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Cortney Tunis

Play with your Food!

91df2c88d25db8ce28e57367eb545918 Saxton Freeman and Joost Elffers are masters at playing with food. In their hands oranges get frustrated, strawberries give kisses, and kiwi’s mug for the camera. In their many books, including Food Play, How are you Peeling?, and Food for Thought, the pair use the natural shapes of fruits and veggies to create dynamic characters and clever scenes.GR-130_6_2_3

 

The images in the books tell their own stories without words, making them work for kids of all ages–even adults will get a kick out of the creative ways fruits and veggies are turned in to recognizable faces and transformed into other objects.

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Using the creativity demonstrated by Freeman and Elffers, teachers, parents, and other caregivers and fun-thusiasts can encourage kids to make their own fun and silly faces from fruits and vegetables. Finding inspiration in the foods that are best for young people can make them both fun to play with and fun to eat. What characters are hiding in your fruit bowl? Get creative and find out!

 


The Science of Food

While of course food is wonderful for eating, it is also a great way to enter the world of science and engage young learners. The Wheelock Library and the Earl Center for Learning and Innovation both have great resources to bring food in to the classroom or science in to the kitchen! Check out these two books available now!

booksThe Science Chef

This book is organized around food related questions like “How do sauces thicken?” or topics like “Make your own cheese.” Each topic is followed by an experiment that helps address the subject and answer science questions. Then a number of recipes follow using the food addressed in the experiment. The mix of science plus tasty recipes means you can go to this book for both food, fun, and education!

 

books (1)Foodworks:  over 100 science activities and fascinating facts that explore the magic of food

This book takes the science aspect of food to a new level by answering fun and interesting questions about food, and offering sciences experiments. For example: “Did you know you are being eaten right now by the 300,000 microbes on each dime-sized section of your skin? That you can make the soil in your yard suitable for growing anything? That a field mouse eats its own weight every day, while you eat about one ton of food each year- some one and a quarter million calories?” According to Barnes and Noble, all of the answers can be found in this book!

So bring learning to the kitchen. Have fun, learn, and eat deliciously!


Book, Movie, Food

n346955I’m writing today about a book I haven’t read and a movie I haven’t seen. But thing is, I’m excited for both. The Hundred-Foot Journey first caught my attention as a movie trailer filled with feuding restaurants in France, Michelin stars, and Indian cooking. Obviously, I was immediately intrigued. The basic plot, as described by IMBD: “The Kadam family leaves India for France where they open a restaurant directly across the road from Madame Mallory’s Michelin-starred eatery.” Sounds good to me! And when I discovered that this was a movie based on a book, I was even more excited. After hearing great reviews on both the film and the book, I knew I was going to be diving in to both.

See, I love reading about food. The descriptions of foods and their preparations–the smells and textures described in vivid detail–have always inspired me to get in to the kitchen to create the reality of the described experience. Reading about the origins of a dish, or the technique of a chef always makes me more reflective of my own food choices and preparation processes. So, I am excited to read this book. But I’m also excited to see this film.

See, I love watching people cook. I love seeing deft hands chopping, kneading, and grinding to manipulate ingredients. The vivid colors of foods, the distinct textures of ingredients, and the chef’s responses to smells and tastes make me want to recreate those experiences in my own kitchen. I love cooking shows (even Julia Child’s old black-and-white episodes!) because they remind me of why I love to cook. Films surrounding food offer both the excitement of a plot and the opportunity to gawk and drool over dishes that contribute to the story in meaningful and delicious ways.

The_Hundred_Foot_Journey_(film)_posterThe Hundred-Foot Journey gives me the chance to indulge in great food writing and great food on film. I can’t wait to dig in to both!


A Gourmet E-book

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Eat like Don Quixote!

Writing for this blog has allowed me to explore many different instances of meals in books–but I am not the first (nor do I suspect, the last) to tackle this tasty literary project. Available as an E-book through the Wheelock library, The Literary Gourmet: Menus From Masterpieces takes on the task of creating menus based on passages in famous books, from the Bible, to Don Quixote, to The Importance of Being Earnest.

The author, Linda Wolfe, provides a brief synopsis of the story, then excerpts a scene from each book in which the selected food appears. She then creates a menu with the help of historical resources–relying on varied sources such as Biblical encyclopedias for the Red Pottage of Lentils, or two women’s conflicting chowder recipes from the 1800s to reflect New England Clam Chowder as it was known in the time of Moby Dick and as it is recognized now.

There are entrees, starters and desserts (who knew The Legend of Sleepy Hollow betrayed such a sweet tooth!) so you can create an entire meal spanning some of the world’s most famous works of literature. My only criticism of this book is that it could stand to broaden the diversity of authors to include women and people of color. Perhaps, inspired by this delicious text, one of you, readers, will take up that task!


Passover–A Story Told in Food

This year, I was lucky enough to be invited to celebrate Passover with the family of a friend of mine–if you have never been to a Passover Seder and get a chance to attend one, do it! The celebration of Passover, an eight day holiday in the Jewish calendar, beings with the Passover Seder, a gathering with family and friends for a meal that involves the retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. It is an interactive celebration that is informative, celebratory, somber, and fun.

A Passover Seder Plate

My friend’s lovely Passover Seder Plate!

A central part of this meal and storytelling is the Passover Seder Plate, a plate adorned with food items that symbolize various parts of the story of the Israelites flight from Egypt. Each of the items represents a sympolic piece of the story, from the maror, or bitter herbs, that represent the bitterness and harshness of slavery, to the charoset, a sweet, brown mixture made of nuts, grated apples, cinnamon, and wine, that symbolizes the mortar used by the Hebrew slaves to build the buildings of Egypt.

Food is a key element in the Passover tradition, as the story is told not just in words, but in songs, symbols, flavors, and smells. While many holidays have traditional foods, Passover is one of the few I have experienced that uses food to connect with the history of the holiday so directly. Additionally, while the actual meal served on Passover may vary from home to home, the Passover Seder Plate is virtually the same in every Jewish household, connecting the celebrations of families across the globe with a unifying tradition.

If you are interested in learning more about Passover, or teaching a young person in your life about the traditions of this food-centric holiday, there are some great books available in the Wheelock Library that can help.

Hooray! It’s Passover! is a great first introduction to the traditions of the Passover holiday, and is a great way to get young readers excited about this eight day celebration.

Why on This Night? is a haggadah, the text that establishes the order of the Passover Seder. This family friendly haggadah uses stories, songs, poems, activities, and explanations to guide kids through the traditions of Passover Seder.

Around the Passover Table is an e-cookbook that gives you over 75 recipes for the Passover holiday–happy cooking! And Happy Passover!