Title: This is the way we eat our lunch: A book about children around the world
Author: Edith Baer
Illustrations: Steve Björkman
This book, I must begin by saying, is every Indian mother's dream come true. If you're the kind who is constantly fussing that your child doesn't eat anything other than french fries/thayir saadam/roti and ghee, this is the best way to introduce him or her to the existence of other food. And a lot of it is the kind of food that the Brat and Bean would never encounter at my dining table, like clam chowder and Louisiana Gumbo. It's a great lesson in geography as well and the Brat and Bean now can tell you where the pasta they so lover originated as well as the pita bread. My only teeny grouse? "Ram in Bombay says "Hurry, it's curry today." Why on earth does Indian cuisine have to be reduced and defined by a vague curry? I'd be perfectly satisfied with a clearly defined dosa or chhola, thank you.
And while dining tables across the world today groan under the global weight of couscous and tempura, and I don't believe only a Mei in China knows how to use chopsticks (this one thrilled the Brat because he was a pro with the chopsticks by the time he was 5). But it's always good for children to know that the omnipresent macaroni came from Italy and not Maggi. In a completely non-preachy way. The book ends with a world map where you can find each of the continents, a few easy recipes for the children to stir up under parental guidance and an explanation about each of the dishes.
The rhymes are fun and the illustrations by Steve Björkman are lovely and merely the icing on a delicious book. All in all, a wonderful read and great fun as the kids vie to match food with the region in a little game we came up with after reading it.