Related Activities & Book Talk Teasers
Host a cooking contest. Involve parents/families by inviting students to select a favorite cookie, cupcake, cake, or pie recipe to cook at home. Have them bring the completed product to school on a designated date for judging. Enlist at least 3 judges for blind taste tests. Principals, Central Office administrators, local news personalities, and popular local government officials make great judges and are usually glad to help. Depending on the number of participants, prizes can be awarded by category (i.e. cookie, cupcake, etc.) or overall. Expand participation by awarding prizes for not only best tasting, but characteristics like most original, most unusual, funniest-looking-but-really-good, best looking or best presentation. Be creative! DO announce the awards well in advance so students can plan the project accordingly. This would make an excellent open house night or parent involvement morning event.
Add a technology component to the above contest by having students use your accepted word processing program to type the recipe used. Specify your presentation requirements (margins, format, font, etc.) to standardize and these could be compiled for a fun pastry “cookbook.” If you hold an event showcasing the student products, individual copies of the recipe beside the entry for interested parties to pick up would be a nice touch!
Taste and compare traditional Turkish Delight pastry to a more traditional American sweet treat. Either make or purchase (probably online – links included under “Other Links & Resources”) enough Turkish Delight for your purposes. The teacher or librarian has the option of allowing students to select their own favorite candy bar or other comparable sweet treat or selecting one familiar treat for all participants to compare. A useful comparison format might be a T-chart. Students could compare characteristics like taste (flavor), texture, sweetness (sugar), presentation – whatever the facilitator decides. Students should notice a marked difference in products flavored and produced for American tastes and those produced for Middle Eastern peoples.
Since the Turkish Delight character is topped with a pistachio nut, another taste comparison between different types of nuts could be interesting. Due to the prevalence of nut allergies however, a basic form or research paper covering different types of familiar and less familiar nut types might be safer. Teacher could specify the nut type(s), information required (how it grows, where it grows, uses, etc.) and resources to be used.
If your school or library network allows access to sites like airline websites or some of the trip planning sites, older students might research what Eggplant’s trip to Istanbul would cost. An excellent procedural activity, students could find overseas flight information, and build a trip timeline planning how and when to get to the initial take off point. Would a travel visa be required? How do you get one? How long does it take? What about a passport? What IS a passport? Most of us don’t have relatives in Istanbul to visit like Eggplant did. Does Turkey have hotels? How much would it cost to spend the night? What is the food like? What is the weather like there? What clothes should be packed? Are there interesting things to see and do there?
If your school or library network does not allow internet access for the above information, or if it might be more complicated or time consuming than desired, internet or print resources should be available for students to research the country of Turkey – people, weather, points of interest – and design a travel brochure.
This book includes seven recipes for items in the book. Try the recipes!
Cupcake fashioned edible animals from marzipan to sell at the blessing of the animals. Purchase, or make, marzipan and allow students to sculpt an animal. Another option would be to buy, or make clay dough and sculpt a variety of animals. A link for clay and play dough recipes is included under “Other Links & Resources.”
Book Talk Teaser
From the back of the book: “Cupcake’s life is pretty good: He’s got his bakery, his band, and his best friend. Things aren’t always so easy, though. Sometimes, Cupcake could use a little help. But is he looking for it in the wrong place?”