“Family” by Isabell Monk – Making a “My Family Recipes” Book
Family reunions, gatherings, and potlucks are here, with summertime in full swing. Here is a fun book and activity to do with your kids this summer as you get ready for those family reunions and gatherings.
Hope and her family arrive at Aunt Poogee’s farm, which is five hours from the city she lives in. She’s there to spend the summer with all her aunts, uncles and cousins on her mother’s side. When she arrives, she finds her aunts and uncles, catfish, corn pudding, a trumpet, cousins, homemade ice cream, special family recipes, crab cakes, and fun. They have a big family dinner. Isabell Monk’s whimsical text helps readers imagine the sights, sounds, and smells of a big family gathering.
Hope has brought a surprise for her family to eat for dessert. Pickles with a peppermint stick inside (sweet and sour pickles)! Her cousin on Papa’s side taught her how to make them. Hope looks a little bit different from her cousins, and when one cousin sees the pickles she brought for dessert, he says, “That’s different. But come to think of it, so are you.” Later, while playing school bus, he calls her a city girl.
Careful readers can pick out the theme of children finding their unique identity and place within the larger setting of an extended family.
Hope and her Aunt Poogee sit on the porch after dinner talk about family recipes and how Hope’s peppermint pickle recipe will now be added to the family’s recipes. “Sharing food is a good way of sharing family…always add a cup of tradition from your papa’s family to a cup from your mama’s side…add lots and lots of love!” It’s a recipe for a family.
The last page has recipes for Aunt Mil’s coconut cake, frosting, aunt Poogee’s lemonade, aunt Frances’s corn puddin’ and Hope’s sweet and sour pickles.
Make A “My Family’s Recipes” book
Talk with kids about family recipes – some from mom’s side and some from dad’s side. Children can make their own collection of favorite “family” recipes. They can just be any old recipe that your family likes to make.
Start with the child
Ask your child to tell you their favorite food or recipe. Maybe they can make it to share at the next family reunion. Copy the recipe and put them in plastic page protectors in a binder. My son wanted to write out the recipe onto a card and make some changes to it. He loves the color red and is fascinated by red velvet cake. He copied the recipe for it onto a card and changed the frosting and sprinkles. He changed the name of it to “Super Red Velvet Cake.” He drew a picture of the cake and put that in his binder too. Then he immediately wanted to make it! Which we haven’t done yet. Dang swimming lessons…
Suggest family recipes
I suggested some of our favorite foods, like Grandma Dyer’s rolls and Mom’s chocolate chip cookie recipe. We copied both of those for my daughter’s binder. We copied Dad’s handwritten notes for making Chilean Completos (hot dogs) and added that to the binder. We also found the recipe for Aunt Susan’s chocolate mousse pie that we make every Thanksgiving.
Make a title page
We drew on a white sheet of paper to put in the front of the binder. They called their books, “my family recipes!”
We will need to copy our family’s favorite macaroni and cheese recipe to add to their collections. As time goes by, I’m sure we’ll think of many more recipes to add. Now they can be in charge of their own binders and when they’re old enough, they can take them off to college.
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