I am a big fan of the hands-on work. I feel like any subject comes alive more through doing than through any other medium, and I have one child especially who thrills to be able to dig in with both hands and create things as part of her learning experience, so when we received an opportunity to do a review for Ann McCallum Books, I knew immediately that we were going to want to review Eat Your U.S. History Homework.
About the Book
Eat Your U.S. History Homework is a book that covers the time period in colonial and early American history from the 1600s to around 1800. As such, it contains such treats as Colonial Cherry Berry Grunt, Thanksgiving Succotash and Southern Plantation Hoe Cakes. There are six recipes contained within the book, each one is given a two page spread of recipe and beautiful, full-color illustration. In addition, each recipe has an additional four pages of history description, timelines, sidebars and boxes to help give you additional information about the history of the period chosen for the recipes.
How We Used This Book
I used this book with my eight year old daughter Rose because she was really needing some one on one time with me to do projects and other things. We read the history information and then we got to work on the recipes. If your child has basic reading skills and a passing acquaintance with the kitchen and the stovetop, they can make this recipe without much assistance at all in the kitchen. I totally worked with Rose in a back-up sense and she controlled what we did in the kitchen.
My Opinion on this Book
This book is a lot of fun for the elementary set. The characters drawn are cute and cartoony with lots of bunnies in chef outfits and cute clothing cooking up the recipes. The whole book is richly and colorfully illustrated, making it a great book for a gift and a true pleasure to look at.
The recipes were easy, and as she measured and created the recipes, my eight year old felt like an accomplished chef. She said I could be her sous chef. 😀 Everything needed for the recipes was easy to find, common ingredients that are inexpensive and that many kitchens will already have. The only two items I had to buy to complete the recipes that I wouldn’t have normally bought were frozen lima beans for the succotash and cherry pie filling for the cherry berry grunt. I love that the ingredients were easy and simple.
The history sections were well received, and we didn’t feel like they were too long an accompaniment. I also felt like they provided great entry points for learning. Had we had the inclination, we could have used these recipes and the included timeline, history information and sidebars as places to stop and explore and research the things in the description that interested us. This is a great application and may be a way that I use this book later on with my younger two children.
This is also an excellent history supplement. If you’re doing a history study on Colonial America or the American Revolution, this is a perfect addition for hands-on work. As it happened, we studied the Revolution back in April and May, so we were already primed for learning more through cooking, so it was a great reinforcement for us of earlier learning.
The only sad part is that I’d love to see another book in this series to cover more historical periods and their food. It would be fun to see Pioneer and the early 1900s covered in another volume so that we can see how food has changed over time. The six recipes in this book are just a taste of cooking through history to get you started!!