Before the crazy holiday season began, I was given the opportunity to review Everybody Eats Lunch by Cricket Azima with pictures by Titus V. Thomas. I wanted to test out some of the recipes before reviewing so I could give you a better idea of what the book has to offer. 🙂
This wonderful children’s cookbook, which is charmingly shaped like a lunchbox, cleverly touches upon concepts of cooking, geography, time, language, AND has great, easy recipes.
Five kids from around the world (Mexico, Japan, Brazil, South Africa, and Jamaica) share with the reader what a typical lunch from their country is like– what it is called in their language, what time they eat lunch, and what kinds of dishes might be in their lunch.
The book is constructed out of sturdy cardboard and at the beginning, there is a map of the world and lift-the-flaps which also show each character in their respective countries. It’s a nice way to connect the place with each child that we meet later in the book.
The contents of the lunch are laid out on one side of each spread, and each part can be removed to reveal a recipe behind it. So cute!
Jamie and I loved exploring Everybody Eats Lunch and learning about the different lunches in each of the cultures.
I decided to try making three recipes in no particular order. First up was the “Beef Patty” (it really looks like a sort of filled bread pocket, like an empanada, rather than a beef patty) from Jamaica.
The recipe is simple — you just saute beef with onions and spices, then fill crescent roll dough pieces with the filling and bake. The only thing I changed was to reduce the amount of oil because I used a non-stick pan to saute it in. I also drained some of the fat after browning because I used 80/20% beef — not the leanest choice for ground beef!
The verdict: They were heavenly!
The second dish I made was the Brazilian style rice and beans. I had some extra chicken stock in the fridge that I had to use up, so I used that in place of the water. I have to say that this dish will become a regular in our house. It was so delicious and comforting! We had it the next evening with quesadillas.
Since the first two dishes that I tried out were savory, I decided to make a sweet one for the third slot. Jamie wanted me to make the Caramel Sandwiches from Mexico (graham crackers filled with dulce de leche). I’m sure they are amazing! But with all the holiday indulgences we’ve been partaking in, I decided to go with something less decadent, and I made the South African rusks. I’d never heard of these, but apparently they are quite popular.
They are kind of cross between a biscuit, crunchy scone, and fat biscotti. They would also be great at breakfast and perfect for dipping into hot chocolate or coffee. They are not too sweet — but delicious with a hint of cinnamon and almond extract. This one was another winner!
I’m excited to make more of the recipes in the book with Jamie since they all seem interesting, easy to make, and most importantly, flavorful!
Check out Everybody Eats Lunch for yourself at Glitterati Incorporated. You won’t be disappointed. 🙂
Here are the recipes reproduced with permission of the publisher:
Jamaican Beef Patty
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1/2 white onion, diced
1/2 pound ground beef
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/3 cup bread crumbs
2/3 cup beef stock
1 8-ounce package crescent rolls
1 egg, beaten
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees
2. In large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat and cook onion for 5 minutes.
3. Mix in ground beef, thyme, curry powder, salt and pepper, stirring to break up beef. Cook until beef is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
4. Add breadcrumbs and stock, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until most of liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes.
5. Place crescent roll triangles on ungreased baking sheet. Place generous tablespoon of beef mixture in center of each and fold over. Seal edges with fork.
6. In small bowl, combine egg and turmeric. Brush tops of each patty with egg mixture.
7. Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.
Note: I did have extra filling leftover. This wasn’t a problem, however — it was good plain!
Brazilian Rice and Beans
1/4 pound bacon, diced
1 onion, diced
1 15.5-ounce can pinto or red beans, drained and rinsed
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 bay leaves
2 cups rice
4 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
1. In large saucepan, cook bacon and onion over medium-high heat until browned, about 8 minutes.
2. Stir in beans, garlic, bay leaves, rice and water nad bring to boil. reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is cooked.
3. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.
Note: I halved this recipe and still had leftovers. Also, I used brown rice, so I had to add in more liquid and cook it longer.
South African Rusks
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg, beaten,
1/4 cup melted butter (note: this is about 3/4 stick of butter)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. In large bowl, combine both flours, sugar, wheat germ, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
3. In separate bowl, mix buttermilk, egg, butter, vanilla and almond extract. Pour over dry ingredients and stir until combined. Shape into log about 4 inches by 8 inches, and place on baking sheet. Bake for 25 minutes. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, and cut into 1/2-inch slices.
5. Reduce oven to 350 degrees. Arrange slices cut-side down on baking sheet. Bake 15 minutes per side, or until lightly golden.
Makes 12 rusks.