Thursday, January 21, 2010

Bring Me Some Apples And I'll Make You A Pie

Bring Me Some Apples And I'll Make You A Pie: A Story About Edna Lewis. Robbin Gowley. 2009. [January 2009]. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 48 pages.

Whippoorwill! calls the little gray bird. Whippoorwill! Whipporwill! The melody echoes through the quiet woods and wends its way down the hill to the just-waking farm. This is the sound Edna's been waiting for all winter long.

Who was Edna Lewis? She was a pioneering chef, teacher, mentor, and cookbook author. What Bring Me Some Apples And I'll Make You A Pie does is present a young child enthusiastic, passionate about food, about cooking, about family. It's a charming little picture book that presents an intimate look at Southern life. We get to "see" the seasons through small-but-eager eyes as various foods (fruits, vegetables) are planted, grown, harvested, and enjoyed by one and all. It's a celebration of love, of life, of family, and, yes, a celebration of food--natural food--too.

Edna plucks garden-warmed tomatoes from a vine heavy with fruit and places them in Mama's outstretched apron. "Southern dirt mixed with southern sun makes a right sassy tomato," Mama says. "My favorite lunch above all is a tangy tomato sandwich."

Sugar baby watermelons ripen in the fields. As the sun sets, the family gathers round, and Daddy plugs the melons till he finds a perfect one.
"Melons are just like friends," Granny says. "Gotta try ten before you get a good one."
Everyone savors the crisp, cool, juicy slices. The children spit the seeds as far as they can.
Daddy says, "Save some of those seeds to plant for new melons."
Between slurps, Edna says, "Save the rinds! We'll make watermelon pickle."

Can't you almost taste the food? Aren't the descriptions just right? Not many picture books make me hungry, but this one sure does! Good thing it includes some recipes: strawberry shortcake, corn pudding, apple crisp, pecan drops, and nut-butter squares.

You can find out more about Edna Lewis by watching this twenty minute documentary, Fried Chicken and Sweet Potato Pie.

Here is an interview with her:

© Becky Laney of Young Readers

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