Friendly fiber… When things go wrong, move on

Make magic with prunes

Make magic with prunes

Study Guide to Cook Up A Story


Chapter 4 of the print version of Cook Up A Story  is all about fiber… a subject that can sometimes veer sadly toward the gross. The story, Prune Puff,  doesn’t disappoint. It’s all about how ridiculously wrong things can go in the kitchen. It starts when Clark tries to come up with a good science project. But you can do better than Clark. Follow Vinny’s simple recipe and concoct a delicious light luscious delectable cake… full of healthy fiber. Then, test your food science know-how. Take a quiz on fiber and do an experiment on the ingredient that puffs cakes up – baking powder.

The story underlines how important it is to label foods carefully. And not just in your own kitchen. All processed foods we buy have to be labeled. Vinny shows us how to understand the information on food labels.  Everybody can take a minute to refresh their know-how in this area – so important!

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 revolves around improving our fiber intake, particularly by reading the labels on our grocery-store purchases. Let’s get cooking!

Prune Puff: Understanding the story

Why does Clark think he’s in trouble when his teacher drops in on him at home?
1. He had left a rotten onion in his teacher’s desk drawer
2. He hadn’t handed in a science fair proposal on time
3. He ate his teacher’s lunch when she wasn’t looking

What inspires Clark to do his food chemistry project on fiber?
1. A recipe for a fluffy prune cake he sees in the paper
2. His bowl of bran buds
3. His sense of the ridiculous

What is Clark’s secret ingredient?
1. Bacon
2. Mustard gas
3. Prunes

Healthy cake

For extra brownie points, serve your cake on a pretty plate.

How does his cake turn out?
1. It puffs up
2. It tastes great
3. It sends people running to the loo
—All of these

What did Clark learn from his experiment?
1. Use labels on storage containers
2. Clean up the kitchen as you go
3. Smile at your mistakes, learn and move on
—All of these and more

Recipe links

  • Make Clark’s low-fat, low-sugar chocolatey prune puff and serve it with a dab of whipped cream sweetened with maple syrup or stevia. Read:
    • Clark’s Prune Puff
    • Good food sets the mood
  • What’s folding and when do we use it in baking? Read:
    • Folding is pretty much like it sounds

Nutrition links

  • Foods featured in Clark’s recipe:
    • oat bran
    • prunes
    • maple syrup
    • low-fat, low-sugar yogurt (Greek yogurt is especially high in protein)
    • whole-grain flour
  • Clark does a food chemistry experiment on fiber. How much fiber do we need every day, why so much, and where do we find it? Read:
    • Quiz and the answers – Fiber is your friend
  • eaTracker – Log on to a tool that helps you track your nutrients. For details, check out
    • Read more…

Food facts

  • Get a start on food science. Study:
    • Reading nutrition labels
  • Discuss why it’s important to be tidy in the kitchen. Read:
    • To be a baker, you need a hat
    • Keep the kitchen spiffy
  • Vinny sings The Prune Song while he does the dishes. Don’t know the tune? Sing along here.
  • How do cakes puff up? Read:
    • Science experiment for Mrs. Magnus
  • Learn about the science behind cooking. For details, check out:
    • Read more…


Note to holiday shoppers: Time is running out.  Order your own personal copies of Cook Up A Story for friends and family today… and give the gift of healthy eating that lasts a life-time!

The Blurb Bookstore prints up your copy of Vinny’s book Cook Up a Story just for you. A new, black-and-white version is now available in the family-sized edition. Or you can opt for the full-color version or even the “all-dressed” deluxe edition. Choose from three cover styles and four paper selections. There are even two delivery options… something for everybody. I’ve ordered copies of all the available formats myself, and I found the print quality from Blurb to be wonderful, regardless of the choice.

Plan ahead. It takes 7-10 days or so to print up your own personal copy and ship it straight to your door.

Cook Up A Story is a great gift idea if you are shipping presents to friends and relatives who live in far away places. Pay for shipping only once, from the factory to your loved ones.

Happy reading and bon appétit :) .

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