Once upon a time, there was a magic recipe . . .
December 26, 2008 10:56 AM   Subscribe

We've been invited to party where everyone brings a dish based on food from a children's book. Does anyone have any good suggestions and, better yet, recipes?

As Harry Potter was on everyone's brain, Pumpkin juice and Cauldron Cakes have been spoken for. The only other idea in my brain is writing "EAT ME" in icing on cupcakes (and then trying not to giggle too much). This should be a fun dish to brainstorm, but I've got a million other tasks cluttering my head, so I need to outsource my inspiration.

Oh, and the food would need to appeal and be familiar to U.S. kids between 4-10.
posted by bibliowench to Food & Drink (57 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
Turkish Delight from The Chronicles of Narnia
Green Eggs and Ham
posted by NoraCharles at 11:01 AM on December 26, 2008

Do you want something really simple, like Bread and Jam?
posted by Lesser Shrew at 11:05 AM on December 26, 2008

Anne of Green Gables' ultimate drink was Raspberry Cordial. You could try making it with ingredients like Cran-Raspberry juice, Grenadine syrup and soda water, maybe.
Hansel & Gretl- a candy-covered gingerbread house.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 11:07 AM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Chicken soup with rice!
posted by jrossi4r at 11:08 AM on December 26, 2008

Morning cake from In the Night Kitchen! "I'm in the milk and the milk's in me!"
posted by headnsouth at 11:12 AM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

stone soup
posted by robinpME at 11:13 AM on December 26, 2008 [3 favorites]

Absolutely Green Eggs and Ham.

Use a melon baller on a honeydew to make the yolks. Wrap small pieces of prosciutto around the balls, secure with toothpick if necessary. Takes no time to make, cheap as hell, tastes like a million bucks.

Jars of Attack Jelly would be awesome. (50 points to whoever gets the reference without Googling).

omg... Toast and marmalade and tea. (Paddington Bear).
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 11:14 AM on December 26, 2008 [2 favorites]

Sour grapes!
posted by majick at 11:14 AM on December 26, 2008

strawberry shortcake (from both the Poky Little Puppy, and I suppose the greeting card character "strawberry shortcake) or rice pudding from Poky Little Puppy as well.
posted by stray at 11:14 AM on December 26, 2008

Honey from Winnie the Poo
posted by stray at 11:15 AM on December 26, 2008

Three Billy Goat cheeses Gruff?
posted by LunaticFringe at 11:16 AM on December 26, 2008

Bread and jam, from Bread and Jam for Frances
Mush, from Goodnight Moon
Apples, from Ten Apples Up on Top
Hard boiled eggs, marshmallows, applesauce, fries/burgers, all from the Ramona books
Anything at all from The Little House Cookbook
Ice cream, from Frog and Toad All Year
Chicken soup with rice, from the book of the same title
Bread and milk and blackberries, from The Tale of Peter Rabbit

(You'll have to figure out how familiar some of the stories are to the kids, and what they might want to eat.)

I love the "Eat Me" idea!
posted by corey flood at 11:17 AM on December 26, 2008

You could make a loaf of bread in homage to The Little Red Hen.
posted by amyms at 11:20 AM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

A lot of the stuff from The Little House On the Prairie Cookbook would be perfect for a party...
posted by HopperFan at 11:21 AM on December 26, 2008

Stinky Cheese
posted by Gungho at 11:21 AM on December 26, 2008

Pancakes from Where the Wild Things Are.
Porridge from The Three Bears.
Raspberry cordial from Anne of Green Gables
Peter Rabbit: Parsley, carrots, gooseberries, bread and blackberries, chamomile tea
Apples from Snow White
Cake from In the Night Kitchen

Pick up a few Amelia Bedelia books - off the top of my head I know there are incidents with sponge cakes (using real sponge) and date cakes/bread (using dates from a calendar), both of which could be accomplished with some creative marzipan/fondant work.
The Tale of Samuel Whiskers, or The Roly Poly Pudding (Beatrix Potter): Make pigs in a blanket with mini hot dogs and put a cat's face in dough on each of them.

Cookbooks to look for:
Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes (includes Bruce Bogtrotter's Chocolate Cake) *recommended
The Little House Cookbook (Little House on the Prarie)
Mary Poppins in the Kitchen
posted by fuzzbean at 11:23 AM on December 26, 2008

Stinky Cheese

My husband wants to do some variation on the stinky cheese man, but short of cutting slices of American cheese with a gingerbread man cookie cutter - yuck - we can't work out the execution.
posted by bibliowench at 11:23 AM on December 26, 2008

For that matter, there's also an Anne of Green Gables cookbook, called...um...The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook.
posted by fuzzbean at 11:27 AM on December 26, 2008

You could do all the fruits from The Very Hungry Caterpillar, with caterpillar bites taken out. No recipe required.
posted by Meg_Murry at 11:34 AM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Jane Brockett wrote a lovely cookbook called Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer: a Golden Treasury of Classic Treats, a collection of recipes based on (mostly British) childrens books.

It is more geared towards British literature (I had never heard of Enid Blyton!), but she cooks from Little House on the Prairie, Roald Dahl, Anne of Green Gables and the Narnia books, among others. I flipped through a copy once and it seems to be fairly accessible to Americans.

what a fun party idea!
posted by chickadee at 11:36 AM on December 26, 2008

Harriet the Spy used to eat tomato sandwiches for lunch every day. I believe they were just tomatoes and mayonnaise on bread - sort of a BLT without the B or L.

More from Frog and Toad - cookies! (Caution: according to the book, may require a Plan to keep you from eating all the cookies!)

More from Pooh - watercress sandwiches (from The House at Pooh Corner) and Cottleston Pie ("ask me a riddle and I reply - Cottleston, Cottleston, Cottleston pie!"), which is bacon and eggs in pastry, according to the recipe in my copy of The Pooh Cookbook.

If you wanted to be really creative, you could probably do something interesting with seitan or gluten and tell the kids it's from How to Eat Fried Worms.
posted by kristi at 11:38 AM on December 26, 2008

Oh! - and muffins, from If You Give a Moose a Muffin. (Similarly, pancakes, from If You Give a Pig a Pancake, but I prefer fuzzbean's pancakes from Wild Things.)
posted by kristi at 11:41 AM on December 26, 2008

Welsh rarebit is mentioned in The Wind in the Willows, and I think "bangers and mash" is also the name of a book and/or TV show for kids.
posted by Quietgal at 11:42 AM on December 26, 2008

Pasta Puttanesca from the first Series of Unfortunate Events? It's easy and yummy.

And dirtynumbangelboy- I'm digging the Gordon Korman out of the bookcase right now for a re-read.
posted by dogmom at 11:42 AM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Geez, sorry, things keep coming to me -

Donuts, from Homer Price.
posted by kristi at 11:43 AM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Night Kitchen themed gingerbread men.
posted by Artw at 11:45 AM on December 26, 2008

Also: hard boiled eggs, from The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet.
posted by kristi at 11:50 AM on December 26, 2008

Peas, honey, chocolate coins wrapped in a five pound note.
posted by Artw at 11:53 AM on December 26, 2008

dnab - attack jelly!!!....oh, it's coming back to me! It is a Gordon Korman novel about the kid that swindles while on a cross-country camping trip......But what is the name of that novel!!! I can't remember but I loved it when they got the toaster and they ate toast all night.
posted by typewriter at 11:53 AM on December 26, 2008

Stinky cheese... REAL stinky cheese. Just a platter of Limburger, Tilsit, beer cheese, etc with crackers.
posted by Gungho at 11:58 AM on December 26, 2008

Cornbread from Jan Brett's Annie and the Wild Animals
Hot Chocolate from The Polar Express
Pancakes from Nate the Great
posted by coevals at 12:00 PM on December 26, 2008

Sushi, from Rosemary Wells' Yoko-- California or other vegetable/cooked seafood rolls if the kids are squeamish about raw fish.
posted by brujita at 12:18 PM on December 26, 2008

typewriter: No Coins, Please.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 1:02 PM on December 26, 2008

you could bring mince pie

"They dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon"
- The Owl and the Pussycat. Good luck finding a runcible spoon though.
posted by cosmicbandito at 1:21 PM on December 26, 2008

Creamed Angleworms on Toast, from a book by the same name.

Pork Chops with Paper Panties and Bullet Peas from The Alligator Case by William Pene Du Bois.

Sorry for the crappy links.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 1:22 PM on December 26, 2008

A fat, wicker luncheon-basket containing any or all of the following: cold chicken, coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrenchrollscresssandwichespottedmeatgingerbeerlemonadesodawater. A lot of leeway there.

(From The Wind in the Willows in case you didn't recognize the reference.)
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 1:24 PM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

My husband wants to do some variation on the stinky cheese man, but short of cutting slices of American cheese with a gingerbread man cookie cutter - yuck - we can't work out the execution.

What about making homemade plain biscuits or crackers and cutting them with the gingerbread-man cutter, then topping each head with a tiny wedge of stinky cheese?(For most of the children I know, any sharp, flavorful, or unusual cheese would fill the requirement of "stinky" but still appeal. That is, it would be sufficiently novel and interesting without spurring cries oh "Ew! Gross!" You might even try an assortment of cheeses: maybe a farmhouse cheddar, a tame brie, a buttery havarti, and so on.)

I will also donate a favorite childhood dinner of mine, though the book is apparently out of print and therefore perhaps unknown to most people. It's from a book called The Giant Alexander, about an enormous but kind fellow with a timid smile and a red beard. Among his kind tasks: he cleans Nelson's Column with his outsized toothbrush, and later makes a dinner for all the children (of his village? of London? I can't remember), frying barrels and bushels and truckloads of potatoes and onions with sausage.

Our family's version of the dish is known as Alexander Giant. The amounts are infinitely adjustable, and it's dead easy: just saute chopped onions and potatoes with crumbled sausage and a little black pepper, then serve with applesauce on the side.
posted by Elsa at 1:45 PM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

These may be a little more esoteric/ hard to create, but there are a host of great foods from The Phantom Tollbooth, like "Subtraction Stew," cookie punctuation marks and parts of speech, eating one's own words- literally, and Half Baked Ideas from the Half Bakery.
posted by ilana at 1:48 PM on December 26, 2008

Ahh, ilana beat me to it! I second The Phantom Tollbooth... I remember there being descriptions of the flavors and textures of different letters - sweet, dry, etc. Maybe you use alphabet cookie cutters to make an assortment of letter-shaped foods - cookies, Jello, toast, etc.
posted by illenion at 2:15 PM on December 26, 2008

Astrid Lindgren's books are full of traditional Swedish food. Okay - Pippi Longstocking does her own little things with some of the recipes, but otherwise there's everything as should be: freshly caught crayfish, a whole Christmas buffet, cakes, sweets and candy etc. etc. And soup. Emil (no idea what name the English translation uses) gets his head stuck in a soup bowl.
posted by Namlit at 2:17 PM on December 26, 2008

The food from Alice in Wonderland would be easy to do. Mushrooms or pieces of cake that say "eat me."
posted by MaryDellamorte at 2:49 PM on December 26, 2008

Thunder Cake from the book Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco. The recipe is in the back of the book.
posted by tamitang at 4:15 PM on December 26, 2008

"Have a carrot," said the mother bunny.
posted by woodway at 5:29 PM on December 26, 2008

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins - bread, goat cheese, berries; the book abounds with references to food (and the lack thereof).

Canning Season by Polly Horvath - more milage from a pot of jam.

Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - borscht prepared by Miss Lupescu

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan - "ambrosia" = mead? apple / white grape juice?

Wind Singer by William Nicholson - "mud nuts" = potatoes

Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer - "blood" = merlot, grape juice
posted by woodway at 5:59 PM on December 26, 2008 [1 favorite]

Oops, some of those are books aren't geared towards young readers. Suggested reading levels, from Amazon...

Canning Season: Grade 6-9
Graveyard Book: Ages 9-12
Hunger Games: Young Adult
Percy Jackson: Ages 9-12
Twilight: Young Adult
Wind Singer: Ages 9-12

Celery Stalks at Midnight by James Howe (Bunnicula), ages 9-12, is another one that came to mind.
posted by woodway at 6:13 PM on December 26, 2008

First chapter of the Graveyard Book is pretty harsh. Good though.
posted by Artw at 6:18 PM on December 26, 2008

Yes, good point. Hunger Games deals with material for young adults, and while I'd love some merlot about now, it's definitely not for US kids between 4-10.
posted by woodway at 6:31 PM on December 26, 2008

Redwall series has lots of good ideas.
posted by silkygreenbelly at 6:49 PM on December 26, 2008

Wow. Judging by the aftermarket prices, I should have bought 50 when it came out, but: Narnia Cookbook. It's a fave.

Best price at BookFinder: $120 (ouch!)

Inter-library loan?
posted by quarantine at 7:00 PM on December 26, 2008

The can of dog food from Sally Goes to the Beach.
posted by fourcheesemac at 7:07 PM on December 26, 2008

Watercress sandwiches with the crusts cut off from The Trumpeter Swan
Sasparilla from Stuart Little
posted by spec80 at 8:19 PM on December 26, 2008

One Hungry Monster has: apple juice, bread, spaghetti, purple eggplants, pickled pears, watermelons, pizza pies, jars of peanut butter (but not a speck of jam), an apple muffin...there are more food items from this book, but our copy is currently in my 4yo's room and she's sleeping. I can update tomorrow!

Bear Snores On
(my favourite book!) has black tea and white popcorn
posted by dancinglamb at 8:36 PM on December 26, 2008

Popcorn, from one of the Amelia Bedilia books (?). Most kids like popcorn....
posted by quarantine at 8:59 PM on December 26, 2008

stone soup

I remember fondly making stone soup in kindergarten. I asked the teacher whether the stone was really appropriate to put into soup. One of the volunteer mothers laughed and said, "With the way we scrubbed it, that stone is the cleanest thing in there." Unintentional consequence: squeamishness about the cleanliness of vegetables for a few years.
posted by quarantine at 9:04 PM on December 26, 2008

Thank you all so much for these great suggestions. I made these half baked ideas from The Phantom Tollbooth as suggested by ilana. They were a hit, and once some letters were missing, we had fun rearranging the remaining letters into words like "snot." Good times.
posted by bibliowench at 8:18 AM on December 29, 2008

« Older Best practices for self-service password reset...   |   Windshield wiper repair Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.