Enchanted evening: just in time for Halloween, we're sharing 9 magical meals from children's books
There’s a special charm to reading about food: for one thing, it helps kids cultivate an open mind about new tastes. Cast a spell over your children's appetites with these books and recipes!
Especially in stories that involve magic and enchantment, imagining what magical food might taste like is an inspiring way to get kids exploring in the kitchen. That’s why, just in time for Halloween, we’ve put together recipes for recreating our favourite spell-binding treats from children’s books. Whether you use these as a springboard for pre-trick-or-treating fun (tip: we’ve also got great pre-Halloween meal ideas to fuel up your kids) or just for some October motivation, have a good time making your own magic with these reads.
- Strega Nona (Tomie de Paola): In this classic picture book by Tomie de Paola, the friendly witch Strega Nona has just one rule for Big Anthony: don’t touch the magic pasta pot! So you can guess what happens next. Enjoy the conclusion of this silly story while you boil up a big pot of this simple pasta together (then add a little extra oomph with Tuesday Night Pasta!)
- Get Well, Good Knight (Shelley Moore Thomas): The three little dragons are sick in bed, and their friend the Good Knight is ready to cure them! While you enjoy their quest for a magical soup solution, try these tasty home remedies for the common cold—including 6 different kinds of chicken soup.
- Have Fun, Anna Hibiscus! (Atinuke): Nigerian food has a starring role in this early-reader series. 5-year-old Anna Hibiscus lives in a big city in Nigeria—but this winter she’s flying to Canada to meet her Granny and experience snow for the very first time. Just as she’s beginning to get nervous (and hungry) on her journey, her Auntie Jumoke waves away the “plastic food” the airline offers—and to Anna’s delight, ice cream boxes appear filled with fried chicken, jollof rice and moi-moi. Just like magic, she gets a taste of home to fuel her for adventure. Enjoy trying these dishes while you read about Anna’s Canadian holiday together.
- Pippi Longstocking (Astrid Lindgren): Pippi Longstocking doesn’t do things by halves, so when she makes Pepperkakor cookies, she takes up the entire kitchen floor rolling them out! Nibble on these delightfully spicy Swedish cookies while you read about the strongest little girl in the world—and for more Swedish treats, don’t forget to try our fika (Swedish tea time) recipes as well!
- The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (CS Lewis): Turkish Delight is the food that kicks off adventure in this classic story—and comfortable tea and toast are the start of lasting friendships in the series. Make like Lucy and Mr. Tumnus, and have a spot of tea while you settle in to explore Narnia.
- Mary Poppins (PL Travers): When magical nanny Mary Poppins has a Day Out, she makes it a treat. Recreate her magical raspberry jam tea—and to accompany it, we love this raspberry Linzer cookie recipe, which is practically perfect in every way. Bonus: if you’re hoping to get your kid to try seafood, this is the story for you—the whelks featured in this meal sound wonderfully appetizing. Try some of these shrimp recipes to get your kiddo warmed up.
Tweens and teens:
- Bliss (Kathryn Littlewood): This series about a bakery with a big secret—a magical family recipe book—will hook in anybody who loves to bake. As the four siblings in the book try to outwit suspicious Aunt Lily, bake up your own version of the Cookies of Truth. (And if you don’t have an reliable family spell book, bewitch the kids with these cinnamon cookies or unicorn sugar cookies instead)
- Harry Potter (JK Rowling): The imaginative food at Hogwarts’ School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in this series is just plausible enough to make your mouth water for pumpkin juice and Butterbeer (...or pucker at the thought of a less-than-delicious Every Flavour Bean). Here are some creative Harry-Potter-themed recipe and dinner ideas to get you sorted.
- Howl’s Moving Castle (Diana Wynne-Jones): When ordinary teen Sophie gets cursed, she tries to break the spell with the help of Wizard Howl and the motley crew of creatures in his moving castle. If you feel like your kitchen won’t behave, imagine trying to cook bacon and eggs on an enchanted fire (that threatens to burn your snack if you aren’t polite!) Recreate the delicious breakfasts featured in the book with these breakfast ideas (including mini-frittatas with bacon, a handy way to get your bacon and eggs!)
We’ve got more delicious after-dinner reads for you here, as well as family movie night suggestions to cosy up to! For more Halloween night ideas, try these treats or these pumpkin cooking projects—and if you have a favourite book featuring food to share, please join our community on Facebook or Instagram!