Sunday, April 21, 2013

Nutella Covered Crackers and Grandma and the Great Gourd

grandma and the great gourd

Grandma and the Great Gourd retold by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, illustrated by Susy Pilgrim Waters. I had mentioned this book a couple of months back on this blog and we got our own copy from Amazon a few weeks back.

This picture book is a retelling of a Bengali folktale I have grown up with. My Dida, my maternal grandmother often told this as a bedtime tale and the image of grandma traveling in a big gourd was as exciting as intriguing.

The story summarized goes like this -- "Grandma who lived with her two dogs in a small hut at the border of the forest was invited by her daughter to visit her on the other side of the jungle.  On her way across the jungle, Grandma met a series of hungry animals: a fox, a bear and a tiger who wanted to eat her.  Being very shrewd she avoided the imminent danger by explaining to each, that she is very thin now, but will be plumper and juicier when she returns from seeing her daughter.  Grandma had a good time at her daughter’s home, eating lots of food and visiting.  But eventually, she had to return home to her dogs and her garden.  But how was she to get back?  That’s where the giant gourds in her daughter’s garden came in, and you will just have to read the book to find out how clever Grandma successfully manages to avoid the hungry animals and reach home safely."

I was very happy to read this book to my four year old as it brought back many memories.  The author tells the story in a very traditional way too which I felt was wonderful.The inclusion of noises in the story ,like the khash-khash of lizards slithering over dry leaves, the thup-thup-thup of elephants lumbering on forest paths, and the dhip-dhip of her heartbeat is the part both me and the girls liked best. I mean instead of using words like "lub-a-dub-dub" for heartbeat she used the more Bengali Indian synonym "dhip-dhip". I found my 4 year old enjoying these noises as much and the concept of grandma in the gourd really intrigued her.

The artist Susy Walter's  illustrations are bright and colorful and makes the story more vibrant.

I am not a book reviewer but I highly recommend this book for 4-7 year old kids who would love the illustrations and the simple story retold in this book.

Now the book ends with mention of a simple Khichuri, rice and lentils cooked together with vegetables, a staple in Indian homes. Ideally that should have been the recipe accompanying this post but to add more fun to book reading BS, my 9 year old made these nutella covered crackers instead.
This post continues from Bong Mom's Cookbook.

 Adapted from Tasty Kitchen's Chocolate covered Graham Crackers

In a microwave safe bowl add
1/2 cup Nutella
3 tbsp butter

Meanwhile line a cookie tray with parchment and place the crackers side by side. We used about 12 club crackers. Use less number for bigger sized crackers.

Microwave the nutella+butter for about 30 secs. When the Nutella+butter mix melts, carefully take it out and stir together. It will be hot so an adult should do this step

Drizzle the mix on the crackers so that the crackers are now covered in a ooey gooyey nutella coating.Don't worry about being perfect. It is not a work of art to be displayed in MOMA.

Pop in oven at 350F for 4-5 mins until they bubble. This step is optional and you can skip this and go straight to refrigerate in next step

When you see the bubbles, take out the tray, sprinkle or decorate as you like and chill in refrigerator or pop in freezer. The nutella will set to form hard coating on the crackers. Break them apart once chilled.

Finish them. Or if you are a saint store them in the refrigerator or at room temperature. I store them and they work perfect as a weekday snack.