Monday, January 1, 2007

How to Make a Cherry Pie and see the U.S.A. by Marjorie Priceman

My son (who had just graduated Kindergarten) brought this book home from the library last Summer mixed in with Star Wars comics and some gross out science books.  I actually think he threw this one in by mistake or maybe he liked the illustration on the cover?  This book isn't just about baking. It is more a lesson in history, geography, chemistry and a tour of the United States.  The story follows a little girl who goes on an adventure to find everything she needs to make a cherry pie.   She travels to New Mexico to find clay to make her bowl, then Pennsylvania to gather coal for the pie pan while exploring National Monuments and gathering historical facts along the way.  My husband was trying to encourage my son to read this book (or any book for that matter!) As an incentive for finishing the book, he promised they would make the Cherry Pie together when they were finished with the book.  That did it!  Noah was off and reading!  I glanced at the recipe inside the book (which called for fresh or canned sour cherries and homemade pie crust ) and seriously had my doubts.  I then pictured myself rolling out the dough with a rolling I even own a rolling pin?  They finished the book on a Tuesday and the next day were off to the Farmer's Market to buy cherries...a lot of cherries!  I have never made Cherry Pie from scratch. O.K. who am I kidding? I've never made a cherry pie!  I was wondering how they were going to get the pits out of all those cherries and how I would get the stains out of their shirts when they were done?  Turns out there is a tool for that (the pits...not the cherry stains!) and that was part of the fun of making the pie...boy's like anything that involves using  tools.   I felt a little guilty for doubting their father/son baking skills as I watched them carefully place the lattice crust across the top of the pie and pop it in the oven.  They did it without any help and only left a category 3 mess in the kitchen.  I have to say...when this pie was baking, the whole house was filled with the amazing aroma of real cherry pie! Not the kind that starts from a can! I opened all the windows to entice our neighbors as they purposely unknowingly do to us all Summer long with their billowing BBQ's.   Yeah, that's right, we may not have a fancy grill but, we bake cherry pies...from scratch!  We happen to live in a neighborhood of  "Foodies" so, we get props for stuff like this! We couldn't wait to try it and my husband Noah was so proud of his accomplishment.  This book has definitely become a Summer tradition in our house.  I am also happy to say that my son who had to be forced bribed coaxed to read a book last year is now reading non-stop and loving it!  Like most boys, he is a hands on learner.  Having an activity to go along with the story and a map to follow helped keep his attention and reinforced what he had read.

GrEeN iDeA...
I love how the book explores how each item is made and where it comes from (before it magically appears at our local Target.)  If we train ourselves and teach our kids to really think about the energy and resources it takes to make each common household item, these items will become less disposable and we will hopefully create less waste or find a way to repurpose things.

Recommended reading level for this book is ages 4-8 but, younger kids will enjoy the colorful illustrations and can follow the map inside too.  If you read the book...don't forget to make the pie and sprinkle a little sugar on top.  Once you try fresh, homemade cherry pie, you will never waste calories on the canned version again!
Marjorie's other books...
How to make an Apple Pie and See the World
Hot Air: The (Mostly) True Story of the First Hot-Air Balloon Ride


Post a Comment