Last weekend my mom and I co-hosted a book-themed baby shower for my sister Beth. The party was a big hit, and I had a blast putting together the menu: dishes based on foods from popular children’s books. We carried the book theme through other aspects of the party, too, by writing a nursery rhyme-themed game for everyone to play, and by asking folks to bring Beth a copy of their favorite children’s book instead of a greeting card. We were amazed that with about 15 guests at the party, there were no duplicate books. Everyone has a different favorite baby book!
Here’s the menu I prepared for the party, along with the books that inspired each dish. Many thanks to my twitter friends for helping me to brainstorm the book-menu pairings in the weeks leading up to the party!
- Plain Water and Fancy Pink Lemonade, inspired by Olivia’s Opposites by Ian Falconer. “Plain” and “fancy” are one pair of opposites featured in the book, so we set out a pitcher of raspberry lemonade and another of plain tap water.
- Spinach Deviled Eggs with Bacon, inspired by Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. I mixed some spinach and bacon in with the traditional deviled egg seasonings for this dish, and topped the finished eggs with bacon.
- Bacon Wrapped Dates, inspired by Merry Christmas, Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish. Amelia Bedelia tries to make a date cake in this story, using “literal dates” by cutting a calendar into the cake batter. We used fruit dates– not calendar dates– for this easy appetizer.
- Apple Rosemary Pizza with Brie, inspired by Ten Apples Up on Top! by Dr. Seuss.
- Peter Rabbit’s Garden Vegetables with Spicy Radish Dip, inspired by The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. I used French Breakfast radishes to make the dip, so it turned out pale pink.
- Assorted Cheeses & Crackers, inspired by Anatole by Eve Titus. This book is less well known than others on this list, but it’s a wonderful story about high quality cheeses with French phrases sprinkled throughout.
- Yucky Hot Sauce & Tortilla Chips inspired by Yummy Yucky by Leslie Patricelli. This hilarious book teaches toddlers what not to put in their mouths, and it describes hot sauce as “yucky.” We served Kelli Jo’s delicious salsa straight from the farmer’s market, along with Gardener’s Feast Tortilla chips.
- Jam Tarts, inspired by Jamberry by Bruce Degen. Filled with raspberry jam, of course.
- Butter Bars with Coffee Frosting, inspired by The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore. These crunchy shortbread cookies with coffee frosting, from my mom’s recipe, are Beth’s favorite holiday treats. We make them every year together.
- Mini Cherry Pies, inspired by The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. My aunt makes sweet cherry jam from the cherry trees in her backyard in Iowa; I filled these mini pies with a jar of her famous jam.
- Fancy Nancy’s Delectable Cupcakes, inspired by Fancy Nancy and the Delectable Cupcakes by Jane O’Connor. I outsourced these and purchased a few dozen cupcakes from Hill Country Cupcakes. They were great!
I’m planning to blog separately the individual recipes, several of which are gluten & dairy free and which feature locally sourced ingredients.