Our Family Dinner Book Club selection for the month of December is Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola. 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, along with some easy crafts. 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.
I had never heard of Strega Nona before reading it for Family Dinner Book Club. I picked up and read Strega Nona: Her Story, fell in love with it, and started planning my dinner menu. Then I came across The Magical World of Strega Nona treasury and didn’t think twice before adding it to our home library. It’s a good thing, too, because I quickly realized that the book I read wasn’t even the original. So we read the original Strega Nona, and then proceeded to read all the rest of the stories about this beloved Italian Grandma. We all love these stories so much and thankfully the girls were more than happy to eat the dinner you see pictured above on more than one occasion in the recent weeks. I have been testing meatball recipes, and also had a mishap with my camera, so I made this Strega None meal twice within a few days and heard not one single grumble. Score!
Of course our meal includes pasta! It wouldn’t be a Strega Nona meal without plenty of magic pasta to go around. I serve spaghetti plain with the meatballs and sauce on the side so that everybody can mix their own. Abby loves meatballs, and spaghetti, but doesn’t like them mixed together. When I was growing up, I would fall into a tearful mess if somebody placed a plate of spaghetti covered in sauce in front of me. I am not so picky now, but I do remember my picky days quite well and I try to make mealtime as positive as I can for our girls. Antipasti platters are very common in Italian dining, so I added a small one to our menu. Feel free to customize your own with whatever meats, cheese, and nibbles you prefer. Assembling an antipasti platter is very much the same as assembling a cheese platter.
Strega Nona makes magic potions, so I think this dinner would be the perfect time to break out the famous Magical Color Changing Punch! Such a fun party trick.
Family Dinner Book Club
(salami, mozzarella fresca, olives, balsamic glaze, ciabatta)
Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
Rosemary Roasted Butternut Squash
Cherry Hazelnut Biscotti
(Apologies for the lack of craft photos! I am having both Internet and computer transfer issues so I’m not able to load the photo of crafts into this post. I will upload them as soon as possible.)
Make your own magic pot. We cut out large pot shapes and drew our own pictures of what we would want our magic pot to make. We decided our magic pots wouldn’t be limited to just food, so we had magic pots making everything from ice cream to birds to lightning.
Handprint Peacocks. Strega Nona always has her faithful peacock hanging around, and now you can, too! Choose 4 different colors. Trace hands and cut out from 3 of the colors, and use the 4th color for the peacock body. Glue the various pieces together and decorate with sequins, glitter, googly eyes, and whatever craft supplies you fancy. This photo was the inspiration for this craft.