Posts tagged ‘rice pudding’

August 19, 2011

Learn words, make food with a cabra, a burro, and the campesina in THE CAZUELA THAT THE FARM MAIDEN STIRRED

When my son wants to watch a movie or TV show, he usually requests “English Shrek.” Sometimes he will ask for “English Sesame Street.”

This isn’t because I have British-accented versions of these movies around. Rather, my son is, for better or worse (likely for worse), stuck with a former middle school teacher as a mom. And while I don’t make him sit at a desk and raise his hand (I didn’t even really make my middle school kids do that), we do tend to to do some dorky things.

One of the things we like to do is read Spanish. With all the data out there on how language learning starts young, it frustrates me that schools here don’t start it until they are older. So we do what we can with my limited knowledge and gringa accent. There are bribes, of course, as any good teacher or mom would implement. The usual Spanish bribe is that we read Spanish books for awhile, practice our vocabulary, and then he gets to watch a video in Spanish. Sometimes we use a language learning video and sometimes (when he wins) ūüôā we watch one of his movies in Spanish. (Which is why he is particular about requesting “English Shrek” on his own time.)

We dropped this habit for awhile but have picked it up again recently, and it was just in time for my mother-in-law to give us this phenomenal book.  I have only one question: Are all great bilingual books about rice pudding?

Title: The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred
Author: Samantha Vamos
Illustrator: Rafael Lopez
Genre: Picture Book, Bilingual
Age: 2 Р9

Summary and Review:

¬†This is a beautiful book with gorgeous prose that goes along with the colorful pictures. It’s the story of a whole community–animals and the farmers along with them–who get the ingredients together for a rice pudding. With each page, another Spanish word is added, which makes it really easy for even a young child to read along and learn the vocabulary.

Because there’s no way to describe this better than the author wrote it, here’s a sneak peak:

“This is the butter /
that went into the CAZUELA that the farm maiden stirred.

This is the goat /
that churned the cream /
to make the MANTEQUILLA
that went¬†into the CAZUELA that the farm maiden stirred.”

etc. You get the picture. (Mantequilla is butter.) On the next page, goat is cabra and cream is crema.  Each page introduces two new words.

And at the end? A recipe for rice pudding. A literal recipe, for those of you for whom the poetic recipe in Arroz con Leche¬†didn’t really work.

Follow-up with the kids

Just reading this will give your child an introduction to a new language and a new way of saying things. You can ask them to read the Spanish words for another level of participation. There is a glossary at the end of the book to remind yourself of the words and practice them. And, of course, you could make the rice pudding! And while you are making them, you can practice your new vocabulary. “Let’s pour the az√ļcar!” you can say while you get out the sugar. And then you can eat. That’s the best follow-up activity there is!

We plan to make it this weekend to celebrate my husband’s birthday, but don’t tell him!

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January 5, 2011


My son likes to cook with me.¬† At least, if I have to cook, which is not necessarily what he’d prefer to something such as playing baseball, he wants to be right by my side.¬† He stands in his little “present”, which is what we still call his Learning Tower, an absolutely ingenious invention by someone whose kid must have liked cooking as much as mine and must have fallen off of kitchen chairs as much as mine.¬† If you are interested, you can look at them here.¬† They are expensive, but sturdy, and without a doubt the best thing we’ve ever bought for my son.¬† The easel has taken quite a beating, as he kicks it often or leans on it or climbs on it, but it’s still ticking.¬† And the tower itself looks like the day we bought it–and trust me, it’s been through a LOT.

But I digress.¬† Back to cooking with mom.¬† He loves it.¬† When I let him, which is too often judging my the amount of time I’ve spent cleaning up the consequent messes (but really, that’s what it’s about, right?) he participates with me–stirs the bowls (not too messy), pours the flour (really messy), or breaks the eggs (not as messy as you’d think).

And my husband LOVES rice pudding.  So those are the reasons I bought this book.  Oh, and I saw it mentioned on the Kirkus Reviews Best of 2010 book list.

Title: Arroz con leche or Rice Pudding
Author: Jose Argueta
Fernando Vilela
: Picture Book, Poem
Age: 0 – Infinity

Summary and Review:

This book is so much fun to read.¬† You can almost smell the rice pudding as it dances and jumps off the pages.¬† It really is a poem, but within the poem is a recipe itself.¬† It’s beautiful and fun and the pictures are wonderful and unique.

I read some online reviews before I bought the book, and my favorite was a woman who said that it would be nice if there was a recipe in the back of the book.¬† Ha!¬† I almost fell off my chair laughing when I thought about that after having read the book.¬† It IS a recipe!¬† It even has measurements within the poem!¬† Are we modern Americans really so far removed from our own food that we can’t recognize a recipe for yumminess when we read it from start to finish?¬† And THAT, I believe, is another reason to buy that book.¬† So your child doesn’t say the same thing.

Oh, and it’s bilingual.¬† So you can read it in English, Spanish, or both.¬† Way cool.

Follow-up with kids:

Make some rice pudding!  You can experiment with different flavors, too.  The one in the book is flavored with cinnamon, but you could add some nutmeg, too.  Or do coconut.  Or whatever the kids can think of!

You can also do some foreign language practice, as the book is bilingual.¬† Merely reading it will introduce your kids to the sounds of Spanish, but you can do exercises where you pick a word in English and try to find its Spanish counterpart.¬† Or look through the Spanish text for words that you can recognize–or that look similar to the English words.