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Fannie in the Kitchen: The Whole Story From Soup to Nuts of How Fannie Farmer Invented Recipes with Precise Measurements

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Marcia was trying to help her mama. So maybe balancing on top of a tower of chairs to dip candles wasn't such a good idea. And perhaps her biscuits worked better as doorstops than dessert. Still, does her mama really need to hire a mother's helper? Then Fannie Farmer steps into their kitchen, and all of a sudden the biscuits are dainty and the griddle cakes aren't quite s Marcia was trying to help her mama. So maybe balancing on top of a tower of chairs to dip candles wasn't such a good idea. And perhaps her biscuits worked better as doorstops than dessert. Still, does her mama really need to hire a mother's helper? Then Fannie Farmer steps into their kitchen, and all of a sudden the biscuits are dainty and the griddle cakes aren't quite so...al dente. As Fannie teaches Marcia all about cooking, from how to flip a griddle cake at precisely the right moment to how to determine the freshness of eggs, Marcia makes a wonderful new friend. Here's the story "from soup to nuts" -- delightfully embellished by Deborah Hopkinson -- of how Fannie Farmer invented the modern recipe and created one of the first and best-loved American cookbooks. Nancy Carpenter seamlessly incorporates vintage engravings into her pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations, deliciously evoking the feeling of a time gone by.


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Marcia was trying to help her mama. So maybe balancing on top of a tower of chairs to dip candles wasn't such a good idea. And perhaps her biscuits worked better as doorstops than dessert. Still, does her mama really need to hire a mother's helper? Then Fannie Farmer steps into their kitchen, and all of a sudden the biscuits are dainty and the griddle cakes aren't quite s Marcia was trying to help her mama. So maybe balancing on top of a tower of chairs to dip candles wasn't such a good idea. And perhaps her biscuits worked better as doorstops than dessert. Still, does her mama really need to hire a mother's helper? Then Fannie Farmer steps into their kitchen, and all of a sudden the biscuits are dainty and the griddle cakes aren't quite so...al dente. As Fannie teaches Marcia all about cooking, from how to flip a griddle cake at precisely the right moment to how to determine the freshness of eggs, Marcia makes a wonderful new friend. Here's the story "from soup to nuts" -- delightfully embellished by Deborah Hopkinson -- of how Fannie Farmer invented the modern recipe and created one of the first and best-loved American cookbooks. Nancy Carpenter seamlessly incorporates vintage engravings into her pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations, deliciously evoking the feeling of a time gone by.

30 review for Fannie in the Kitchen: The Whole Story From Soup to Nuts of How Fannie Farmer Invented Recipes with Precise Measurements

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    Loved this little book! The illustrations really did it for me--apparently the illustrator took vintage (turn-of-the-century) illustrations and then manipulated them on her computer to personalize the faces to fit the story and make it more "picture-book" oriented. They are so much fun and I love the style! The story itself is engaging, too, especially for anyone who loves to cook--and is good encouragement for budding young chefs, too. It made me want to learn more about Fannie Farmer and add h Loved this little book! The illustrations really did it for me--apparently the illustrator took vintage (turn-of-the-century) illustrations and then manipulated them on her computer to personalize the faces to fit the story and make it more "picture-book" oriented. They are so much fun and I love the style! The story itself is engaging, too, especially for anyone who loves to cook--and is good encouragement for budding young chefs, too. It made me want to learn more about Fannie Farmer and add her cookbook to my collection. (The "Fannie's Tips" on each page are excerpts and what fun they are!)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lisa (not getting friends updates) Vegan

    Now I’m wondering if Fannie Farmer’s cookbook is one of the cookbooks my mother used. This is a charming book. It’s funny and informative too. Getting to know Farmer via the daughter of the house where she’s arrived as a mother’s helper makes this woman and her cooking especially interesting for children. The illustrations are perfect. They look vintage. They’re funny: Marcia sitting on a very dangerous pile of things to make long candles, Marcia sulking about Fannie coming into their house with h Now I’m wondering if Fannie Farmer’s cookbook is one of the cookbooks my mother used. This is a charming book. It’s funny and informative too. Getting to know Farmer via the daughter of the house where she’s arrived as a mother’s helper makes this woman and her cooking especially interesting for children. The illustrations are perfect. They look vintage. They’re funny: Marcia sitting on a very dangerous pile of things to make long candles, Marcia sulking about Fannie coming into their house with her disapproving facial expression reflected in several pieces of glassware on the table, the cat with a pancake on its head, etc. etc. etc. The details in each picture are fun to view. The story (despite the appreciated author’s note at the back, I’m not sure how much of this is non-fiction vs. historical fiction) rings so true, from Marcia’s jealousy of Fannie and of the new baby, to Fannie’s cooking and decision to write down precise instructions for her recipes, to Fannie’s teaching, first in Marcia’s house where she’s a mother’s helper, then going on to become a cooking teacher at the Boston Cooking School, then on to writing her landmark cook book. I love how each short “chapter” in this short picture book has meal related titles. Six chapters: First Course (The Soup), Second Course: A Small Success, Third Course: The Griddle Cake Mistake, Fourth Course: The Egg Disaster, Fifth Course: An Excellent Idea, and Sixth Course: Marcia Shaw, Mater Chef. And, in an informative note at the end: Seventh Course (The Nuts): More About Fannie Farmer. There’s also a recipe in the back for Fannie Farmer’s Famous Griddle Cakes. This is a delightful book and I’m very grateful to the Children's Books group; it’s one of the June selections for its Picture Books Club. I’d most likely never have read it otherwise and I’m so glad that I did.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    My library had this in general 'Easy' picture-books. It's a little long and advanced for tots, and also could be considered biography or even cooking/nutrition. I found it fascinating, and found the unique art style charming. I will check for more by both author and illustrator, even though I chose this because of subject. My library had this in general 'Easy' picture-books. It's a little long and advanced for tots, and also could be considered biography or even cooking/nutrition. I found it fascinating, and found the unique art style charming. I will check for more by both author and illustrator, even though I chose this because of subject.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    One of five titles chosen for our June theme of "Culinary Delights," over in the Picture-Book Club to which I belong, Fannie in the Kitchen is a creative recreation of what Fannie Merritt Farmer's experiences as a "mother's helper" in the Boston home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Shaw might have been like. Narrated by young Marcia Shaw, it follows Fannie as she gradually wins over the initially resentful young daughter of the house, and - in the process of teaching her to cook - realizes that her meth One of five titles chosen for our June theme of "Culinary Delights," over in the Picture-Book Club to which I belong, Fannie in the Kitchen is a creative recreation of what Fannie Merritt Farmer's experiences as a "mother's helper" in the Boston home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Shaw might have been like. Narrated by young Marcia Shaw, it follows Fannie as she gradually wins over the initially resentful young daughter of the house, and - in the process of teaching her to cook - realizes that her method, with its use of formal recipes and precise measurements, would be helpful to others seeking to master the culinary arts. I enjoyed Deborah Hopkinson's tale, which seems to be based on the basic facts of Farmer's life - she did indeed work as a mother's helper for the Shaws, before becoming a teacher at the Boston Cooking School and publishing her famous cookbook - but has the added narrative interest of a young girl and her own culinary growth. The illustrations by Nancy Carpenter have a wonderful vintage feeling to them, something explained in the little illustrator's blurb at the rear, which mentions that nineteenth-century etchings and engravings were used by the artist, who added colorful accents of her own. All in all, a very appealing picture-book - sure to please young would-be cooks and gourmands!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Crystal Marcos

    I really enjoyed this book. I was transported into the 1800's in a matter of seconds. I found the story fun to read and quite charming. I especially enjoyed Marcia's character. I think it was great how the artist started and finished the book with a licking of a dish showing Marcia learns to cook as wonderfully as Fannie. I learned a few things. My parents just got chickens recently and I also started going to the farmer's market. It is great to have additional ways to check for good eggs. I hav I really enjoyed this book. I was transported into the 1800's in a matter of seconds. I found the story fun to read and quite charming. I especially enjoyed Marcia's character. I think it was great how the artist started and finished the book with a licking of a dish showing Marcia learns to cook as wonderfully as Fannie. I learned a few things. My parents just got chickens recently and I also started going to the farmer's market. It is great to have additional ways to check for good eggs. I have to say, I am more of a waffle girl myself. I did find the pancake recipe at the end a recipe I would try for my husband.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Dolly

    Our girls love to help me cook in the kitchen and baking is especially a useful activity, as it involves math, precise measurements and following directions. I love that they are learning how math is used in everyday life and I love even more that they are learning to be good cooks. Perhaps one day soon they can cook a whole meal for me. I thought this book was very well done and I loved the creativity of breaking the book up into seven 'courses.' I enjoyed learning about Fannie's life and the w Our girls love to help me cook in the kitchen and baking is especially a useful activity, as it involves math, precise measurements and following directions. I love that they are learning how math is used in everyday life and I love even more that they are learning to be good cooks. Perhaps one day soon they can cook a whole meal for me. I thought this book was very well done and I loved the creativity of breaking the book up into seven 'courses.' I enjoyed learning about Fannie's life and the way that she transformed cooking as a whole. I love that she encouraged Marcia to cook and taught her the importance of following a recipe. The watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations are very nicely detailed and give the impression of an older era. I originally wanted to label this book as nonfiction, but I see that it's in the JFIC section of our library and the author put it in her historical fiction section on her website, so some of the story may be fiction. In any case, we really enjoyed reading this story together and our girls are eager to try her recipe for griddle cakes (copied below.) This story was selected as one of the books for the June 2010 - Culinary Delights reads at the Picture-Book Club in the Children's Books Group here at Goodreads. Fannie Farmer's Famous Griddle Cakes Recipe Ingredients: 2 cups flour 1/4 cup sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 tablespoon baking powder 1 egg 2 cups milk (more or less as needed) 2 tablespoons melted butter Directions: 1. Mix and sift the dry ingredients. 2. Beat the egg slightly and add milk. 3. Pour slowly on dry ingredients, and stir vigorously, adding more milk, if necesary, to make the batter just thin enough to pour. 4. Add butter. 5. Drop by spoonfuls or pour from pitcher onto heated and greased griddle or frying pan using medium heat. When puffed, full of bubbles and the underside is browned, turn and brown the other side. Serve with maple syrup and additional butter. Serves 6-8

  7. 4 out of 5

    Karol

    Fannie Farmer is a name I've known my entire life, but I didn't know much about her, other than a vague association with cooking and baking. I believe I have seen Fannie Farmer cookbooks a few times . . . What I loved about this picture book was how the story of something relatively mundane (learning to measure ingredients) was made quite interesting through the viewpoint of a little girl experiencing sibling jealousy towards a brand new baby. The little girl learned that cooking was not "magical" Fannie Farmer is a name I've known my entire life, but I didn't know much about her, other than a vague association with cooking and baking. I believe I have seen Fannie Farmer cookbooks a few times . . . What I loved about this picture book was how the story of something relatively mundane (learning to measure ingredients) was made quite interesting through the viewpoint of a little girl experiencing sibling jealousy towards a brand new baby. The little girl learned that cooking was not "magical", but could be learned and could be relatively scientific with precise measurements. She gained self-esteem by learning new skills that the entire family enjoyed. And in the process, the reader learns about who Fannie Farmer was, and how she was inspired to teach others to cook. The author's afterward gives some interesting context, and the pancake recipe will most definitely be given a try.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    This was an insightful book into the development of the first cookbook (funny, I'd never really thought about them not existing). I liked the story of how the young girl grew from her dislike of the new chef, Fannie (since Fannie would take over her duties of helping the mom) to realizing that she could learn something from Fannie, and maybe Fannie wasn't so bad after all. The illustrations were fun and whimsical (though the girl herself I found a little too old looking) and the text was fun, too This was an insightful book into the development of the first cookbook (funny, I'd never really thought about them not existing). I liked the story of how the young girl grew from her dislike of the new chef, Fannie (since Fannie would take over her duties of helping the mom) to realizing that she could learn something from Fannie, and maybe Fannie wasn't so bad after all. The illustrations were fun and whimsical (though the girl herself I found a little too old looking) and the text was fun, too. I especially liked "Fannie's tips" on cooking throughout.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kathryn

    The story of Fannie Farmer and how she wrote her cookbook told with delightful illustrations. There is even a recipe on the last page for griddle cakes!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    A picture-book about Fannie Farmer, known for her creation of one of the first modern recipes. The book is from the point of view of Marcia, the older daughter of the Shaw family, who gets to know Fannie when she moves in to cook for the family when a new baby arrives. Fannie ends up writing down her recipes to help Marcia learn to cook and finds that she has the ability to spread her cooking knowledge throughout Boston. I don't know how historically accurate the actual story is - isn't that ter A picture-book about Fannie Farmer, known for her creation of one of the first modern recipes. The book is from the point of view of Marcia, the older daughter of the Shaw family, who gets to know Fannie when she moves in to cook for the family when a new baby arrives. Fannie ends up writing down her recipes to help Marcia learn to cook and finds that she has the ability to spread her cooking knowledge throughout Boston. I don't know how historically accurate the actual story is - isn't that terrible, I can't even enjoy a kids book without questioning its historical authenticity - however, at the end of the book the author gives a little bio about Fannie Farmer and I got so excited talking to my daughter about an actual historical figure. Although I don't think I've gone very far in inspiring her toward the field of history as she won't let me read the bio page anymore. The book also provides a Fannie Farmer recipe for 'griddle cakes' that we will be trying out tomorrow morning!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brenda

    I was really surprised to see that this book has a copyright of 2001. From illustrations to story line this was my favorite of the three books I read. I found that even I use some of the hints and tips framed on the walls and discussed in the story. It reminded me a lot of cooking with my grandma especially when they were making pancakes. My grandma always used to tell me to look for the bubbles.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Going to try to make the griddle cakes recipe in the back of the book for breakfast tomorrow with Ellie..krb 3/13/16 2C flour, 1/4C sugar, 1 tsp salt, 1 1/2 tbs baking powder, 1 egg, 2C milk, 2 tbs melted butter. Mix dry ingredients; beat egg, add mik, and pour slowly on first mixture. Beat thoroughly and add butter.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Relyn

    This was a terrific book. The art was wonderful and so was the story. I love the peek into a piece of history most of us don't know about. I plan to use it to introduce a mini-unit on biographies. It's that good. This was a terrific book. The art was wonderful and so was the story. I love the peek into a piece of history most of us don't know about. I plan to use it to introduce a mini-unit on biographies. It's that good.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kari

    I forgot how much I liked this picture book biography of Fannie Farmer until I reread it to Little a. This is a fun look into the life of the woman credited by most with the creation of the modern recipe. I also enjoy the bonus story of Marcia woven into the beginning of the cookbook.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Casandria

    Interesting and fun and beautifully illustrated! I put Fannie's cookbook on hold already. Interesting and fun and beautifully illustrated! I put Fannie's cookbook on hold already.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christy

    Marcia was trying to help her mama. So maybe balancing on top of a tower of chairs to dip candles wasn't such a good idea. And perhaps her biscuits worked better as doorstops than dessert. Still, does her mama really need to hire a mother's helper? Then Fannie Farmer steps into their kitchen, and all of a sudden the biscuits are dainty and the griddle cakes aren't quite so...al dente. As Fannie teaches Marcia all about cooking, from how to flip a griddle cake at precisely the right moment to how Marcia was trying to help her mama. So maybe balancing on top of a tower of chairs to dip candles wasn't such a good idea. And perhaps her biscuits worked better as doorstops than dessert. Still, does her mama really need to hire a mother's helper? Then Fannie Farmer steps into their kitchen, and all of a sudden the biscuits are dainty and the griddle cakes aren't quite so...al dente. As Fannie teaches Marcia all about cooking, from how to flip a griddle cake at precisely the right moment to how to determine the freshness of eggs, Marcia makes a wonderful new friend. Here's the story "from soup to nuts" -- delightfully embellished by Deborah Hopkinson -- of how Fannie Farmer invented the modern recipe and created one of the first and best-loved American cookbooks. Nancy Carpenter seamlessly incorporates vintage engravings into her pen, ink, and watercolor illustrations, deliciously evoking the feeling of a time gone by.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Becky B

    Meet Fannie Merritt Farmer, the author of the Boston Cooking School Cookbook, through the eyes of the daughter of one of her employers. Fannie's cookbook was the first to use exact instructions and measurements. Marcia, the little girl, is at first wary about the new cook. But Fannie grows on her, and soon Marcia is eagerly learning Fannie's cooking secrets. I really liked the art style which really helped set the time period for this picture book biography. It was a fun food history picture book Meet Fannie Merritt Farmer, the author of the Boston Cooking School Cookbook, through the eyes of the daughter of one of her employers. Fannie's cookbook was the first to use exact instructions and measurements. Marcia, the little girl, is at first wary about the new cook. But Fannie grows on her, and soon Marcia is eagerly learning Fannie's cooking secrets. I really liked the art style which really helped set the time period for this picture book biography. It was a fun food history picture book. But warning: Do not read this on an empty stomach unless you're looking for inspiration. This would be a great read before studying how to write instructions for others to follow or before a math/science lesson on kitchen measurements.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Stella

    The Fannie Farmer Cookbook was my thirteenth birthday present...My first very own cookbook. I still have it, and it is stained and splattered. Golden Cake, the one the little girl makes in this book, is still one of my favorite recipes. So while this isn't a book that my boys would likely care for, and I'm not sure why it's on a list of math books (brief reference to precise measurements?), it warmed my heart to read the story of how Fannie Farmer came to write a cookbook. The Fannie Farmer Cookbook was my thirteenth birthday present...My first very own cookbook. I still have it, and it is stained and splattered. Golden Cake, the one the little girl makes in this book, is still one of my favorite recipes. So while this isn't a book that my boys would likely care for, and I'm not sure why it's on a list of math books (brief reference to precise measurements?), it warmed my heart to read the story of how Fannie Farmer came to write a cookbook.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Arabesque

    I was hoping for a little bit more about baking and Fannie’s life. But it was not about Fannie as a girl. I also did not like the attitude of the little girl in the book. She doesn’t want a new baby brother. She talks as though he is annoying and she constantly has a bad attitude and is rude and arrogant. There is no sense of love or family. This is not a tone I want in a children’s picture book.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Aimee Fuhrman

    This is such a delightful story! The illustrations are a perfect depiction of nineteenth century life, especially in the kitchen. Fannie's tale is inspiring for young cooks and entrepreneurs alike. (And the blurbs from Fannie's original cookbook are a fun bonus.) This is such a delightful story! The illustrations are a perfect depiction of nineteenth century life, especially in the kitchen. Fannie's tale is inspiring for young cooks and entrepreneurs alike. (And the blurbs from Fannie's original cookbook are a fun bonus.)

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kris Dersch

    Super fun! The story was interesting, the illustrations are fantastic, and the cooking tips are quite helpful. I also love the side story of the little girl getting used to big sisterhood. A great read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Powell

    Deborah Hopkinson has become a favorite author of mine. Her books blend history, biography, and fiction in very readable ways. In this book, Fannie Farmer begins to write her famous cookbook, one of the first to include standard measurements and precise instructions.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Danette

    A little story about the invention of the recipe book. 5/15/17 Read with Naomi & Julia.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Marissa Elera

    I love Deborah Hopkinson's work! She always makes history into beautiful accessible stories. The illustrations are delightful as well. I love Deborah Hopkinson's work! She always makes history into beautiful accessible stories. The illustrations are delightful as well.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kirsten Murphy

    Connection: Women’s History Month

  26. 4 out of 5

    BreAnna (Bre'sBooks)

    Inspired by the story of one of the first cookbooks! Never thought about that before..

  27. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    Nineteenth century etchings & engravings and the artist's own work that create a humorous background to the tale of Fanny Farmer's beginnings. Nineteenth century etchings & engravings and the artist's own work that create a humorous background to the tale of Fanny Farmer's beginnings.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    I really enjoyed the illustrations in this work.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    A family favorite for years.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Eydie Aremburg

    Category: Picture Book Genre: Nonfiction Interest Level: Preschool – Grade 3 Reading Level: Lexile 380 Brief description: Fannie Farmer became a mother’s helper for the Charles Shaw family when Mrs. Shaw had a second child. Their first child, Marcia, was not so sure she would like to have a mother’s helper in their home because she felt she was her mother’s helper. Identify at least 2 characteristics of this genre(s) and sub-genre and discuss how they appear in your book: One characteristic of pictu Category: Picture Book Genre: Nonfiction Interest Level: Preschool – Grade 3 Reading Level: Lexile 380 Brief description: Fannie Farmer became a mother’s helper for the Charles Shaw family when Mrs. Shaw had a second child. Their first child, Marcia, was not so sure she would like to have a mother’s helper in their home because she felt she was her mother’s helper. Identify at least 2 characteristics of this genre(s) and sub-genre and discuss how they appear in your book: One characteristic of pictures books is how the use of space on the page9s). In this book, the illustrations at times use the entire page, and at other times the illustrations are smaller with more pictures to a page to show sequence of events. Another characteristic of pictures books is the language being as important as the illustrations and the language not being over-simplified. The language is not inhibited by the age of the audience (since an adult or older child would probably be reading the book) and uses such words as ripest, odious, and delicious. This picture book reaches the audience because it is short and to the point. Students can learn about Fannie Farmer in charming way. Preschool through grade three students can probably relate to Marcia who is jealous of someone coming into their lives, and they can see how Fannie wins over Marcia’s friendship. The illustrations help to entice the reader. Awards: Red Clover Book 2002-2003 ABA Pick of the Lists Publishers Weekly Best Books Links to published reviews from professional sources if any: http://www.deborahhopkinson.com/Histo... (Includes reviews from Amazon.com, Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal, and Booklist)

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