Driving back from a playdate, Charlotte's friend Elise told her about a fantastic book involving cannibalism. My ears perked up as I tried to figure out what book for 7 and 8 year olds could possibly tackle the distasteful subject of cannibalism. She kept talking. There were giants, and a little girl named Sophie. And it dawned on me--I'd read that book as a child, The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) by Roald Dahl. We got the audio version, stuck it in the car, and for the next two weeks, every drive was a pleasure. In fact, Charlotte would ask me every morning hopefully, "Do we have anywhere we need to drive to today?" Aria got into it too, though she kept falling asleep in the car. We finished up reading the actual book at bedtime. They are soooo excited about the upcoming BFG movie.
I found out about the Roald Dahl cookbook, Roald Dahl's Revolting Recipes almost by accident, googling snozzcumbers but never expecting an entire cookbook. As some of you may know, we occasionally make food from books. This cookbook was a gold mine that came to our attention at the perfect time. Charlotte received a boxed set of Roald Dahl books from her aunt and uncle for Christmas, and we have been happily working our way through it. Writing a cookbook was the last project the author had been working on before his death in 1990. His wife and several other collaborators continued with the book, publishing it in 1997. I'd missed it as a child (my peak Roald Dahl reading years were 1987-1989).
We dove right in, making the BFG's least favorite meal (but his only non-human option), the snozzcumber. Along with it we made the very tasty giant beverage, frobscottle. Though they look appropriately disgusting, they are indeed delicious. I had hor d'oeuvres similar to snozzcumbers, right down to the black poppy seeds, at a wedding reception. We modified the recipe slightly, using feta cheese in place of popcorn for the white patches. Frobscottle was the favorite, a carbonated drink made with kiwis and raspberry drinking yogurt (kefir).
A few days later we made Bruce Bogtrotter's Chocolate Cake from Matilda. We'd read the book the previous summer, one of our first chapter books that Aria was actively engaged in. Both girls were actively involved in baking too. I must say--it was an amazing chocolate cake. Rich without being overwhelming, moist and flavorful, I can see why the Trunchbull ordered one every day. Folding in whipped egg whites may be one of the keys to its success.
We recently finished James and The Giant Peach, a favorite among favorites. Ariadne kept asking to read it at bed time for a week after we'd finished. She just wanted more and more. It was a hit in my 3rd grade classroom too. I vividly remember the entire class choosing to stay in from recess (and, I now realize, my teacher Joanne Toft choosing to skip her lunch) in order to finish the book one hot day in spring.
We are about to set out on our next adventure--Charlie and the Chocolate factory, perhaps? After all, it would give me an excuse to make lickable wallpaper.