A Cooks Tour: 3 Picture Books About Famous Foodies

sweet justice
Georgia Gilmore and Montgomery Bus Boycott
Written by Mara Rockliff
illustrated by t. Gregory Christie

Alice Waters cooking a food revolution
By Diane Stanley
Illustrated by Jesse Heartland

born hungry
Julia Child becomes ‘French Chef’
By Alex Prudhomme
Illustrated by Sarah Green

Whether the kids know it or not, the plate of food in front of them can be much more than just food. It can be a source of comfort, a link to their heritage, a learning moment, a conversation starter, an essential ritual, a battle of wills, an expression of love, and a trigger for fond and dark memories.

Three new illustrated biographies of women in the world of food, who quietly and quietly make their way into history, are built on the premise that food has the power to make our worlds bigger, better, and more connected.

The most compelling of them, both narratively and artistically, is Mara Rockcliff’s “Sweet Justice” (with the art of R. Gregory Christie). It tells the story of Georgia Gilmore, the unsung hero behind the scenes of the Montgomery Bus County in 1955.

Georgia, the restaurant chef who walks through the pages in a bold canary yellow coat, whipped out the best meatloaf and sweet potato pie in town, boycotted the bus for more than a year to protest Rosa Parks’ arrest and apartheid in general, and soon found herself at the center of the movement, preparing and selling Her famous dumplings and crispy chicken to raise money for the cause. After testifying at Martin Luther King’s trial, she was fired from her job, but with King’s encouragement, she began cooking from her own kitchen, eating food to feed the protesters.

The story tells us that “Georgia wasn’t just a place to eat”. “It was a place to meet, talk and plan.”

Georgia food was not just a source of livelihood for the protesters. It was just as legitimate and motivating fuel as their rage and thirst for justice.

Rockcliffe weaves this idea in through her poetic prose: ‘Spring has come, but city officials still don’t budge. Fortified with Georgia’s sweet potato pie, the boycotters were determined to stay away from the bus. Summer heated, sidewalks fried like sizzling pork chops in One of Georgia’s troughs. The interrupters continued. Autumn passed, with cool mornings and the comfort of hot coils from the Georgia oven. The interrupters wobbled.”

The biggest lesson for kids? Movements are greater than the headlines; Behind every Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King is an army of Georgia Gilmores. Anyone can be a hero and a hero can come from anywhere. If you’re armed with pancakes and cabbage, this is as good a ticket to the show as any. (It’s worth noting that while food often serves as a lens here, it’s almost impossible not to crave sweet potato pie and crispy chicken when the book closes.) Christie, a Caldecott celebrity, brings the story to life through his elegant art, Introduction Rich and saturated colours.

In “Alice Waters Cooks Up a Food Revolution” by Diane Stanley (illustrated by Jesse Hartland), kids will be delighted to read that the most important food movement of the last half century was launched by one woman doing what she loves: cooking and eating with and with her community. In an unusual beginning to the story, a trip to Paris during college turns a young Alice girl into Francoville, and reminds her of the way she was raised, eating only what was fresh and in season – the culmination of pleasure.

Kids will receive the message and laughter as they flip from the illustration of her childhood summer dinner table showing the best summer produce (“nothing is picked until it’s ripe, they eat it the same day”) to the fall spread (“convenient food” – processed in factories, then packed or Freeze or canned. It’s talk! It’s easy! It’s what America wants!”).

Waking Waters is great news for her friends back home in Berkeley (and eventually the whole world) because she inspires one of the most influential restaurants in history: Chez Panisse. When she opened it in 1971 with a group of hippie friends (group restaurant experience: zero), Waters was just a lost college graduate trying to make a living and reclaim the magical flavor of a simple soup she ate in Paris (“Best! SOUP! EVER!”

And by grounding her cooking with local, sustainable ingredients, a food that “enriches the earth rather than draining and polluting it,” she started many other things: the conversation about organic farming; its national Edible Schoolyard project (where schools use local parks to teach children about the environment); Return cooked food with intention and eat it at home with the family.

Following in her footsteps, Heartland’s accompanying illustrations invite a slow-reading experience, and whose bountiful, happy, and whimsical details are best discovered – a suitcase covered in travel posters, a fish platter where the fish looks decidedly interested, and the Poodle sits and talks. dining room table.

One of the ways Waters immersed herself in French cooking was by watching Julia Child’s flagship show on PBS “The French Chef,” so it makes sense that the other behemoth among the crop here is Child herself, a figurative and literal giant—she stood 6 feet 2 inches tall. “Born Hungry,” written by Alex Prud’homme, baby nephew and illustrated by Sarah Green, chronicles Julia’s life predating her blockbuster book “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Mastering transformed the worldview of food in our country away from cheap and easy food to fresh and premium, which eventually earned the child a job as a “French Chef”.

It’s fun to read how she met her beloved husband, Paul Child, while working as a spy for OSS, and how he introduced her to French food, in Rouen he ordered Julia’s oysters, a sole mounier, freshly baked bread” with perfect butter,” white wine, yogurt, and coffee—which (shock! She lit all kinds of fireworks in her little brain.

The illustrations are colorful and often comical – Julia rises above her only male classmates at Le Cordon Bleu culinary school; Julia literally dreams of food, a piece of butter and chicken legs hovering over her in her sleep.

An author’s note eventually fills her autobiography with the fame and fortune that has resulted from her television success, detailing how Child has managed to demystify French cooking for audiences—one can only wish these parts of her life were clarified, too.

However, Julia’s message to any child who wants to hear it is clear: “Good results require that one take time And Care‘ – to this food dish in front of you and beyond.

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