non-fiction nuggets…who’s munching what on the other side of the world?

Let’s Eat!: What Children Eat Around the World, by Beatrice Hollyer

My grandmother made a to-die-for blueberry pie —  thousands of tiny wild berries she’d picked,  bursting with flavor, spilling out of a tender, sugar-crisp crust.  Yummmm.  My other grandmother made heavenly cardamom buns, their fragrant scent steaming out of the oven, filling the old house in Duluth with Swedish deliciousness. Ahhhhhh.

What we eat as children carries such strong memories and forges a unique part of our identity.  Around the globe this is true. As diverse as are the types of foods, styles of eating, traditions of feasting, each reveals an important part of an individual.

Beatrice Hollyer explores several distinct cultures’ foods by taking a fascinating peek into the lives of five children, ages 6-8, in far-flung locations around the world.  Her work is an outstanding, engaging book for kids ages 5 and up.

The children — two boys and three girls — are from France, Mexico, South Africa, India, and Thailand.  Each child’s story fills six pages, as we see what she eats for breakfast, where the family does their marketing, what’s for dinner, as well as assorted other interesting bits about their lives.  There is also a nice section about a special occasion in each child’s family, each having a connection with food.  Short, interesting snatches of text full of captivating detail are interspersed with quite a number of color photographs making this very accessible.

By the time you’ve read the whole thing, you know about Thembe’s school vegetable garden, Luis’ salad of cactus leaves, AA’s dislike of spicy peppers, Jordan’s mushroom hunts with his father, Yamini’s tiffin breaks at school, and so many more truly interesting flavors of these childrens’ lives.

To top it off, there are recipes included!  One of each child’s favorite dishes, plus a scrumptious chocolate cookie recipe from chef Jamie Oliver who has written the introduction.  What great fun to sample some dishes from around the world.  A Food Glossary with entries from each country gives a bit more info on some of the items mentioned by the children.  And, the royalties from the book all go to the charity, Oxfam.

This is a tremendously interesting book, and a great resource for a happy time of exploring other cultures together with young children.

Here’s the Amazon link:  Let’s Eat: What Children Eat Around the World