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A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four…
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A Fine Dessert: Four Centuries, Four Families, One Delicious Treat (2015)

by Emily Jenkins

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Setting takes center stage in this unusual and delightful picture book that takes readers into the family kitchen and follows the steps to create a delectable dessert–blackberry fool. Beginning in 1710 in the English town of Lyme, a girl and her mother pick the berries and milk the cow before they whip up the recipe. In 1810 in Charleston, South Carolina, a girl and her mother pick the berries from a plantation garden, await the mill delivery via horse-drawn wagon. As they are slaves, they serve the treat to the master and his family. In 1910 in Boston, Massachusetts, a girl and her mother buy the berries at an open-air market and now buy pasteurized cream. Children will delight in looking at changing details, the most significant of which is the changing nature of the family and family members’ roles. By 2010 in San Diego, California, a boy and his dad prepare the recipe for their thoroughly multicultural family. A note from the author addresses the issues of race, class, and gender that thread their way through this inventive story. A note from the illustrator traces the arduous research process of getting everything right regarding furniture in the homes, fashion, and the details of food preparation to round out this tour de force, not to be missed. ( )
  pataustin | Feb 10, 2016 |
That'll teach me to think a picture book about dessert can't possibly be interesting! This was lovely, and I was thrilled that the author shared her fantastically detailed research process at the back. I have never had blackberry fool, but I must try it immediately.
  mirikayla | Feb 8, 2016 |
Along the story the same delicious dessert, Blackberry Fool, is prepared by four different families in four different historical moments. Starting in England more than three hundred years ago and ending in California in present times, the reader can see how things changed and developed. Not only the way the characters get the ingredients, the tools they used in the preparation and the types of refrigeration available at each moment are clearly shown, but also the familiar and social differences, as well as buildings, environment, clothes, furniture, etc. The only thing that remains unchanged is the delicious flavor of this old dessert. I bet you will want to lick the bowl too!

Historical fictions stories are not very common for this age range, so I'm really glad I found this book. The story is interesting, the text is easy to understand and engaging, the illustrations are fine and beautiful. A precious story to read and reread.

Age range: 4 to 8 years old.

Check out more children's book reviews in my Reviews in Chalk Blog! ( )
  Sanlema | Feb 3, 2016 |
Beautifully written and illustrated. The illustrator spent a great deal of time researching every aspect to get the illustrations historically accurate. Four period of time making the same simple dessert... How it stayed the same and how time and technology has made the process different. So many elements to enjoy and learn from with this book. Would make a good classroom read and recipe to make and taste with children. In fact I've bought some blackberries and whipping cream... Can't wait to enjoy it!i ( )
  maddiemoof | Oct 18, 2015 |
There were several reasons that I liked this book. One of them was for the point of view. The book takes the reader on a trip through several different time periods, detailing how people from each period would have made a delicious dessert called "blackberry fool". Because of this, the reader experiences making this dessert from the perspective of many different people all throughout history. It does a great job of showcasing different innovations made throughout these periods in regards to baking. I also really enjoyed the illustrations. It gives the reader a really good idea of how people lived, dressed, and interacted throughout history. The big idea of this book was family and friends. As the book progressed through the time periods, everyone that made the dessert ended up sharing it with people they were close to. ( )
  rking17 | Oct 7, 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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