Long before my cookbook collection grew to the size it is today, my room was still full of books – kids books, since we’re jumping back in time. Most of these books have long been moved to boxes, packed up and in storage out of the way, but the other day I was going through them and noticed something about some of my favorites: many were food related! Now, I would read anything and everything (and still do), so it struck me as funny when I realized that I instantly remembered these books and every detail of their storylines. An indicator of things to come, perhaps? These are some of my favorites, all of which have been relocated to the shelf with my cookbooks.
- Stone Soup – This book is about some traveling soldiers who wander into a small village as tired, hungry strangers. The townspeople are less than friendly, but when the soldier start cooking up some mysterious sounding stone soup – soup made with nothing more than rocks and water – their interest is piqued. I don’t want to give away the ending, but it involves a feast and a lot more food than rocks and water.
- In the Night Kitchen – I love this Maurice Sendak book. It’s about a boy named Mickey who goes to bed and ends up in the Night Kitchen – and getting baked into a cake by three jolly-looking bakers before using some just-risen bread dough to fashion an airplane and make his escape. Pure fantasy, but I adore the textures of the doughs and breads in the book. It never failed to make me want a cookie. The book was also made into an animated short at one point, which is also worth taking a peek at.
- Bread and Jam for Francis – This is a great book to read to kids who are picky eaters. It’s about a little girl named Francis who loves bread and jam – and nothing else. Her mother gives in and feeds her only bread and jam – all the time, at all meals – and nothing else. It’s a kids book with a lesson, but it’s cute enough that kids won’t be bored by it. And you can finish off the book with some toast and jam of your own.
- Strega Nona – How could you not love Strega Nona? The book is about a little old Italian woman who is kind of like the grandmother/healer to her town. She uses a bit of magic, including a fork that produces spaghetti out of thin air. Her helper, Big Anthony, gets into her things when she goes out of town and decides to give the fork a try himself – and ends up filling the town with pasta. Like any good grandmother, Strega Nona doesn’ t get mad. She just teaches him a lesson by letting him put the fork to good use (in a nonmagical capacity) to clean up the mess he made.
What are your favorite foodie kids books?