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Cook Your Books

It’s summertime, and your kids are probably reading away (right? right?) and enjoying their time immersed in new adventures and fantasies. Every now and then a book inspires a cooking project that practically begs to be recreated in the kitchen. Lucky for us, both of our boys had summer books that inspired kitchen adventures.

Our four-year-old loves, loves, LOVES the Henry and Mudge series, and his favorite book is almost certainly “Henry and Mudge and the Funny Lunch.” In the book, Henry and his dad create a funny food treat (a pineapple sofa) for their mother for Mothers’ Day.  We followed the pictures in the book to carve out the pineapple “sofa” and make marshmallow pillows. Then we picked out some strawberries for each of the “family” members and gave them miniature chocolate chip eyes. In the book the pineapple sofa is served on an enormous chocolate bar, but after we had finished the pineapple creation, our four-year-old was so excited he (astonishingly) forgot all about that detail. We enjoyed it anyway.

After the success of this project, he decided he wanted to move on to one other “funny lunch” highlighted in the book – the Sweet Potato Shoe. Our four-year-old was convinced that the shoelaces in the picture were made from cheese but we couldn’t figure out how to lace long pieces of cheese. Instead, we used a piece of whole wheat spaghetti, cooked al dente. We spent about 15 minutes trying to lace the spaghetti, then decided that life was too short to spend lacing spaghetti and settled on this “good-enough” version.

Our seven-year-old has spent much of the past year obsessed with Harry Potter, and when we were invited to a Harry Potter movie-viewing party, we decided that the event called for some serious Hogwarts treats. Inspired by the Golden Snitch Butterbeer cake pops on Amy Bites, we decided to make these Golden Snitch mini cupcakes. This was a two-stage project, the first stage of which was creating the wings. We used Wilton’s yellow fondant and cut them in wing shapes using Leaf Cut-Outs. Then we painted them with gold PearlDust and let them firm up. In the meantime, we made mini cupcakes with a standard yellow cake and frosted them with a white buttercream frosting.

When it was time to go to the party, all we had to do was slide in the wings and the Golden Snitches were ready for takeoff. Harry Potter movie purists will note that the Golden Snitch is usually pictured as gold with white wings, rather than the other way around, but we told our kids that you can make it any way you imagine it to be – you don’t have to stick with the movie’s interpretation. Again, we had no complaints whatsoever from the cupcake-eaters.

What are your kids’ favorite summer books? Have they inspired any interesting cooking projects?

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