I love reading with my 10-year-old son, and I love cooking with him, so I thought “Garden Super Hero Tales” would be the perfect book to review together.
“If I have to,” he said. “What should we make? I like meat.”
“It’s all vegetables,” I replied, and explained there was a whole series of books planned, and that a future one would be about meat.
“No meat?” he whined. “Ok, let’s do a dessert.”
“Ummmm, no desserts either,” I said. “Maybe that’s the last book.”
“Well, what would I like?” he asked.
We scanned through the pages together, enjoying the lively illustrations and dipping into the stories that begin each section. We have the ebook, but I imagine those with a paper copy could let their little ones do some coloring while they cook.
We decided to make Blue Potato Mash, and read King Potato Doesn’t Like to Quarrel before getting started. The story is a bit bland for my sophisticated 10-year-old, but might resonate more with a slightly younger crowd.
We assembled the ingredients and followed the clear, straightforward instructions. While waiting for the potatoes to boil, my son read the other stories in the book, sharing facts he found interesting and parts of stories he found amusing: neither of us knew zucchini are considered fruit, and I was just as amused as he was about carrots fighting their enemies in the dark because of their superlative night vision.
Author Mihaela Lica Butler has obviously taken great pains to appeal to readers, cooks, and eaters of all ages with her imaginative tales and interesting recipes. North Americans may be challenged by some of the ingredients; a glossary or list of suggested equivalents for some would help with that (which leads me to a confession: I couldn’t find parsley root and had no idea what could be used as a substitution, so we left it out of our dish). On the other hand, using Google for this purpose allows both parents and children to learn together.
Our Blue Potato Mash turned out quite well. They turned out just like the picture, except we served them beside skewers of chicken satay. Turns out coconut milk is a subtly delicious addition for any colour mashed potatoes; I’ll use it again. And I’ll try more recipes from Garden Super Hero Tales and Butler’s upcoming cookbooks, whether or not my son wants to help.