Monday, March 16, 2015

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Dessert

by Emily Jenkins

Illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Schwartz and Wade Books, 2015
36 pages   4-8 years

Stretching across time, place and situation, four parent-child pairs make blackberry fool in this entertaining and educational look at changes in technology and culture. While the simple recipe, the delight in the dessert, and the obvious love between parent and child remain constant through the four centuries, the means for making the dessert as well as the lifestyles of families and communities change radically. The book begins in 1710 in Lyme, England, where a mother and her daughter pick wild blackberries, whip cream with a whisk made of wooden sticks, chill the dessert outside and enjoy the dessert at the family dinner. In 1810 in Charleston, South Carolina, an enslaved mother and daughter pick berries in the plantation garden, whisk the cream, chill the blackberry fool, and serve the master’s family. The mother and daughter taste the dessert by sharing the scrapings of the mixing bowl. In 1910, a mother and daughter in Boston buy berries, beat the cream with a manual, metal mixer, and store the dessert in the kitchen icebox. Finally, in San Diego in 2010, a boy and his father zip by the market for cream and berries, find an Internet recipe, and whip the cream with a powerful electric mixer. They then gather friends for a festive meal. There is much for adults and children alike to enjoy and discuss in this beautiful and well-researched book, from kitchen tools, food storage, and work to style of dress, family relationships, and leisure. Both Jenkins and Blackall offer thorough and thoughtful author and illustrator notes and cover the necessity yet difficulty of representing slavery in a history of blackberry fool. A blackberry fool recipe is sure to tempt readers to make and taste this fine dessert. (ET)  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

1 comment:

  1. We love this book at our house, and we did indeed follow the recipe this weekend; it definitely is a fine dessert!