Grow It Eat It – Growing Food With Children

As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, I’m hoping to grow some vegetables in pots and containers in our garden this year. It will be an experiment in which I’m expecting to make many mistakes, so I am currently researching the best ways to go about it. I’m attempting simple projects because I am a novice myself, and because I really want to get my daughter involved. She will be two in the spring and I am hoping it will be something we can do together.

Reading many gardening books focusing on a small garden or one specific to pots and containers, I have to say my favourite so far is a children’s gardening book I came across by chance in my local library – The Royal Horticultural Society’s book Grow It Eat It – Simple gardening projects & delicious recipes, published in 2008 by Dorling Kindersley.

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I love the way that children’s books assume no prior knowledge and that information is presented in a simple and straightforward way, meaning they are great for children and adult beginners.

Blurb – ‘From plot to plate, a cookery and gardening book in one, from the experts at the RHS.

Is your child a budding gardener or chef? Children will love learning how to plant seeds and turn their produce into delicious meals that they can eat. They’ll have juicy tomatoes that make fantastic pizzas, plump pumpkins for a perfect pie, luscious strawberries for a smashing smoothie and many more tempting treats.They’ll discover how food grows, from photosynthesis to pollination and learn to care for their plants.

Then when they’ve picked their crops, there are recipes for snacks, lunches and dinners that are really tasty and will encourage your child and family to eat healthily.

And you don‚Äôt need a garden: Grow It, Eat It includes plants that can all be grown in pots.’

Throughout the book the children made use of a toddler sized canvas bag with mini garden tools which I had previously seen for sale, and we managed to get one just like it. We are yet to use it outdoors, but our daughter loves the bag and watering can. I’ve put the hand trowel, fork and rake away until they are to be used for their intended purpose. I’m really looking forward to starting and hope we have some great successes. And if we don’t I’m learning a lot along the way.

Children's Garden Tool Set

2008. Grow It Eat It. London: Dorling Kindersley Ltd.
ISBN 978-1-40-532810-4

Victorian Pharmacy

I was given this book as a gratefully received surprise Christmas present this year and enjoyed it so much that I read all 216 pages in only 3 nights. The book compliments a four-part BBC television documentary that first aired in 2010, looking at life in the Victorian era in relation to health care; a time when overcrowding and unsanitary living conditions made the need ever more necessary. Having seen no more than a few clips from the television series I can confirm that it is immensely enjoyable as a stand alone book, as well as companion to the series.

The book is split into seven main chapters entitled Public Health, Medicine and Disease, The Chemist and his Shop, Poison, Potions, Powders, Perfumes and Pills, 2000 Items in Stock and The Appliances of Science. They explore social history during and leading up to the Victorian era; specific ailments common at the time and their treatments; the typical sights and daily activities of a Victorian Pharmacist in his shop; and an explanation of familiar products today that were born from pharmaceutical experiments of the time. Recipes are also to be found scattered throughout. Many contain harmful and dangerous ingredients including mercury and opium included for historical interest only, but there are also safer recipes specifically set out in sidebars under the disclaimer that they should be safe to recreate, though the reader does so at their own risk. I have not yet attempted any but some are exactly the kind I hope to encourage with this website as many use raw, simple and edible ingredients. An example includes a recipe for Nettle Hair Rinse, and another for Oatmeal Paste which is a relief for sore or chapped hands.

Overall the book is a fascinating and informative read which anyone who has an interest in medicines, the Victorian era, or general social history is likely to enjoy reading. It presents the origins of our dependence of products, the beginnings of the huge pharmaceutical industry, cosmetic industry, and in many ways even the beginnings of the food science industry.

Blurb – ‘Victorian Pharmacy follows the fascinating story of the emergence of high street healthcare in the form of the chemist’s shop and the products on offer. Follow Ruth Goodman,Nick Barber and Tom Quick as they investigate which pills, tonics and cures were available – some effective, some deadly and some still with us today.

  • Full of fascinating facts, remedies and recipes to try at home.
  • the story of our continuing love affair with high street chemists and the thousands of products for sale.
  • Shows how many products in our high street chemists today can trace their origins back to nineteenth century formulations.’

ESTOE, J. 2010. Victorian Pharmacy. 1st edn. London: Pavilion.
ISBN 978-1-86205-890-3

Green & Black’s Tasting Collection

We had a lovely surprise Christmas gift from my husband’s side of the family this year in the form of Green & Black’s Organic Tasting Collection, 395g.

Having seen it online just before Christmas I was tempted to buy it as a gift to ourselves, but as we’d already over spent on our Christmas food budget I somehow managed to resist. This made it an extra exciting present on Christmas day!

To me, Green & Black’s represent high quality chocolate because they use quality ingredients in their products. This beautifully presented box took us on a tour of where these ingredients are sourced around the world, while the accompanying ‘taste cards’ provide further information about the flavours included, and an accompanying recipe to compliment each.

2012-12-27 19.23.34 Green and Blacks Tasting Experience

The box contains 24 Green & Black’s 15g miniature bars in White, Creamy Milk, Milk, Butterscotch, Almond, Raisin & Hazelnut, Cherry, Ginger, Hazelnut & Currant, Hazelnut, Dark 70% and Dark 85% (two of each flavour), and an extra 30g 70% dark chocolate bar.

There is sure to be a flavour for everyone. My personal favourites were raisin & hazelnut, followed by ginger and 70% dark.

In summary, if you’re a chocolate lover – I recommend this gift box.