Meals inspired by literature

Page to Plate provides youth the chance to hone their cooking skills while tying the experience to stories


Many classic stories have food and drinks intrinsically linked to their narratives. Think of Marilla’s raspberry cordial from Anne of Green Gables; the Queen of Hearts’ tarts from Alice in Wonderland; Harry Potter’s butterbeer; the Snow Queen’s Turkish delight from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe; or the elves’ lembas bread from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The Whitehorse Public Library has taken this idea and run with it, creating a series of workshops for youth linking literature and cooking. The series is called Page to Plate.

“Page to Plate takes inspiration from stories, classic and new, and ties them to recipes. Youth learn how to create delicious food that they can make again at home for family and friends,” said Sarah Gallagher, outreach librarian at the Whitehorse Public Library. “It’s serious learning, where youth are introduced to kitchen basics like knife skills, proper kitchen etiquette and how to read a recipe. But it’s also fun and youth are often introduced to some new foods.”

The idea for the workshops was developed by Andrea Bols, library assistant, who is also a professional chef. She came up with the idea as a way to share her love of children’s literature and cooking with youth in a fun and informative workshop.

“While we learn a lot and accomplish a lot, the best part of the program is coming together as a group and enjoying a good meal,” said Gallagher. “This isn’t your typical PB&J after-school snack, but real food made with real technique. The social and celebratory aspect of feasting together is highlighted in this program.”

The library is keeping the lid on which dishes will prepared in the workshops, but eager participants might be able to make some educated guesses based on the themes.

The first workshop, Adventure Cooking, will take place on March 23. Whether the participants are planning to head off on an epic quest, or into the woods for a picnic, this workshop will help them prepare for an adventure. The program will draw its inspiration from The HobbitLord of the Rings, and Rutabaga the Adventure Chef.

A Series of Unfortunate Recipes is up next on March 24. This workshop takes its inspiration from A Series of Unfortunate Events. It recognizes that the sun can’t shine every day, so we should all have the know-how and skills to make some delicious comfort foods during those grey days.

The third workshop in the series, The Sweet Life, takes place on March 25. This baking-focused workshop draws inspiration from Matilda and Anne of Green Gables.

In past workshops, participants have learned how to make a complete roast dinner, how to make butter and ice cream from scratch, and how to cook a perfect egg.

The Page to Plate workshops take place from March 23 to 25, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Participants meet at the library for introductions and games. They then move to the kitchen at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre, where they cook before returning to the library to feast.

Workshops are open for youth who are ages 10 to 14. To promote access, participants are able to register for only one workshop. For those who are interested in more than one, the library will keep a waitlist and call participants if space becomes available. The workshops are free, but registration is required, as space is limited. Call 667-5239, or pop into the library to register. All supplies, including apron, provided.

Gearing up to explore ideas and the written word

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