Pig & Pepper

- The Cook, column editor

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Food for Thought: Books and their Recipes

by Gabi Kupitz

There's nothing more exciting for a child than to be connected to a good book. An added bonus is a good book with an accompanying recipe. Not only is the reader given a supplemental hands-on experience that guarantees almost immediate satisfaction, but an appropriate accompanying recipe in a book can reinforce and cement the story's theme. Additionally, the recipe provides yet another opportunity for a parent and child to connect by creating something in a joint effort . Abstract concepts and words can then take on a literal meaning for children. For example, one reads so often of potato latkes and applesauce, but what are latkes and how does applesauce come about? Aside from recipe books for children, there are picture books and novels for children and young adults which contain recipes.

The recent picture book, Cook-a-doodle-doo! by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel tells the story of the Rooster who heads for the recipe book of his great-grandmother, Little Red Hen, when the urge for creative cooking takes hold of him. He is pleasantly surprised to note that LRH's baking repertoire included not only the bread, for which she is noted, but also a strawberry shortcake which sounds so good (on the printed page), that he invites his friends to help him recreate this family recipe. The story, accompanying illustrations, and baking how-to sidebars combine for a delightful reading experience. But the added bonus of an accompanying recipe makes Cook-a-doodle-doo! a picture book that will be picked up and experienced again and again.

In W.D. Valgardson's picture book, Winter Rescue, illustrated by Ange Zhang, Thor, the protagonist, devours ponnukokur, a traditional Icelandic-Canadian dessert. But what are ponnukokur? An accompanying recipe solves the mystery. Ponnukokur are a variation of the American pancake and the European crepes. They contain sour cream, are sprinkled with brown sugar, and are rolled up into a tube shape. Use your fingers to eat this delicious treat. The book, originally published in Toronto under the title Thor, gives metric and U.S. standard recipe measurements in the American edition.

Bat 6, Virginia Euwer Wolff's novel about post-World War II reactions among a group of sixth- grade girls who play an annual softball game features a Mrs. Rayfield who bakes a mouth-watering "Apple Spice Cake." What a nice surprise to find the recipe in the book! And, in Grand Fathers: Reminiscences, Poems, Recipes, and Photos of the Keepers of our Traditions edited by Nikki Giovanni, the recipes for "Papa's Fresh Beet Horseradish" and "Grandpop's Macaroni and Cheese" remind readers that they too, have culinary treasures peculiar to their family.

In short, recipes in books for children can serve to bridge the abstract and the literal; story and recipe nurture the spirit and body.

The following links offer recipes similar to those found in the books mentioned here:


Strawberry Shortcake:

A sampler of books and their recipes, for children and young adults

Beard, Darleen Bailey. The Pumpkin Man from Piney Creek. Illustrated by Laura Kelly. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1995. Picture book. ("Ma's Blue-Ribbon Pie"). ISBN 068980315X.

Bravo, Olga. Olga's Cup and Saucer. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1995. Picture book. ("Strawberry Corn Muffins," "A-Z Afternoon Cake," "Blueberry Peach Cobbler," "Ginger Lemonade," "Fresh RaspberryPizza"). ISBN 0805033017.

Brink, Carol Ryrie. Goody O'Grumpity. Illustrated by Ashley Wolff. NewYork: North-South Books, 1994. Picture book. ("Goody O'Grumpity's SpiceCake"). ISBN 1558583270.

Carter, Danella. "Then There Were Sundays," Grand Fathers: Reminiscences,Poems, Recipes, and Photos of the Keepers of our Traditions. Ed. Nikki Giovanni. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1999. YA. ("Grandpop's Macaroni and Cheese"). ISBN 0805054847.

Darling, Benjamin. Valerie and the Silver Pear. Illustrated by Dan Lane. New York: Four Winds Press, 1992. Picture book. ("Pear Pie"). ISBN 002726100X.

Devlin, Wende and Harry. Cranberry Summer. New York: Four Winds Press, 1992. Picture book. ("Cranberry Punch"). ISBN 0027291812.

Egielski, Richard. The Gingerbread Boy. New York: A Laura Geringer Book/HarperCollins, 1997. Picture book. ("Gingerbread BoyCookies"). ISBN 0060260300.

Ernst, Lisa Campbell. Little Red Riding Hood: A Newfangled Prairie Tale. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 1995. Picture book. ("Grandma's Wheat Berry Muffins"). ISBN 0689801459.

Greene, Ellin. Clever Cooks: A Ready-Mix of Stories, Recipes, &Riddles. Illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman. Special Arrow ed. New York: Scholastic Book Services, 1973. All Ages. ("Carefree Butter Cookies," "Making Butter," "Griddle Bread," "Marzipan," "Coconut Kisses," "Cherry Dumplings,""Jem's Chocolate Potato Layer Cake," "Chocolate Butter Icing," "Roast Chicken," "Little Pancakes," "Fly-Off-The-Plate Pancakes," "Honey Butter,""Modern Simnel Cake," "Fairy Cake," "Molasses Milk Shake," "Pumpkin Chiffon Pie," "Gingersnap Crumb Crust," "Hearty Soup"). No ISBN.

Hall, Zoe. The Apple Pie Tree. Illustrated by Shari Halpern. Blue Sky Press/Scholastic Inc., 1996. Picture book. ("This is how we make our apple pie!"). ISBN 0590623826.

Lakin, Patricia. Don't Forget. Pictures by Ted Rand. New York: Tambourine Books, 1994. Picture book. ("Sarah's First Cake Orange Sponge Cake"). ISBN 068812075X.

Levitin, Sonia. Boom Town. Illustrated by Cat Bowman Smith. New York: Orchard Books, 1998. Picture book. ("Amanda's Gooseberry Pie"). ISBN 0531300439.

MacDonald, Elizabeth. Miss Poppy and the Honey Cake. Pictures by Claire Smith. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1989. Picturebook. ("Miss Poppy's Very Own Honey Cake Recipe"). ISBN 0803705786.

MacDonald, Elizabeth. Mr. Badger's Birthday Pie. Pictures by Claire Smith. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1989. Picturebook. ("Miss Poppy's Very Own Blackberry and Apple Pie Recipe"). ISBN 0803705794.

Peck, Jan. The Giant Carrot. Pictures by Barry Root. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1998. Picture book. ("Little Isabelle's Carrot Puddin'"). ISBN 0803718233.

Penn, Malka. The Miracle of the Potato Latkes: A Hanukkah Story. Illustrated by Giora Carmi. New York: Holiday House, 1994. Picture book. ("Tante Golda's Famous Potato Latkes"). ISBN 0823411184.

Polacco, Patricia. Thunder Cake. New York: Philomel Books, 1990. Picture book. ("My Grandma's Thunder Cake"). ISBN 0399222316.

Priceman, Marjorie. How To Make an Apple Pie and See the World. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994. Picture book. ("Apple Pie"). ISBN 0679837051.

Schotter, Roni. Purim Play. Illustrated by Marylin Hafner. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1998. Picture book. ("Mama's Famous 'Bet-You-Can't-Eat' Just-One' Apricot-Orange Hamantaschen"). ISBN 0316775185.

Sloat, Teri. Sody Sallyratus. New York: Dutton Children's Books, 1997. Picture book. ("The Old Woman's Bakin' Soda Biscuits"). ISBN 0525456090.

Stevens, Janet and Susan Stevens Crummel. Cook-A-Doodle-Doo! Illustrated by Janet Stevens. San Diego: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1999. Picture book. ("Great-Granny's Magnificent Strawberry Shortcake"). ISBN 0152019243.

Torres, Leyla. Saturday Sancocho. New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1995. Picture book. ("Mama Ana's Chicken Sancocho"). ISBN 0374364184.

Tryon, Leslie. Albert's Thanksgiving. New York: Atheneum, 1994. Picturebook. ("Albert's Pumpkin Pizza Pie," "Albert's Pumpkin Pizza Pie Dough"). ISBN 0689318650.

Valgardson, W.D. Winter Rescue. Illustrated by Ange Zhang. New York: Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster, 1995. Picture book. ("Ponnukokur"). ISBN 0689800940.

Wolff, Virginia Euwer. Bat 6. New York: Scholastic Press, 1998. Novel. ("Mrs. Rayfield's Apple Spice Cake"). ISBN 0590897993.

Zalben, Jane Breskin. "Papa: My Grandfather Fishel." Grand Fathers: Reminiscences, Poems, Recipes, and Photos of the Keepers of our Traditions. Ed. Nikki Giovanni. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1999. YA. ("Papa's Fresh Beet Horseradish"). ISBN 0805054847.

Zalben, Jane Breskin. Papa's Latkes. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1994. Picture book. ("Papa's Latkes"). ISBN 0805046348.


Gabriele "Gabi" I. Kupitz is the Juvenile Literature/Special Collections Cataloger at the Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah.


Gabi Kupitz

Volume3, Issue 2, The Looking Glass, 1999

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