With a glut of adult food memoirs on the market, it's easy to forget that some children's books rank among the best culinary literature. Here are my Top Five Food-Themed Children's Books.
5. Stone Soup (Marcia Brown). A wonderful lesson in collective cooking, Stone Soup recounts how visiting soldiers convince initially unfriendly townies to donate their individual foodstuffs to create a delicious stew for the entire village. Despite the rather dour communist-style red, white, and gray illustrations, the steaming "stone soup" still looks very appetizing.
4. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs (Judi Barrett). This book basically depicts one of my versions of heaven: a pleasant seaside town where residents get food through precipitation. It's delightful to see how the residents of Chewandswallow eat their way through hamburger gales, ice cream blizzards, and the occasional giant pancake.
3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl). Even Tim Burton's incredible graphics can't do justice to Roald Dahl's evocative descriptions of the most fantastic confectionary production facility ever built. A chocolate river, bubble gum that tastes like a three-course meal, and candy bars you can pluck straight from your television are just some of Willy Wonka's tantalizing inventions.
2. Green Eggs and Ham (Dr. Seuss). Furry Sam gradually convinces his reluctant friend ("I would not eat them with a fox/ I would not eat them in a box") to try his favorite double protein meal. I also do so like green eggs and ham, especially when they're made with fresh pesto and prosciutto.
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1. Chicken Soup With Rice (Maurice Sendak). With rhyming verses for each month, this classic features an adorable little boy slurping his favorite soup through the seasons. Two pages in, and I guarantee you'll be defrosting that stock in the freezer.