Books Buffet of Asian Literature - Makan! Picture Books Reading Ruminations Reading Themes

[Saturday Reads] Of Gingerbread Houses (Foodscapes!) and The Art of Cooking Children


Myra here.

Every Saturday we hope to share with you our thoughts on reading and books. We thought that it would be good practice to reflect on our reading lives and our thoughts about reading in general. While on occasion, we would feature a few books in keeping with this, there would be a few posts where we will just write about our thoughts on read-alouds, libraries, reading journals, upcoming literary conferences, books that we are excited about, and just booklove miscellany in general.


We are about to wrap up our food-themed reading. And so I am glad to discover the following books from our library during the past two weeks. And I just know I could not resist sharing them with you.

IMG_4771A World of Food: Discover Magical Lands Made of Things You Can Eat

Created by: Carl Warner
Published byAbrams Books for Young Readers, 2012
Borrowed from the NIE Library. Book photos taken by me.

I have heard of this magical picturebook from Jama Rattigan’s post a few years back, and I was ecstatic to find it in our public library. Apparently what he has created here is what is known as a foodscape. Lovingly dedicated to children who love to play with their food (and admittedly I was one of those children), this is a delectable picturebook that begs to be touched, tasted, chewed, and swallowed.

There is a system to this book with each page themed according to colors as can be seen below:


If all the world were yellow…


If all the world were green…

There is also a gallery of these photographs found at the end of the book which includes in great detail what the foodscape is made of. For instance, the green foodscape above is made up of broccoli and curly kale for trees, cucumbers for the tree trunks, thyme for leaves, green radishes for the plants, a cucumber for the bridge, bread for the rocks, and mayonnaise for the waterfall and river.


While I am not a fan of rhyming text, there is something special in the way that the verse is crafted here that adds even more color and vibrance to the pages. Part of me however wishes that there was just a sparse caption for every full-spread page, similar to what is done with Van Allsburg’s Mysteries of Harris Burdick, allowing the reader to come up with their own magical stories ala Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. This is a precious book that deserves a space in anyone’s bookshelf. Perfect gift for foodie-friends.

This is one of my favourite foodscape in the entire book – look closely at the ‘sea’ here – made of silvery fish scales. Truly amazing.


Here is a youtube link of Carl Warner interviewed for CBS Sunday Morning News. Watch and be amazed! Word of warning though: this will definitely make you hungry.

How to Cook Children: A Grisly Recipe BookIMG_4775

Text byMartin Howard Illustrations by: Colin Stimpson
Published by: Pavilion Books, 2008
Borrowed from the NIE Library. Book photos taken by me.

I have always had an affinity with strange and grisly tales. The more horrid, the better. And this one feels, reads, and tastes just right. Esmelia Sniff, the “General Editor” of the book invited a few select witches from all over the world to share their famous kid-recipes. I love her nagging, difficult-to-please voice dripping with venomous wit and biting sarcasm. As she lovingly describes her circle-of-crones:

Even though none of the crones in this here book is fit to cackle over my cauldron, some of them ain’t all that bad in the kitchen with a nice, ripe, wriggling kiddie. This book will show you that even the stinkiest gutter-reared urchin can be made into a mouth-watering pie or pudding.


The important thing to remember is to choose your ingredients with care. Always try and use the tenderest, plumpest little ones whenever you can. I only cook kiddies that I’ve caught munching one of my gingerbread houses. It costs a fortune in building repairs, but it’s worth the work for the extra flavour.

There is something here for everyone: for those who love French dishes, there is Enfant aux Escargot et Grenouilles as shared by Mad Elaine de la Moustache. You’d need a bagful of fresh frogs, bag full of snails, and a beautiful, plump, and ripe enfant thrown into the mix of course.


If you feel like going Japanese, then better try The Dishonourable Lady Soo-Shi’s recipe of Seared Tina in Boy Sauce on a Bed of Fragrant Lice. Can’t go wrong with that, witch-sous-chefs.


Just like any great recipe book, this one contains all the ingredients you need to make your dish, as well as the grisly, gory method on how to put everything together in a mouth-watering, heave-inducing concoction. And because I love Spanish dishes, here is Pie-Ella, Consula del Diablo’s recipe that made me have a hankering for paella!


You will definitely know more about the finer art of international child-cuisine if you get a copy of this book. Perfect for when you feel like eating your young. Yum.



Reading Challenge Update: 132, 133 (25)

*** Video ads other readers may find at the bottom of this post are NOT endorsed by GatheringBooks but are randomly included by WordPress to maintain their site. ***

1 comment on “[Saturday Reads] Of Gingerbread Houses (Foodscapes!) and The Art of Cooking Children

  1. So glad you got to see the Carl Warner book! And I must find HOW TO COOK CHILDREN! Looks so fun :). Love the new look!


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