Over the years we’ve built a collection of children’s books that share the story of food and family. We always enjoy selecting this genre at the library too, where there are lots of fun titles to choose from.
A book we grab for again and again is Eric Carle’s beautiful story Pancakes, Pancakes! We get inspired to make pancakes per Jack’s persistent request, “Mother, I’d like to have a big pancake for breakfast.”
His busy mother is happy to fulfill his request, but reminds him that he must help gather the necessary ingredients. Jack goes about productively collecting everything they need: wheat from the field, which the miller grinds into flour; eggs from the backyard hen; milk from the spotted cow. Jack also churns some of the milk’s cream into butter and is finally ready to take to the stove (which is actually an open fire).
This classic story is a great reminder of where our food comes from. This is critical to know now that we live in a time where meals are available in an instant. These ‘heat and serve’ options might be fast, but do we know what’s inside those colorful packages? Factory-made foods often contain ingredients that we wouldn’t consider to be real food: Artificial colors, flavors, preservatives.
Jack’s simple pancake recipe has just a few everyday ingredients, and in our fast-paced world, who has time to forage for flour?
In my book, simple (and healthy) is delicious, even if it requires a few fun-filled minutes to cook.
This is the pancake recipe I was raised on. If it’s any testament to how good they are, friends always wanted the sleepover to be at my house because they claimed my mom made the best pancakes.
April Hamilton grew up spending more time in the kitchen than out. As an adult, her passion has led her to share her appreciation of the creation of good food with others, particularly in Charleston, West Virginia where she lives and teaches cooking classes for children and adults. In 2010, she worked with the Connecticut firm Sustainable Food Systems to attempt to revamp the school food in Kanawha County, an initiative that earned her the honor of “Food Revolution Hero” by Jamie Oliver. To read more about or by April, visit her website.