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A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four…

A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat

by Emily Jenkins

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I enjoyed this book that takes a look at the history of the dessert Blackberry Fool. The endpages look like blackberry juice and the author explains that she actually used real blackberry juice to paint them. Having picked many a blackberry, I initially thought that the blackberry bushes looked a little too tame. However, the author explains that she used a more landscaped, cultivated bush as her model. And now I need to go buy some blackberries and cream! ( )
  robenc | Jun 27, 2015 |
Some things never change, such as the love of a fine dessert. In this meticulously researched book, four families in four different centuries are shown preparing and enjoying Blackberry Fool, a simple but delicious dessert made from blackberries, cream, and sugar.

With each reiteration of the dessert making and eating process, children can see which elements have varied, and which have stayed the same (the most prominent one being licking the bowl at the end!). But much is different, from how the ingredients were procured and kept cold, to how the cream was made, to whether recipe books were used, to how families would gather around the table.

The families preparing the dessert include a mother and daughter in Lyme, England in 1710, a slave mother and daughter near Charleston, South Carolina in 1810, a girl and her mother in Boston in 1910, and a dad and his son in San Diego in 2010. There are many changes in culture and technology, family dynamics, and social mores in each era, not only apparent in the text, but cleverly added to the illustrations by the incomparable Sophie Blackall. Kids will enjoy trying to identify them all. Perhaps they will even be able to follow the developments in gender roles and racial relations throughout the story.

Sophie Blackall not only employed ink and watercolor in her paintings, but even used blackberry juice; the endpapers - a beautiful black-mottled purple, are totally from “squished blackberries.”

Evaluation: This charming book is full of subtle history lessons for kids, and might even inspire all readers to go out and get the ingredients and document their own process (perhaps using the video function on their smart phones) of making and eating this fine dessert! ( )
  nbmars | May 23, 2015 |
Four families in four different cities over four centuries make the same delicious dessert: blackberry fool. A fascinating, clever look at how food, technology, and families have changed throughout American history. Great research notes by the author and illustrator. ( )
  Sullywriter | May 22, 2015 |
This book was realistic fiction. It was about making a recipe, and depicted it in four different centuries. The first century was in England 300 years ago. The second experience was in America, and was made by a woman and her daughter that were slaves in South Carolina 200 years ago. The third was in Boston 100 years ago. The fourth was just a couple years ago in California with a dad and his son. This book promotes multicultural ideas, and also promotes family interactions. ( )
  NatalieCJones | Apr 11, 2015 |
Families and food over time, recipe at the end, end notes from author and illustrator make this an exceptional book. ( )
  melodyreads | Feb 10, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375868321, Hardcover)

In this fascinating picture book, four families, in four different cities, over four centuries, make the same delicious dessert: blackberry fool. This richly detailed book ingeniously shows how food, technology, and even families have changed throughout American history.

In 1710, a girl and her mother in Lyme, England, prepare a blackberry fool, picking wild blackberries and beating cream from their cow with a bundle of twigs. The same dessert is prepared by a slave girl and her mother in 1810 in Charleston, South Carolina; by a mother and daughter in 1910 in Boston; and finally by a boy and his father in present-day San Diego.

Kids and parents alike will delight in discovering the differences in daily life over the course of four centuries.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:45 -0400)

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