The Deltora Quest craze (an underground island kingdom where the people are half fish) is running into its sixteenth year at our house! Even though we’re all well and truly outside the target age range now, we still pounce on anything new, including recently the Star of Deltora series.
When the craze was in full swing, I’d often serve up Molisk patties (a.k.a. sea-weedy fishy sort of things) for dinner, as per:
“ ‘Here are rugs to keep you warm while you rest,’ she chattered. ‘And bread – freshly baked – with hot Molisk patties. I am sure you are hungry.’
She put down a basket of flat speckled rolls and a bowl of steaming objects that looked like green meatballs. Suddenly aware that they were ravenous, the companions helped themselves. … The patties were delicately flavoured and melted on the tongue.”
- (from Deltora Quest 2 The Isle of Illusion)
The patties I cooked up were neither delicately flavoured nor melt-on-the-tongue. But they were always a hit because they connected real life with that engrossing, fantasy world.
Books about food are like that – we feel connected even though the food might not be the focal point of the story. There’s just something delicious about sharing a food experience with characters from a well-loved book. So here are 8 picture books that invite us into the world of food, some explicitly and some subtly, but all full of flavour.
Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert – a simple and vivid picture book, ideal for young children. The vegetable soup in this story starts as a packet of seeds. There’s a recipe in the back too, if you’ve never made vegetable soup before.
I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato by Lauren Child – of all the Charlie and Lola books I think this is my favourite. As always, Charlie helps his funny little sister Lola to see the light as he helps her move past a long list of food she will not eat.
P.P.S. If you’re a Deltora family too, and would like to try out Molisk patties, here’s how we made them (nothing like the ones in the book, but they work for us):
1 tablespoon chopped coriander
a good handful of finely chopped silverbeet or spinach
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 can white beans, rinsed and mashed
1 ¼ cups wholewheat flour
1 can evaporated milk
2 tablespoons canola oil
Dash of tabasco (but I’d probably try a bit of sriracha instead now)
Just mix it all together and cook like pancakes, then top with sour cream, chopped tomatoes, avocado, grated cheese, toasted seeds etc etc.