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Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla

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Ivan The Shopping Mall Gorilla family dinner menu from #FamilyDinnerBookClub

Our Family Dinner Book Club selection for the month of June is Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate.
Here you’ll find a menu that can be prepared with the help of your children, and will hopefully be a fun and interactive activity for the whole family. Head over to Growing Book by Book for some talking points to get the conversation started and an idea for a family service project. We invite you to share a picture from your dinner with us anytime during the month on our Family Dinner Book Club Facebook page.

Ivan The Shopping Mall Gorilla family dinner menu from #FamilyDinnerBookClub

This book was a tear jerker for me! I had never heard this story before reading it for family dinner book club. I have since visited several websites to learn even more of Ivan’s story as well as information about western lowland gorillas. This month’s book club dinner is Ivan’s favorite: Fried Chicken. Here I’ve paired Ivan’s favorite with our family’s favorite sides, and since it is June 1st, we’re also going with a more summery theme. Ivan’s Favorite Salad is comprised of ingredients that western lowland gorillas would eat on their own in the wild: leaves, seeds, nuts, fruit, and flowers. Delicate squash blossoms are currently in season here in Southern California because their hosts, zucchini, are also in season so I used these beauties to top my salad as well as to adorn the platter of corn on the cob. I happened upon baby zucchini with the flowers in tact at my local farmers market so I simply sliced the zucchini into coins and scattered the coins all around the corn. I didn’t even cook them because they are so soft and sweet right now they don’t need any treatment. The girls were adventurous enough to taste them. They didn’t get a resounding thumbs up, but both girls said they were “okay”.

Ivan The Shopping Mall Gorilla family dinner menu from #FamilyDinnerBookClub

Let’s talk about this beauty of a salad for a minute! I started with arugula because it is one of my favorites. You could also use a spring greens mix, baby spinach, romaine, or just about any lettuce that you find appealing. Then I added some fresh cherries and nectarines because those are the fruits I found at my farmer’s market. I threw in a handful of slivered almonds for some crunch, and drizzled with a reduced balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, and a pinch of salt. The next day, I added some goat cheese, dried cranberries, and toasted walnuts. As I said above, I decorated my salad with the pretty squash blossoms.

What are your favorite sides to go with Ivan’s favorite fried chicken dinner?

Ivan The Shopping Mall Gorilla family dinner menu from #FamilyDinnerBookClub

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla
Family Dinner Book Club
Fried Chicken
Corn on the Cob
Mashed Potatoes
Ivan’s Favorite Salad

Ivan The Shopping Mall Gorilla family dinner menu from #FamilyDinnerBookClub

Kids In The Kitchen!

Get the kids involved in dinnertime by taking them to the store or farmers market with you to pick out 1 or 2 vegetables to have with dinner tonight. Have them pick out the juicy watermelon that you’ll be slicing into later tonight. Kids can even help with the fried chicken. Make an assembly line with the ingredients and kids can help dip the chicken pieces into the batter. Always remember to wash hands well before and after cooking, especially after handling raw chicken. If your kids are interested in salad, try placing each ingredient separately on a plate and have a taste test to see what you think of each ingredient on it’s own. Then try eating 2 things in the same bite and share your favorite combination with the rest of the table.

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5 thoughts on “Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla”

    • I added it to the post above. 🙂 It is arugula, cherries, peaches, slivered almonds, reduced balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a pinch of salt!


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