Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Stirring Up a World of Fun
International Recipes, Wacky Facts & Family Time Ideas

by Nanette Goings

Available in paperback. New Hope Publishers, 2006; ISBN: 1563099195; 125 pages.

This book offers fun ways to incorporate some new foods, interesting facts and great biblical truths. Each chapter features a different region of the world (Africa, Asia, South America, Western Europe, etc.). Within the chapters, sections are divided by country. Obviously, not every nation in the world is represented, but the author does a good job including many of them (over 50 countries) from every corner of the planet. Each page consistently offers four sections:
  • The Recipe -- Most have few ingredients and simple instructions. Icons highlight which recipes kids can help prepare and which they can do by themselves.
  • Did You Know? -- This section offers interesting facts about one of the recipe's ingredients, the nation of origin or a Bible story that relates to this food or people group.
  • What Can You Do? -- Here readers find a project or activity that ties in with the recipe or facts just learned. Sometimes it's a game or conversation starter; sometimes it's a craft or science project.
  • What Does the Bible Say? -- This is a Bible verse (with reference) related to the food or lesson. These make great memory verses or the start of simple meal-time devotions.

I like this book, but I wish it were more internationally focused. Let me explain.

Of the 100 recipes included, seventeen of them are from Canada or the United States. I don't need to buy an international cookbook to make apple pie, brownies or blueberry pancakes. I don't understand why almost 20% of the book is devoted to foods we already eat and know how to make.

The "wacky facts" are not always related to the country listed. For example, Vinete, an eggplant dip from Romania, doesn't mention anything about Romania or the people there. Instead it talks about Thomas Jefferson and how he brought eggplant to the United States.

Final Thoughts: My intention was to use this book to teach my children more about missionaries and the countries where they serve. It really isn't aimed that way, but it's still a fun book to have around.

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