Meal time is family time

Holiday  turkey

Study Guide to Cook Up A Story


Chapter 3 of the print version of Cook Up A Story  offers kids a family ghost to scare them silly. Little Miss Ellie and the princess’s pie makes for a tasty Halloween treat. Then bake two delicious dishes from Ellie’s past. Ellie’s mixed French and Native background helps us learn to appreciate foods from other cultures. Sit down for a cozy chat with your folks and unmask recipes that conjure up your own family’s skeletons. Vinny uses Ellie’s Native roots to discuss food labels we see at the store: natural, organic, local, large-scale producers… We soon see that no one size fits all. There’s a lot to learn and the choice is up to us.

Here are a few multiple-choice questions you can ask your kids as you read Vinny’s story together. It’s an interactive way to help your family get the most from the tale. The chapter’s theme is strengthening family ties through food. Use the story line to link up with great ideas for healthy living. Let’s get cooking!

Little Miss Ellie and the Princess’s Pie: Understanding the story

Why was Ellie unhappy on her way to her grandmaman’s?
1. She was hungry
2. She was teased for not playing ball toss well
3. She couldn’t speak French

What did Ellie ask her grandmaman?
1. To explain how her hometown, Fort Qu’Appelle, got it’s name
2. To make hotdogs for lunch
3. To teach her how to speak French

What does Qui appelle mean in English?
1. Close the door behind you.
2. When will lunch be ready?
3.Who is calling?

Canoes on the Assiniboine River

Voyageurs on the river

What was Grandmaman cooking?
1. A meat pie served at parties in French Canada
2. A biscuit made by the Native peoples in the area
3. Blueberry bannock and pork tourtière
—All of these

What did Ellie learn about her great-great-great grandfather?
1. He was a French fur trader
2. He married a Native princess who died in childbirth
3. He gave his daughter the same name that Ellie has – Eliane
—All of these

What did Ellie’s grandfather hear on the lakes?
1. His name carried on the wind
2. An echo of his own voice shouting Qui appelle
3. A family ghost
—All of these

What did Ellie learn from her grandmaman’s tale?
1. Her family history
2. Respect for her mixed heritage
3. How to make bannock
—All of these and much more

Recipe links

  • Make biscuits like Magena may have, using wild and natural ingredients and cooking over a fire. Read:
    • Magena’s bannock
    • Baking soda, before the Europeans
  • Make an easy French tourtière like Ellie’s ancestors might have, from lean pork and grated veggies. Read:
    • Meat pie for little Miss Ellie
    • Know this about chopping and grating

Nutrition links

  • Healthier foods featured in these recipes:
    • whole grains
    • nuts and seeds
    • lean pork
    • fresh veggies
  • Why do many people encourage folks to shop “Local”? Read and discuss:
    • Vinny says… I like “local”
    • “The 100-mile diet,” from Read more…
  • What does it mean when an ingredient is marked as “optional”? Read:
    • Eeny Meeny Miny Moe

Food facts

  • Magena had to find her food in the forests and fields, and cook over an open fire. Today, we can choose from many kinds of foods. Read:
    • Food Labels—Were Magena’s foods more organic than ours?
    • Before the Europeans came.



Cultural facts

  • What things can we learn from our families? Read:
    • Families tie us to our roots.
  • Who are the Métis? Discuss their role in Canada’s history.
  • Have you ever cooked on a campfire? What foods did you cook? Any tips?

Further learning

  • Holes, a novel for tweens, deals with a wretched curse and its effect on one family over the generations… and on a certain boy in particular. Check out:
    • Read more…
  • In Alan Mendelsohn, the boy from Mars, a portly boy at a new school meets a guy from Mars and learns to contend with several completely different and wacky cultures. In doing so, he grows comfortable in his own skin and makes a  friend for life. Details in:
    • Read more…

    Meals make memories. Priceless!

    Meals make memories. Our dad will have been 93 on Nov 11, 2013:  Priceless!

Note to holiday shoppers: The study guides to Vinny’s book apply to material in the print version only. You can get the book on-line from the Blurb Bookstore.

A new, black and white version is now available in the family-sized edition. Or you can opt for the full-color version or the “all-dressed” deluxe edition.

Plan ahead. It takes a few weeks to print up your own personal copy and ship it straight to your door. This is a great gift idea if you have to ship presents to friends and relatives who live in far away places.

Family, food, and a beautiful book… what better gift for people you love.

Consider ordering your copy of Cook Up A Story today.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Shanna Koenigsdorf Ward
    Nov 03, 2013 @ 18:23:51

    The concept of native and French Canadian recipes is so interesting! 🙂


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