Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Around the World with the Ingreedies: A Taste Adventure

Around the World with the Ingreedies: A Taste Adventure

Zoe Bather, Joe Sharpe
Illustrator:  Chris Dickason 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 8 to 12
Laurence King Publishing, 2016   ISBN: 978-1780678306

Chef, the “flavor genius,” is off to travel the world with his ten friends, and the plan is that the “intrepid food explorers” will find wonderful recipes and food facts that they are going to share with us. They are even going to invent some recipes.

Our journey begins with a map, as all good journeys should. We are given a map of the Americas and though we are shown where some important cities, states, and countries are, the focus is on the foods that we can find in places in North, Central and South America. Images of food items have been placed all over the map, and accompanying each image there is a section of text. Next to New York City we see a picture of a sandwich and a section of text tells us that “Eastern European and Jewish immigrants set up delis in New York where they sold the now famous “pastrami on rye” sandwich.” Thus we learn that the cuisines of the countries in the Americas were greatly influenced by the peoples who immigrated there. In addition to Pastrami on rye we learn about quinoa, asados, ceviche, empanadas, Jerk, Tex Mex, and more.

Next we learn about the food and the food history of the United States, and this is followed by a recipe for Melvin’s American Haddock Chowder. On the recipe page annotated photos show us the steps that we have to take to make the chowder, and we can see what the finished soup looks like. There is also a list of ingredients.

The following page looks at the food of Mexico. Not surprisingly, the focus here is on chilies, those often fiery peppers that play such an important role in the food of this region. A picture in the center of the spread shows us the heat levels found in various chili varieties. The bell pepper has no heat at all, whereas the Carolina Reaper has 1,569,000 units of heat. The recipe that accompanies the Mexican section is for Larry’s Mexican spicy street wraps. This meat dish is interesting because dark chocolate is added to the tomato based sauce.

The next map we encounter is one that shows us the whole of Europe and the Mediterranean. Once again famous dishes and ingredients from the different countries appear on the map and so we learn about couscous (Morocco), cloudberries (Russia) oysters (off the coast of France), fondue (Switzerland) and more. The countries whose food histories and recipes we will be looking at in this section are the British Isles, Morocco, Italy, France, and Sweden.

It is not surprising that France is one of the focus countries, as the French “take their food very seriously.” On two pages we learn about the French restaurant world, and then we take a trip down a French street to see all the food-centric shops that can be found there. The recipe that we get to try is for a Pear Tarte Tatin, which is a puff pastry tart that is baked in a skillet in the oven.

The British Isles comes next and here we have a foodie map of the islands, along with a “Calendar of curiosities.” It turns out that there are interesting food-related events that take place throughout the year in the British Isles. The recipe for this part of the world is a Cheesy Chivy Pie, which is very fitting as the British are huge pie fans.

Sweden’s recipe is for an open sandwich, and when we get to Italy we learn how to make pizzas from scratch. A rich chicken stew is Morocco’s recipe.

The authors then go on to take us to Asia and Australia where we learn about the food of Iran, China, Thailand, and Australia.

What makes this book unique is that we learn about food culture, food history, ingredients, and much more, as well as being able to try recipes from around the world. Children and their grownups are going to thoroughly enjoy exploring this fascinating title.