Sunday, March 01, 2009
Madame Pamplemousse and her Incredible Edibles
Madeleine is a talented little cook, but her gifts are squashed every summer when she goes to work for her restaurateur Uncle Lard while her parents are off jet setting. Uncle Lard's establishment, The Squealing Pig does have some talented people working within, but the problem is with Lard himself. He insists on having specialties of the house that he concocts. Dishes like Pig's Ear Pizza, Kidney Burger with Double Cream, and Crab Ravioli in Warm White Chocolate Sauce! (p. 9)
One day Madeleine is away from the kitchen searching out her Uncle's favourite pate, when she follows a cat and stumbles upon a peculiar shop simply called Edibles. As soon as she steps through the door, Madeline knows that this is a special place. When Madam Pamplemousse (and her cat Camembert) suddenly appears and asks Madeleine what she wants, Madeleine feels a bit frightened but ends up asking for pate. But instead of the mixed innards pate that her Uncle loves, Mme. Pamplemousse hands Madeleine a jar of green pate, labeled "Pate of North Atlantic Sea Serpent with Green Peppercorn Mustard" (p. 21) Even though it is not what she needs, Madeleine takes it back to the restaurant and convinces the Head Chef to simply replace the mixed innards variety with the sea serpent variety for that evening.
The pate, however, has quite an effect on those who consume it, and soon Uncle Lard is thundering into the kitchen and demanding to know where it came from. When the jar falls out of Madeleine's pocket, Uncle Lard has the answer he needs.
What follows is a game of cat and mouse between Uncle Lard, Mme. Pamplemousse, Camembert, and Madeleine. Villainous Uncle Lard is over-the-top bad, and readers will delight in his ineptitude. Sue Hellard's illustrations perfectly compliment the text with Uncle Lard looking as piggish as can be, and there are simple no words for the food critic!
This story is a bit of a flight of fancy, and I think that it is perfectly suited for reading aloud. The sense of humour is sophisticated, and the young foodies in the audience will find themselves imagining just what kinds of dishes, are indeed, possible!