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Pass The Pandowdy, Please

Chewing on History with Famous Folks and Their Fabulous Foods


Abigail Zelz (Author), Eric Zelz (Illustrated by)

Our Retail Price:£12.99

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*CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book*

What do Napoleon, Cleopatra, George Washington, Gandhi, Queen Victoria, Columbus, Neil Armstrong, Montezuma, Paul Revere, Babe Ruth, Abraham Lincoln, Sacagawea, and Katsushika Hokusai have in common?

They are all among the historical figures portrayed in this delightful book by writer Abby Ewing Zelz and cartoonist Eric Zelz. Just like us, the great movers and shakers of history had to eat, and their favorite foods turn out to be a highly entertaining thread to follow through the history of our small planet. History and biography have never been this tasty!

  • Includes do it yourself historic Pandowdy recipe
  • Includes backmatter with brief bios of featured historic figures
Fountas & Pinnell Level W


“2–5—This charming and ambitious selection unites unlikely figures such as Babe Ruth, Queen Victoria, Cleopatra, and Neil Armstrong through the food they enjoyed. Each chapter consists of a spread made up of an amusing watercolor caricature and two blocks of text. Sixteen figures from different time periods are profiled in this slim volume. "Dining with da Vinci" and "A Napkin for Napoleon" are two examples of the alliterative chapter headings. Humor and historical information abound in this impressively researched work that contains substantial back matter for those still hungry for more facts, including even a pandowdy recipe. VERDICT Savor this approach to food history—it's a real treat!” — Gloria Koster, West School, New Canaan, CT, School Library Journal

A tempting tasting platter of foods and eating customs in diverse times and places...Along with observations that Cleopatra would have been served stork, that Napoleon was a messy eater, and like tidbits, readers will come away with some significant morsels of history, such as the role Columbus played in introducing avocados, corn, and beans to Europe and oranges, coffee, and sugar cane to North and South America. Along with a generous dollop of further reading (for adults), the final section dishes up more detail about each of the distinguished diners plus a timeline strewn with factual croutons from the publication of the first printed cookbook (1465) to the introduction of Lunchables. Not so much a history of food as history with food—a way of adding a bit of spice to general studies of the past.

” — Kirkus Reviews

“Here’s an upbeat look at 16 significant historical figures through a colorful thematic lens: food. Yes, they all ate, but each had a different diet depending on available ingredients, customs of their times, and personal needs and preferences. Readers will learn that Cleopatra regarded pickles as a beauty enhancer,that Lincoln was very fond of apples in pandowdy and other dishes, and that Gandhi used fasting as a means of protesting injustice and bringing about change. Each individual is presented on a double-page spread including a few paragraphs of biographical and food-related information as well as a small-print, first-person section written from the biographee’s point of view. About half the space is devoted to colorful and often humorous line-and-wash caricatures. The back matter includes a recipe for “A Nice Pandowdy.” Consider this book more of an appetizer or a side dish than a main course, as kids may sometimes lack the background knowledge to understand the historical context. An entertaining addition to history collections.” — Carolyn Phelan, Booklist

This book is about sixteen famous people and what they ate and how they ate. George Washington only had one tooth left by the time he was president. Babe Ruth ate a lot of hot dogs. Napoleon ate sloppily. Paul Revere ate lots of pudding. Hokusai ate a lot of rice. Neil Armstrong squirted water into food pouches when he was in space.

I don’t like Christopher Columbus. He enslaved people. He brought corn, avocados, and guavas to Europe.

Tasters in Europe made sure the foods he brought weren’t poison. (They must have had a lot of tasters.) In the back of the book, there is a timeline and more information about the famous people. There is a recipe in the book for pandowdy. Abe Lincoln liked pandowdy. It has apples.

I like the drawings. I learned a lot. I didn’t know Napoleon ate messily. I didn’t know who Moctezuma was. I didn’t know George Washington cracked walnuts open with his teeth. Cleopatra made her own lipstick by crushing ants and beetles. Queen Victoria’s underwear sold for $18,000 at an auction. (I wonder who bought it.) I’ll read this book again in the future.

” — Reviewed By: Nishaant - Age 8, Kid's Book Buzz

“...a thoroughly entertaining, informative, and down right delightful book ... Just like us, the great movers and shakers of history had to eat, and their favorite foods turn out to be a highly entertaining thread to follow through the history of our small planet. History and biography have never been this tasty! ... Especially appropriate for young readers ages 8 to 11, "Pass The Pandowdy, Please" is enthusiastically recommended for family, elementary school and community library collections.” — Diane Donovan, Editor, The Midwest Book Review

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