There are so many terrific cookbooks for kids and kids' books that feature foods and recipes that I've decided to try a feature here at thebookbench, Foodie Fridays. My selection for the first ever Foodie Friday was a no brainer, Wende and Harry Devlin's classic Cranberry Thanksgiving. I still have my hardcover copy from the 1970s, and I make "Grandmother's Famous Cranberry Bread" recipe from the back cover about half a dozen times each year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It's delicious.
In the story, Maggie and her grandmother who live at the edge of a cranberry bog each invite a guest to their Thanksgiving dinner. Maggie invites her friend Mr. Whiskers who Grandmother suspects is out to steal her secret recipe. She in turn invites the very elegant Mr. Horace. We later learn, with some help from Mr. Whiskers, that you shouldn't trust a man just because he smells of lavender and carries a gold cane.
It gives me tremendous joy each November when my children insist that I read this book to them. They seem to love it as much as I always have. We love the tradition of reading the book, the taste of the bread, the gentle humor, and the illustrations. What is interesting to me is that I was always captivated by the pictures of the interior of Maggie and Grandmother's house especially the big fireplace where Grandmother hides her recipe behind a brick. My children, on the other hand, usually comment on how much the illustrations of the exterior remind them of Cape Cod which is a place dear to them.
Inevitably, at Thanksgiving dinner this year, we will do our own variation on this exchange from Cranberry Thanksgiving:
"How delicious," said Maggie.
"How delightful," said Grandmother.
"How about another piece?" said Mr. Whiskers.
If you are looking for further cranberry fun, check out the Ocean Spray website, http://www.oceanspray.com/, where you'll learn, among other facts, that cranberries bounce, cranberries float in water, and there are about 4,400 cranberries in one gallon of juice.