Ultimate Food Atlas -- Explore the World through Food with This Book


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

When Hazel was younger, we loved exploring the world and participated in a blog group celebrating food from around the world. We did the series Around the World in 12 Dishes. I miss it sometimes because it got us exploring different dishes. Some we loved and others not so much. Today I get to share a book that lets you explore the world through food so basically our series in one book sort of. The book is Ultimate Food Atlas: Maps, Games, and Recipes for Hours of Delicious Fun by Nancy Castaldo and Christy Mihaly. It is from National Geographic Kids and is recommended for ages 8 to 12 but could work with younger kids with adult help.

From the Publisher:

Exploring the world has never been more yummy and fun! Discover how unique foods are grown, eaten, and celebrated by people all over the planet, get recipes for delicious dishes, and so much more!

Pull up a chair and dig into this bold and vibrant world atlas full of fun food facts, fascinating information about crops and farming, easy-to-read maps, recipes, and games from around the world. On the menu: vegetables, grains, meats, dairy products, and foods harvested from the water. Highlights include appetizing attractions, cool places to eat, and food festivals, and sustainable eating is promoted throughout. It's a treat for kids who are interested in food and a valuable reference about geography, agriculture, and culture across the continents. Absolutely stuffed with mouthwatering tidbits for every reader! Kids are sure to come back to the table hungry for more!

From Me:

The book is set up by continent. For each continent it starts with information about the continent. Then it goes through nine categories that differ by continent but cover things like fruit and vegetables, grains, meats, festivals and so much more. There are maps, photos, fun facts, and so much information on every page. There is a recipe for each continent as well to try. There are attraction suggestions for travelers as well as searches for virtual travelers. 

I love how much variety is in this book. It is rather complete and shares a variety of food from all over the world. I love how it shares things from different countries on each continent and a variety of things. In each continent section there is also a page that shares about a food type and shares different things about it from all over the world. For example cheese is on topic. On the cheese page there is pizza from the USA, catupiry from Brazil, ayib from Ethiopia, paneer from India, and cheddar and beef pie from New Zealand. For more about cheese be sure to check out this post. There are also true or false quizzes on different pages including the cheese page. The answers to the quizzes as well as the other puzzle pages at the end of the book are all at the very end of the book right before the glossary. 

Samples of Fun Facts Shared:

1. "It takes about 50 gallons of maple sap to make one gallon of maple syrup. A typical maple tree produces between 10 and 20 gallons of sap each year." (page 14) See our maple syrup experience and our experience with maple syrup taffy.

2. "It is believed that pigs were introduced to North America in 1493, when Christopher Columbus brought them by ship from Spain to Cuba." (page 23) Learn some fun facts about pigs and check out our Jamaican Christmas dinner including a pineapple ham.

3) "Lucuma is a South American fruit commonly known as eggfruit. Its ripe flesh has a flavor similar to that of a roasted sweet potato, but the texture is like that of a hard-boiled egg yolk. The flesh is often pureed and used to make ice cream." (page 36) Although we didn't check out lucuma, be sure to check out our fruit explorations.

4) "Some European farmers grow crops to produce electricity. In Italy's Po Valley, famers put corn, other crops, and waste products into a digester to make bio-gas. The bio-gas is burned to make electricity." (page 53) 

5) "The African Rhino banana plant can grow fruits up to two feet long!" (page 92) Check out our experience making Thai Banana Cake.

6) "Saffron is a spice obtained from thread within flowers of the saffron crocus. It is the world's most expensive spice, costing $5,000 or more per pound of threads. The saffron crocus, believed to be native to Greece and long grown in Iran and India, is also cultivated in Australia and New Zealand." (page 115) Check out our recipe for Saudi Arabian Al Kabsa that has saffron in it. 

Samples of Cool Foods Featured:

1) Tacos al pastor are one of Mexico's most common foods. It was created by a Lebanese immigrants in Puebla in the 1930s. Traditionally tacos involve cooking pork on a spit. (page 23) Check out our fun facts about tacos with recipe and craft round-up.

2) Chicha Morada is a refreshing juice made from boiled purple corn mixed with a bit of cinnamon, clove and sometimes pineapple and strawberry. It is drunk in Peru. (page 41) Be sure to check out our Peruvian Purple Corn Pudding.

3) Chocolate mochi is a Japanese treat. They are balls of sticky rice dough with a sweet and creamy filling. Sometimes the filling is ice cream. (page 48) Check out our experience making mochi

4) Jollof is a Nigerian one pot dish made of rice, tomatoes, onions and peppers. Often meat or fish is added as well. It can be served on its own or with soup and fried vegetables. (page 101) Check out our experience making jollof rice

5) Pineapples are native to South America. They were imported to the Hawaiian Islands by Europeans. By the 1960s, Hawaii was growing, canning and exporting 80 percent of the world's canned pineapples. (page 113) Check out our exploration of pineapples

6) Kiwis are grown in New Zealand. They are a fruit with a fuzzy brown skin and a tart, seedy green inside. They originated in China. (page 116) Be sure to check out our experience making Kiwi Cake with a recipe from New Zealand. 

As you can see the book shares quite a bit. It is perfect for exploring countries through food both through culture of food as well as what food is produced there. I hope you will check it out.