Welcome to our first Family Dinner Book Club post! This month, we read Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne together as a family and now it’s time for the book club fun to begin. 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. Then visit Enchanted Homeschooling Mom for a fun craft to decorate your dinner table. We invite you to share a picture from your dinner with us anytime during the month on our Family Dinner Book Club Facebook page.
“Isn’t it funny
How a bear likes honey?
Buzz! Buzz! Buzz!
I wonder why he does?”
After reading this book, I came to the conclusion that Winnie-the-Pooh was one of the first foodies around. Throughout the book Pooh needs “a little something” to sustain himself, or revive himself, or because it is Eleven. He is willing to disguises himself as a small black rain cloud in a blue sky to retrieve some honey from the bees. He and Piglet try to catch a Heffalump using a pot of honey, but Pooh is so overwhelmed by the thought of wasting his honey that he gets his head stuck inside the honey pot while licking it clean! He has good intentions of gifting a pot of honey to Eeyore as a birthday present, but on the way it was about that time for “a little something” so he had no choice but to sit down and eat the only thing available, turning Eeyore’s gift of honey into a gift of a “Very Useful Pot”.
When the 100 Acre Wood floods, Pooh escapes with ten pots of honey. Two days later he had four pots of honey left, three days later one pot of honey, and on the fourth day he had no more honey. He corked up his biggest jar and used it as a boat, which sometimes is a boat and sometimes is an Accident, depending on whether Pooh is on top of or underneath it.
With honey, or Hunny, being Pooh’s favorite food, of course we must embark on a honeyed menu to accompany our special Family Dinner Book Club evening. I imagine that Winnie-the-Pooh isn’t the only one in the 100 Acre Wood that enjoys a little something throughout the day. So this Winnie-the-Pooh menu is filled with many little somethings that can be easily compiled into a fun dinner for the kids to enjoy. They can even help set it all up! For more adventure, make this meal a picnic on your living room floor. Grab a blanket, and get ready for your own Expotition to the North Pole, or wherever your imaginations will take you.
Let’s begin with a honey tasting. Pooh Bear prefers his honey straight from the pot, but I think it’s fun to explore what other foods are good to eat with honey. I’ve set up a child-friendly charcuterie platter. This is so customizable. Think of your child’s favorite crackers, cheese, meats, fruits, and vegetables and add those to your platter. Visit your local grocery store to see what honey offerings that have. I found raw honey, flavored honey, whipped honey, and honeycomb at mine. The honeycomb can be a bit more difficult to come by, but it makes a neat addition and something you don’t usually see. Why yes, that is chopped hot dog on my charcuterie platter. I know a few little tykes that enjoy a cold hot dog. Chop it into bite-sized pieces and serve it with toothpicks or other small skewers to make the eating more fun. Who doesn’t love something on a stick?! Try dipping each item on the platter into the honey to see how that tastes, or put a few items together and then dip in the honey. You can also try tasting each item individually, talk about the flavors and textures, and then dip it in honey and talk about which you liked better.
To add some protein and some more cooking to the evening, I included some Baked Honey Chicken to my platter. Get the kids involved! Have them mix together the sauce ingredients while the chicken is cooking. Kids can even help roll the chicken in the breadcrumbs, just make sure to wash your hands well after handling raw chicken.
Clearly, honey is Pooh’s favorite food, and the one most often mentioned in Winnie-the-Pooh, but it isn’t all he eats. Sometimes Pooh Bear has a “simple meal of marmalade spread over a honeycomb or two” for breakfast.
“…and when Rabbit said, ‘Honey or condensed milk with your bread?’ he was so excited that he said, ‘Both’, and then, so as not to seem greedy, he added, “But don’t bother about the bread, please.” Pooh Bear will also happily indulge in some condensed milk when offered.
Finish your meal with a simple dessert of Honey Lollipops. I bet Pooh Bear would love to get his paws on one of these. Here is another way to get the kids involved. After you’ve cooked the honey, and very carefully begin to shape your lollipops, the mixture will begin to cool. With your very close supervision, kids can take a wooden spoonful of the honey and pour it onto a Silpat or parchment paper. Have fun with shapes, too. Drizzle the cooked honey into circles, or let it go free form, or try making a heart or a square. The lollipops take about an hour to solidify and harden, so you’ll have plenty of time for dinner and discussion while waiting for dessert to settle.
“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”
“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”
“I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.
Pooh nodded thoughtfully.
“It’s the same thing,” he said.
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts or thighs
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- cooking oil spray
- ½ cup honey
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Chop the chicken into 1-inch pieces. Roll in the breadcrumbs, pressing lightly to adhere.
- Place the coated chicken on a baking sheet and lightly spray with oil on each side.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until the chicken in cooked through. The breadcrumbs will begin to turn golden brown.
- While the chicken is cooking, place the honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and sesame oil in a small saucepan over medium heat.
- Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and let simmer about 5 minutes. The sauce will thicken.
- Pour half the sauce over the chicken to coat, and serve the remaining sauce on the side for dipping.
1/2 cup honey
1. Place the honey in a saucepot over medium heat.
2. Cook the honey until it reaches 300F. If you do not have a candy thermometer, you can test to see if the honey is reading by dropping a small amount in cold water. If the honey hardens, it is ready to pour into lollipops.
3. The honey will be very hot (300 degrees F!), so very carefully pour into lollipop molds, or pour freeform over lollipop sticks set out on a Silpat or a sheet of parchment paper.
4. Allow to cool for 1 hour, or until hardened. Store in individual plastic baggies, or store together with parchment paper between each piece.