So, I sort of dropped the ball big time in August for the Tasty Books Book Club. We were on vacation the first part of August and I did not plan a post before we left. And then we got caught up in getting ready to go back to school. Before I knew it we were nearly at the end of the month and it didn’t make sense to post August selections. And I’m really not sure if anyone is even reading these books (feedback, people, I need feedback!) but I since I’m reading them anyway and I love to share new titles with my friends, I’m happy to share them here too! I had intended for this to be just a summer reading club but since there are SO many books out there to share and read it’s just too fun not to continue!
So here goes with September’s selections. I’ll include a little bit about what I thought about the book and then the publishers description for a general overview.
Lunch Lessons: Changing the Way We Feed Our Children by Ann Cooper and Lisa M. Holmes.
Brenda’s Notes: While this book was published over five years ago, the message is clear: what we are feeding our children, whether coming from home or through the school lunch program, we need to care about providing nutritious options for our kids. The approach is clear and easy to understand. The first chapter is an overview of basic child nutrition and includes tips on how to get your kids helping out in the kitchen. Next is an overview of several school lunch programs around the country followed up by a big recipe section full of yummy sounding things like Yogurt-Honey Health Muffins, Peanut And Jelly Power Muffins, Mediterranean Chicken Wrap and Vegetable Fried Rice. The last section includes a Wellness Policy Guide prepared by the Center for Ecoliteracy in collaboration with Slow Food USA and the Chez Panisse Foundation. A great way for you to take action making changes in your own schools.
Amazon.com Summary: In prose both straightforward and practical, Cooper and Holmes cleverly avoid the depressing air of many of current nutrition manuals in their charge against the school lunch status quo; though they do note in the foreword that “thirty to forty percent of children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes,” they’ve largely jettisoned scare tactics in favor of practical, easy-to-follow solutions for the daily school lunch pail. The book is well documented throughout, giving authors’ claims that their advice will lead to “increased ability to concentrate, increased cognitive development…and less moodiness” a solid foundation. Clarifying which foods are truly hazardous to children, the authors offer readers a litany of substitutions and positive options. Avoiding trans-fats and processed foods is only the beginning of advice that includes “trusting your children’s appetites” while keeping in mind that “you are the boss” where food choices are concerned. Perfect for working parents who believe they’re far too busy to pack a school lunch for their child, this well-organized manual offers a host of surprisingly simple meal changes and easy-to-follow recipes. Other sections offer tips on getting involved locally to transform school lunch programs; the end of the book boasts a valuable resource guide with helpful websites.
The Glazed Donut Murders by Jessica Beck
Brenda’s Notes: I haven’t read this one yet—I’ll be reading along with you all. But who wouldn’t love donuts and a mystery? And the bonus: it includes recipes!
This delicious new mystery/recipe series will give readers some serious doughnut cravings. When a dead body is unceremoniously dumped in front of her smalltown doughnut shop in the wee hours of the morning, Suzanne Hart knows it’s not going to be an ordinary day. The deceased is Patrick Blaine, a friend and loyal customer. Against advice from her overprotective mother and hunky state police investigator Jake Bishop, Suzanne decides to try to track down Patrick’s killer, but her investigation makes her a target. Beck turns a somewhat predictable plot into a light, fun read filled with entertaining characters—Suzanne’s two-timing ex-husband, her wacky best friend, and an ex-cop pal who gives her the inside scoop—who have the potential to transcend the cozy mystery formula in future volumes.
30 Day Gourmet by Nanci Slagle and Carol Santee
Brenda’s Notes: Ok, this is probably my bible of freezer cooking. I’d have to say that pretty much everything I’ve ever made from it my family (and freezer meal exchange group) has loved! You can read my full review of the book here. I’ll pick a few of my favorite recipes for us to try in the follow-up discussion!
Best of the freezer cookbooks! 30 Day Gourmet’s comprehensive cooking system teaches busy cooks how to fill their freezers with nutritious and great tasting foods! Spend a few hours or spend a whole day. 150 great-tasting recipes include color photos and step-by-step instructions that will make stocking your freezer with delicious foods as simple as our 3 easy steps Step #1 – Choose & Plan Step #2 – Shop & Prep Step #3 -Assemble & Freeze *150 Delicious Recipes *Nutritional Analysis *Color Photos of all Recipes *Time-Saving Worksheets *Step-by-Step Instructions *Freezing Information *Online Support *100 s More Recipes Online
MIDDLE GRADES BOOK:
Grandma Torelli Makes Soup by Sharon Creech
Brenda’s Notes: We haven’t read this book yet, but it’s been on my daughter’s to read list for awhile. I don’t think it includes recipes but the message that food and stories can help make meaning of life is something to be enjoyed by all.
Tastes and smells emerge along with wisdom and insight as a grandmother and grandchild reveal experiences past and present in the warmth of the kitchen. Rosie and Bailey are neighbors, born only a week apart. They are like sister and brother, only better “because I chose him and he chose me.” She has always been his helper as he was born visually impaired. But now they have had a falling out. As Rosie tells Granny, Bailey is acting spiteful, all because she tried to be just like him. To be just like Bailey-her buddy, her pal-Rosie secretly learned to read Braille and unknowingly took away the special thing only he could do. When the two of them come together with Granny Torrelli in the kitchen and make cavatelli, the rift between them heals. Stories and wisdom continue as sauce and meatballs are made, helping to clarify feelings. As family and friends raise a glass of water to toast the cooks, Rosie realizes that her world is indeed bigger as is Bailey’s; that tutto va bene-all is well! Twelve-year-old Rosie’s narration seamlessly integrates Granny Torrelli’s stories and fleeting conversations in short chapters. Her authentic voice gradually reveals what has happened and the accompanying emotions ranging from anger and angst to happiness and contentment. The integration of the Italian kitchen and Granny’s family stories from the old country add flavor just like the ingredients in her recipes. This is a meal that should not be missed.
CHILDREN’S PICTURE BOOK:
Gator Gumbo: A Spicy-Hot Tale by Candace Fleming
Brenda’s Notes: We picked this book up from the library recently and we love it! It’s a Cajun twist on the Little Red Hen story with an even bigger twist at the end! The kids especially love it when I read it using my Cajun accent.
This is a classic tale of contemptuous characters getting a well-deserved comeuppance, with a few interesting twists to spice up the dish. Poor Monsieur Gator is too old to catch his dinner, a fact that has not escaped his former prey–a possum, an otter, and a skunk. As he barely scrapes by on vegetables, the cruel animals tease him endlessly. Finally, Monsieur Gator decides to cook up some gumbo, “just like Maman used to make,” and in a sequence straight out of “The Little Red Hen,” he asks his tormentors to help him gather the ingredients. Of course they refuse to participate until the fragrant stew is ready and they gather around hoping for a taste. The wily old predator obliges by tricking them into the pot. Although Lambert’s watercolors capture the general mood of the swamp, the absence of anything resembling palmetto fronds or moss-hung cypress trees is telling. Also, anyone who has ever cooked gumbo will immediately recognize that Monsieur Gator’s recipe is way off base. Fortunately, the story flows well in spite of these slips and Gator ultimately accomplishes his goal. Both the story and the illustrations are well executed.
Won’t you join me reading this month?