Our Family Dinner Book Club selection for the month of January is The Year of the Panda by Miriam Schlein. 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 as well as an idea for a family service project. Then visit Sunny Day Family for a fun craft. We invite you to share a picture from your dinner with us anytime during the month on our Family Dinner Book Club Facebook page.
In the book The Year of The Panda, a young boy named Lu Yi rescues an orphaned panda. While caring for her, he learns all about the hardships the Daxiong Mao (panda) face every 60 years, and how modern times are making life even more difficult for this beloved creature.
Family Dinner Book Club will be taking us all around the world in 2017, so I am trying to do plenty of research into cultural cuisines to accompany our books. We do not know exactly where Lu Yi lives, but through my research I found that pandas typically live in the mountains of central China. So our menu today takes inspiration from the various regions of China as well as from the book itself. The government drops sweet potatoes and corn for locals to feed the wild panda, and when Lu Yi first finds his panda, he feeds her milk. So we have both milk and sweet potatoes to feed our our daxiong mao.
The Year of the Panda
Family Dinner Book Club
milk and sweet potato (for the daxiong mao)
steamed or stir-fried vegetables (bok choy, bamboo, daikon radish)
Honey Ginger Pork
Chinese 5 Spice Beef and Noodle Bowl
Ginger Sweet Potato Soup
Kids in the Kitchen
Wrap a sweet potato in foil and bake in a 350F oven for 1 hour to soften. Remove from the oven, open the foil, and allow to cool. Once cool, kids can easily peel the skin of the sweet potato off with their hands, and then mash the flesh with a fork (or their hands!)
Kids can help peel apart the leaves of the bok choy before steaming, measure the rice and water to be cooked, and mix together the sauce ingredients for the Ginger Honey Pork.