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Page history last edited by RichiesPicks 6 months, 4 weeks ago

1 November 2023 PIZZA, PICKLES, AND APPLE PIE by David Rickert, Astra/Kane, October 2023, 128p., ISBN: 978-1-6626-7013-8


“Oh, I am a pizza (I am a pizza)

Peppers on top (peppers on top)

Out of the oven (out of the oven)

Into the box (into the box)

Into the car and (into the car and)

Upside down (upside down)

I am a pizza

Dropped on the ground”

– Charlotte Diamond (1985)


“Wild (for) Apples


All apples today come from the apple trees in the Tian Shan Mountains of Kazakhstan. Millions of years ago, early apples were wild in every sense of the word. And there were thousands of varieties.


Few were like today’s apples, and most weren’t very tasty. They came in all sizes from small like marbles to big as softballs. Some were red and yellow, some were purple, and some were blue.


Travelers passing through on the ancient Silk Road likely grabbed the few that were tasty to eat. As they traveled, they dropped the seeds, and apples spread throughout Asia and Europe.


Of course, people wanted to grow the apples they liked. How hard could it be? Just plant a seed from an apple and they’d have a tree full of them.


However, apples don’t play by the rules. Even today if you plant an apple seed, the tree that grows may have different apples. And they might not taste very good. This frustrated people for a long time.


Crafty Grafting


Around 2,000 BCE, people in China figured out the secret to growing the apples they liked: grafting!


These crafty horticulturists took a branch cut from the apple tree that had apples they liked…


…and placed it in a notch in a different apple tree. As the tree grew, the grafted branch grew the apples they wanted.


Grafting spread quickly, and everyone could grow the apples they liked the best. And as people explored the world, they brought these tasty apples with them to eat on the voyage. Why not? They kept well.


Some were good for baking, and some were good for snacking. Some were great for cider. Apples could be used in lots of ways.”


PIZZA, PICKLES, AND APPLE PIE is a breezy, brief, illustrated history of many of today’s popular foods. Told in comic format, this engrossing piece of nonfiction for middle graders is generally organized into “Breakfast,” “Lunch and Dinner,” and “Dessert.”.


While it is certainly not comprehensive in its exploration of foods, that is not the intent. It’s the sort of fun, catch-your-eye, nonfiction book that a kid can pick up, thumb through, and read a section. Or read the book. Corn flakes, waffles, yogurt, popcorn, sandwiches (and pickles), salads, ice cream, and birthday cakes are examples of everyday foods explored.


For me, the information I gained from just those two sections relating to apples was well-worth the read. 


“Thomas Jefferson was a huge fan of democracy…and waffles”


PIZZA, PICKLES, AND APPLE PIE will readily lend itself to multicultural food discussions, related classroom cooking projects, and food-sharing activities. Young readers will enjoy the cartoonish digital illustrations featuring tons of food, multicultural characters, and a cartoonish Thomas Jefferson chowing down on his beloved waffles. 


Try it! It’s good for you!


Richie Partington, MLIS

Richie's Picks http://richiespicks.pbworks.com





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