Friday, November 3, 2017

Mountain Chef

Mountain Chef: How one man lost his groceries...
by Annette Bay Pimentel; illus. by Rich Lo
40 pages; ages 6-9
Charlesbridge, 2016

themes: Exploration! Adventure! Food!

Tie Sing was a frontier baby, born high in the mountains in Virginia City, Nevada.

America was a tough place to be Chinese when Tie Sing was growing up. Chinese workers were paid less than white workers, and many people with Chinese names ended up cooking in restaurants or working in laundries. But Tie Sing had BIG dreams. He got a job  cooking for mapmakers as they explored and mapped the Sierras. And he got a reputation as the best trail cook around.

So when a party of Congressmen and others who interested in creating a National Park Service hired him as their trail cook, Tie Sing wanted to fix them meals that would make them remember the beauty of the peaks. No s'mores for this crew; it was English plum pudding with brandy sauce, eggs for breakfast, box lunches, and sourdough starter in the saddle bags for dinner loaves.

What I like about this book: I love camping and hiking, and the National Parks! I enjoyed Annette Pimentel's depiction of Tie Sing - he really worked hard to plan menus and pack ingredients. I like that she shows a typical day in the life of a trail chef. And that she includes the obstacles Tie Sing has to overcome - like when a mule wanders away with the food and he has to improvise a simple (yet elegant) meal. The words and illustrations take us on the journey with Tie Sing.

I also like the back matter - and there is plenty: information about immigration, how Tie Sing kept his food from going bad, and short biographies of the people who went on the expedition. End papers feature maps of the journey.

Beyond the Book:
Make some granola for your next camping trip; it also makes a good "carry along" breakfast for when you're traveling.

Learn more about our National Parks - and if you have the chance to visit one, do it.

Take a virtual hike up Sing Peak - here is a map, and wonderful photos of what you would see if you were hiking there. During a rest break - while you catch your breath - read up on the history of Tie Sing and the adventurous Mather Party.

Today is PPBF (perfect picture book Friday), an event in which bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's site. She keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. Review copy from the publisher.

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