The Fabulous Fannie Farmer : Kitchen Scientist and America’s Cook

$18.99 USD

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Fannie Farmer, America’s most famous cooking teacher, discovers that precise measurements are a recipe for cooking success in this STEAM picture book that includes two of her classic recipes.

When Fannie Farmer learned to cook in the late 1800s, recipes could be pretty silly. They might call for “a goodly amount of salt” or “a lump of butter” or “a suspicion of nutmeg.” Girls were supposed to use their “feminine instincts” in the kitchen (or maybe just guess). Despite this problem, Fannie loved cooking, so when polio prevented her from going to college, she became a teacher at the Boston Cooking School. Unlike her mother or earlier cookbook writers, Fannie didn’t believe in feminine instincts. To her, cooking was a science. She’d noticed that precise measurements and specific instructions ensured that cakes rose instead of flopped and doughnuts fried instead of burned. Students liked Fannie’s approach so much that she wrote a cookbook. Despite skepticism from publishers, Fannie’s book was a recipe for success.

Written with humor and brought to life with charming illustrations, this book explores the origins of Fannie Farmer’s quintessentially American cookbook. A cookbook that was beloved because it allowed anyone to make tasty things, with no guessing, no luck—and certainly no feminine  instincts—required.

Emma Bland Smith is the author of numerous children’s books, including Mr. McCloskey’s Marvelous Mallards, a Bank Street Center for Children's Literature Best Book; The Pig War, winner of the Towner Award; and Journey, winner of the Cook Prize; as well as other fiction and nonfiction books for children. Emma is also a librarian.

Susan Reagan grew up with a passion to draw and later earned her BFA in illustration from the Columbus College of Art and Design. Susan has illustrated several picture books, including Ready or Not, Here I Come!Revolutionary Prudence Wright, and The Brilliant Calculator.

“This picture book biography of 19th-century culinary expert Fannie Farmer should be a hit with kids who love to mess around in the kitchen. The accessible, cheerfully feminist text celebrates Farmer’s application of scientific principles to the process of preparing a meal, and the extensive endmatter is a great launchpad for any reader who wants to do more rigorous research of their own.”—Literary Hub

“Fannie Farmer...gets the picture-book biography treatment in this well-researched, lightly told, and evocatively illustrated recounting of her story...As we follow her to Boston Cooking School, the vintage-style illustrations help transport the reader through time. This is an excellent introduction to a woman who's probably unknown to most but whose work has impacted all, but the real star of this show is the extensive, detailed back matter: an end note with further information on topics covered in the book, suggested reads and watch lists, and a multipage time line. This is a strong addition to library and school shelves with possible curricular tie-ins.” —Booklist

“The prose is peppered with rich cooking imagery...Reagan’s engaging watercolor and digital illustrations convey a sense of Fannie’s world; quotations from her writings are interspersed..Delectable!”—Kirkus Reviews 

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