I Demand an Egg Cup

August 11, 2008 · 23 comments · Print This Post

in Gift Ideas, Nostalgia

I Demand an Egg Cup!With all the excitement surrounding the announcement of production beginning on the Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs movie, shopping for foodie baby shower gifts, and flipping my lid over the Foodie Babies Wear Bibs book I started remembering all of the stories I loved as a kid that involved food in some way or another.

The Little House books are a prime example of this. They’re full of food. So much so that there’s even a companion cookbook. I was always jealous that Laura Ingalls got to make maple sugar candy, pancake men, and vanity cakes. In real life I just got yelled at if I tried to eat snow, and my grandmother’s attempts at pancake men usually ended up looking slightly decapitated. I guess living on the frontier wasn’t as fantastic as I wanted to believe, unless you were a boy. You see In Farmer Boy, Alonzo got to pull taffy. For some reason that always sounded like an exotic adventure on par with escaping from the Temple of Doom with Indiana Jones. To this day I’ve never had the pleasure of participating in a taffy pull.

I feel obligated to put Blueberries for Sal on this list since I grew up in Maine, but honestly I hated blueberries as a kid. I was forcibly taken on too many marathon berry picking expeditions in the hot summer sun to ever have fond thoughts of the fruit or this classic story. Dear parents: no kid wants to go berry picking for four hours when they can be at home trying desperately to beat Paper Boy on the Nintendo while chain snacking on orange freezer pops.

In contrast, Bread and Jam for Francis is so loved that it’s made the cut out of hundreds of other books I grew up reading and has now been retired to the quiet serenity of my office bookshelf.  Very few childhood books received this sort of reverent “put out to pasture treatment.” Even the 60 plus Baby-Sitter’s Club books I cherished were eventually donated to the local library.  Why is Bread and Jam for Francis so good? Two words: egg cup. I obsessed about this plot point and pestered my family constantly as to why we didn’t have egg cups. They looked so fancy! I must have an egg cup! It wasn’t the whole jam part of the book, or the not so subtle “it’s good to try new foods idea” that I was enthralled with, but the egg cup illustration on the first few pages. I received my hard boiled eggs in a bowl so obviously in my mind I was very deeply deprived.

A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving Popcorn, pretzels, jelly beans and toast?! What more could a kid ask for?! Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving still knocks my socks off. I honestly think that someday I’m going to have people over for a “traditional” Snoopy and friends shindig. Who wants to be included on the invite?

If we were doing a High Fidelity inspired top five list than Mickey Mouse’s Picnic would have to be included for most read and beloved picture book of all time. Like previously mentioned books, it wasn’t always the story as a whole that would become memorable for me, but a single piece of the plot or artwork. In Mickey Mouse’s Picnic the mention of “paper tape” fascinated me. In the story, Minnie fastens a knife to to the bottom of the cake pan she’s bringing to their outdoor get together with paper tape. Unfortunately, The picnic feast gets stolen while everyone is frolicking at the swimming hole. The day is surely ruined, but wait! Just in the nick of time Donald appears with a picnic to share with the crowd. Hmm…Mickey and Minnie are suspicious and do a G-rated CSI investigation. Flipping over the cake they find Minnie’s knife stuck to the bottom with the now infamous paper tape. For some reason I was completely befuddled by the idea of paper tape, even after it was explained to me that paper tape was masking tape I still focused on this tiny piece of the tale for years.

Ramona Quimby Age 8Ramona Quimby Age 8 has several chapters where food plays an amusing role. Who can forget when Ramona and Beezus have to make dinner for their parents after they complain about their dad’s cooking? Or how about daredevil Ramona cracking an egg on her head to impress the “Yard Ape.” I still get the quivers thinking about that gooey mess sliding through Ramona’s hair. Ick!

Recently, young adult titles Life as We Knew it, and The Dead and the Gone have given me terrifying food related nightmares and essentially scarred me for the rest of my life.  Now every time I’m putting away groceries I think really melancholy thoughts like…what if this box of elbow macaroni and this can of diced peaches is the only food I get to eat for a week because a meteor knocked the moon out of whack and the weather is trying to kill us!  And then CK forcibly takes the iced coffee out of my hand and makes me go for a run.  I think I’m more afraid of starvation now than my 5-year-old self was afraid of the dark. Thanks Susan Beth Pfeffer!

Are there foodie books from your childhood, that stand out for you still? Please tell me I wasn’t the only freaky kid begging for egg cups and wishing for a pretzel main course at Thanksgiving.

{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

1 rachel August 11, 2008 at 9:37 am

We had a taffy pull yesterday, realizing my long held Little House dreams!


2 chip August 11, 2008 at 11:10 am

My all-time favorite (picture) books as a child were the Henry the Explorer books. I loved the adventures Henry and his Scottish terrier Angus McAngus went on, but what I remember most about them was the food. Angus was always packing snacks and, if I remember correctly, he always got a piece of cake when he got home.


3 Tammy August 11, 2008 at 11:39 am

Oh what a fun post!! It really got me all nostalgic! My favorite books were Laura Ingalls Wilder’s. The food described in them was wonderful. I’ve never pulled taffy either!

I had forgotten about Blueberries for Sal! Wonderful story too!

One that I loved was called Mama’s Bank Account. The family was Norwegian, and the food described always sounded so yummy. Mama makes meatballs for a tea, and her daughters are mortified because all of the other girls’ moms make tea sandwiches, etc. It turns out that Mama’s meatballs are a hit, and everything is OK!


4 Lis August 11, 2008 at 11:47 am

Don’t worry Erin, you’re not alone. Also, I loved Bread and Jam for Francis a lot, but we had egg cups growing up (it’s a German thing) so that part never caught my attention. Thanks for the memories!!


5 Danielle August 11, 2008 at 1:50 pm

The Giant Jam Sandwich by John Vernon Lord has really stuck in my mind for some reason… It’s all about this town that gets invaded by wasps and their solution is to bake a giant loaf of bread, use it to make a jam sandwich, and trap the wasps. I remember being fascinated by the descriptions of them making the bread and jam.


6 Lisa (Homesick Texan) August 11, 2008 at 2:33 pm

I’m pretty sure Robert McCloskey had an obsession with food because there’s also the story in Homer Price where a doughnut machine goes haywire and Homer has to eat all these doughnuts. And of course there’s One Morning in Maine, where Sal keeps saying (if memory serves me correctly) “When we get home we’re going to have clam chowder for lunch!” But the children’s book that had the most impression on me foodwise was Maurice Sendak’s In the Night Kitchen. When I was little, my mom used to make coffee cake and call it Mickey cake because I love this book so much. Great post!


7 Colleen/FoodieTots August 11, 2008 at 3:57 pm

I can’t say I remember that many food scenes, though I know I used to get excited about anything British (tea & scones). My parents once made us Green Eggs and Ham for St. Patty’s Day breakfast. I was also infatuated with the idea of maple sugar candy from Little House.


8 Elle August 11, 2008 at 4:15 pm

I’m coming for the Peanuts Thanksgiving!!!


9 Abbey August 11, 2008 at 8:30 pm

Oh How I Looooved A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. And I still love the cartoon they show every year. I tivo it and am SO EXCITED when it comes on!! I’m still a dork. 🙂


10 Carol August 11, 2008 at 11:10 pm

I also was a huge fan of Strega Nona. In this story, Strega Nona has a magic pot that makes as much pasta as she needs. However, when her helper uses it while she is away he doesn’t know how to stop it and floods the town with pasta. I loved that his punishment was to eat all the pasta.

Whenever my sister or I was sick, my mom would serve us a soft boiled egg in an egg cup. It was so gross we’d have to close our eyes giving it the name “closed eye eggy” Had no idea there was a real name until I was older.


11 PaniniKathy August 12, 2008 at 1:05 am

I’m with Carol on Strega Nona! I just bought the board book version for my daughter a few weeks ago. Love it! And, of course, there will always be a special place in my heart for BAJFF. Oddly enough, I started eating bread and jam myself after reading that book – I think I may have missed the moral of that story!! 🙂


12 Trysha August 12, 2008 at 6:14 pm

Mine was definitely Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. I remember reading it in the fist grade. My husband laughed at me when I told him about the book, but I found it on Amazon and now he’s addicted to it too. I am really excited about the movie.

Linked from Flickr


13 Allen August 12, 2008 at 10:27 pm

My favorite book has to be ‘The Boxcar Children’, four orphaned children who run away and live in an old boxcar in the woods. They live off the land and learn to cook for themselves. I remember wishing that I could do the same thing 🙂 I was searching it on Amazon and discovered they released a Boxcar Children Cookbook based on the food from the original book … is it silly for an adult to want to buy this?


14 Beth August 13, 2008 at 6:01 am

One great book I remember was Adopted Jane. An orphan goes to stay with two different families during summer vacation. She gets to try different types of food and plenty of it. At the orphanage, they had a lot of cabbage and if they had chicken, a rare occasion, they were allowed to pick it up and eat it with their hands. At the first house, she was so self conscious about her table manners. She sawed at the chicken, the green peas were buttery and slippery, only the flecked mashed potatoes could she eat without worry. They had a party with pink lemonade, made pink with cinnamon drops??? At her friends house they had floating island and blancmange (I really wanted to know what those things were) and the girls made fudge and talked about the secrets of really good fudge making. At the other house, it was on a farm and they had homemade peach ice cream. Ah, the memories!


15 EB August 13, 2008 at 12:06 pm

Omigsh! Bread and Jam for Francis!?! One of my all time faves. My absolute fave that I have to throw out there is one of the Little Golden Books (‘member those?). It’s called Tawny Scrawny Lion. It’s about a lion that goes vegetarian and stops eating all the other animals because some bunnies teach him to cook vegetable stew.


16 RobynT August 13, 2008 at 5:54 pm

very cool! i forgot about all the food in little house! this is not quite food, but i also vividly remember them blowing the pig’s bladder into a balloon or something.

and don’t forget stone soup! i loved that story when i was little!


17 Marilyn @ Simmer Till Done August 14, 2008 at 10:08 am

Erin, I love this post. There was food in every single beloved book – even now I’m always wishing to make snow candy like Laura Ingalls or eat flapjacks with Almanzo. I loved Strawberry Girl, and Chicken Soup With Rice…and when I had my own little eating-reader, it was Bread and Jam for Frances nearly every night. The ultimate food book, for slightly older readers, is Alice Waters’ “Fanny at Chez Panisse.” If that doesn’t make you hungry, I don’t know what will.


18 bandick August 14, 2008 at 1:57 pm

I never knew that the whole world didn’t use egg cups and eat soft boiled eggs until about 4 years ago when I was in a greasy spoon in Sandusky, OH and I tried ordering one. The waitress looked at my boyfriend and said (asked?), “she’s fancy, isn’t she?”

And, if you’re demanding an egg cup, don’t forget to demand the egg spoon!


19 MissGinsu August 14, 2008 at 9:00 pm

Fascinating! I’d never heard of Bread & Jam for Francis! Someone also reminded me of If You Give A Mouse A Cookie when I posted on this very topic a while back:



20 Cze-Johnson Carrie August 18, 2008 at 9:54 pm

I remember now. (HOW many days later??)

“Sweet Smell of Christmas” scratch and sniff book… food… SMELLING things… yes… it was hook line and sinker for me. got it when I was about 5 years old, so you KNOW the book is old. I love love loooooved the apple pie and the orange in the end. I was pleased to see it in stores last fall and I bought a copy for Rhena. it’s a regular in our roation now.. even though it’s all balls-hot out and stuff.


the other one was also a scratch and sniff book. It was Raggedy Ann’s Sweet and Dandy Sugar Candy Scratch and Sniff book.

what can I say… it was the 70s, and it had to appeal to the senses. but these two are always always going to make me smile.


21 Ginger August 28, 2008 at 11:02 pm

Wow! I can’t really add to this list, but boy oh boy, the memories! I didn’t even realize that there were so many books that I had forgotten about! I was a bookworm, and there were so many stories that that I vaguely remembered that I would like to read to my son as he gets older. And here, just reading the title and perhaps a few words about the book, and I’m going…”oh, I LOVED that book!” My parents have donated most of our childhood books after many moves, so I’m really almost starting from scratch. They just don’t make books like they used to! 😉


22 Megan March 24, 2010 at 1:16 pm

The Old Witch books…. coconut cake, blueberry pancakes… I LOVED THEM! (Are they still in print? My kid needs them.)


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