Flavors of fall: Food and book pairings for kids

Posted on September 18, 2019 at 6:00 am

By Rachel Edmondson

Fall is my favorite season. I enjoy sunny weather that is cool enough to welcome jeans and sweaters. I enjoy the beauty of the changing leaves. I relish the cooler nights that encourage snuggles and books on the couch, and I love all the fun flavors that make their way into my food. To me, fall means pumpkins, apples, and warm drinks!

If you search online, you can find all sorts of fun booklists that pair books with either a food or beverage. Most of these lists are geared toward adults, but for those with little ones in the house, pairing books with real experiences is a great way to help kids get excited about books and reading. So to celebrate my favorite season, here are some book and food pairings that will appeal to the littlest of pallets.

Pumpkin Countdown, by Joan Holub

It wouldn’t be fall without pumpkins. Going to the pumpkin patch in search of the perfect pumpkin is a classic childhood experience, and kids will have fun with math in this story about a class trip to the pumpkin patch. For another fun pumpkin picking adventure, check out the new book in the Froggy series, Froggy Picks a Pumpkin, by Jonathan London. There are lots of yummy pumpkin foods you could pair with these books. My kids don’t particularly enjoy pumpkin pie, but they devour pumpkin bread and love my favorite pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting.

From Apple Trees to Cider, Please!, by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky

This one is an obvious pairing, but there are more ways to enjoy apple cider than just drinking a cold glass of liquid goodness. Try heating your cider up and adding cinnamon. If you have cinnamon sticks, it can be especially fun to show kids where cinnamon comes from. You can also find fun recipes for apple cider cakes and donuts.

The Hole Story of the Doughnut, by Pat Miller

Speaking of donuts, the pumpkin donuts at Greenbluff are a fall tradition for my family. Before you take a trip to the farm, read this book that tells the story of how the traditional shape of a doughnut was first created.

Applesauce Season, by Eden Ross Lipson

There are so many fun ways to eat apples, and applesauce is a kid favorite. I have fond memories of making applesauce with my mom as a kid. I especially loved turning the food mill. Now that I have kids of my own, we have continued the family tradition. This story is a fun way to introduce the process of making applesauce before cooking up a tasty batch of your own. Another fun apple pairing is to read The Apple Pie Tree, by Zoe Hall, and then bake an apple pie. Yum!

The Sweet Story of Hot Chocolate!, by Stephen Krensky

This easy reader title should educate and entertain kids in grades K–3 and leave them clamoring for a sweet mug of their own. You can even try some twists (Mexican hot chocolate, anyone?). Or do a taste test with different brands of cocoa or different homemade recipes.

The Doorbell Rang, by Pat Hutchins

So “cookie” isn’t exactly a flavor, but once cooler fall weather hits, I’m inspired to start baking, and cookies are always a kid favorite. You can find recipes for cookies that have apples or pumpkin in them, but I think any favorite cookie recipe can taste like fall. This book also includes some fun math, so once your cookies are baked you can retell the story using your sweet treat.

Every Color Soup, by Jorey Hurley

This book has simple text and big, colorful illustrations. Like cookies, “soup” isn’t a flavor, but when cooler weather hits, I start craving a warm bowl of soup for dinner. In Spokane, fall is the perfect time for soup because that’s when gardens are producing a plentiful harvest. Reap from your garden, visit a farm, or shop your local farmer’s market for whatever vegetables excite you and make a big pot of flavorful, fall soup.

Kid Chef Every Day, by Colleen Kennedy and Kid Chef Bakes, by Lisa Huff

Need inspiration for kid-friendly, fall-flavored recipes? Check out these two cookbooks. They have a wealth of basic cooking and baking instruction as well as some tempting looking recipes that include fall flavors, such as Pumpkin Donut Muffins, Upside-Down Apple Cupcakes, Apple Tarte Tatin, and Caramel Apple Streusel Pie.

Rachel Edmondson

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