bad Relatives, 2. Delights Down the Alley, 3. Treats from the Train, etc.) quickly call to mind my fondest memories from the Harry Potter series. I highly recommend Hagrid’s Beef Casserole (minus the dragon talon!) and a few other highlights: Double Chocolate Ice Cream Cones, Molly’s Meat Pies, Pumpkin Pasties, Treacle Tart, and Honeydukes Treats. (Ages 8-12. Publisher: Adams Media Corporation)
In this fine collection, Jane Yolen has cleverly retold beloved folktales along with a tempting recipe for each one. My personal favorite is Snow White’s Baked Apples. Or maybe it’s Sweet Chocolate Mousse from Seven Hills of Sweet, an original story Yolen created for Cricket Magazine in 1995. Philippe Beha’s colorful illustrations recall fairy tale books of my youth. I especially loved the Tuscan proverb from the beginning, “A story is not beautiful unless something is added to it.” Whether you add a dash of salt or a sprinkle of spice, this book will leave you feeling deeply satisfied. (Ages 4-8. Publisher: Interlink Publishing Group, Incorporated)
Pioneer recipes are not always delicious, but as Ma would say, “they’re practical!” Barbara M. Walker thoroughly researched the frontier foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder’s stories. She’s even included passage quotations directly from the books with most of her recipes. The detailed illustrations by Garth Williams, of Pa hunting for rabbits and Laura milking the cow in the barn, remind us of Wilder’s genuine stories of her family’s hardships and enduring love on the prairie. Her recipes for Custard Pie (from Farmer Boy) and Sweet Heart-Shaped Cakes from (Little House on the Prairie) might inspire even the most reluctant baker attempt to them. (Ages 8-11. Publisher: HarperCollins)
Nicki Richesin is the editor of four anthologies,What I Would Tell Her: 28 Devoted Dads on Bringing Up, Holding On To, and Letting Go of Their Daughters; Because I Love Her: 34 Women Writers Reflect on the Mother-Daughter Bond; Crush: 26 Real-Life Tales of First Love; and The May Queen: Women on Life, Work, and Pulling it all Together in your Thirties. Her anthologies have been excerpted and praised in The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Boston Globe, Redbook, Parenting, Cosmopolitan, Bust, Salon, Daily Candy, and Babble.