In this coming-of-age story, our young protagonist is told to bring along her sister this year. She is not happy. But soon she sees that canning tomatoes with Grandma is a step-by-step process, just like learning to share with your little sister.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Reedsy Discovery. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.
Most grandchildren share a similar memory of working alongside a grandparent in the kitchen. In Grandma’s Kitchen by Tricia Gardella, Grandma’s oldest granddaughter had been quite the helper during past canning seasons, but now it’s time to include her little sister, Monica. The older sister is reluctant to have Monica join them. She believes her baby sister is too little. Oh boy, Monica proved her older sister wrong!
Through beautiful illustrations, we watch the two young girls and their grandmother pick a few buckets of tomatoes from the garden. We watch them separate them into two piles and learn the reasoning behind the step. After the sorting, it’s time to prepare the tomatoes for their new home: glass jars. You can expect to get a little messy whether you are canning tomatoes whole or making jars of tomato sauce. My advice, goggles! I’m sure Monica will ask for a pair before next year’s canning season. While the process is messy and hard work, it can be loads of fun too. For instance, my kids find turning the crank fun and love watching the crushed tomatoes ooze out at the end. The sisters in the educational picture book did as well!
Grandma makes the whole process an exciting event. She is calm and patient with them, allows them to taste the fruit of their labor (tomato juice), and even finds the energy to dance a jig. Wow, their grandmother has more energy than me.
The fabulous thing about canning is that you don’t need a humungous kitchen. All you need is a garden item(s) to can (purchase or grow your own), cans (glass jars), and a few kitchen staples, such as pots, strainers, and pantry items. Grandma’s are optional, but an adult is necessary due to potential hazards to little hands: hot stove and boiling water.
With grandma’s guidance, children will learn how to can tomatoes: picking, sorting, seasoning, cooking the fruit, washing, and storing the cans. This book will encourage children to try canning fruit and other items.
I recommend this story to 4 years of age and older.
Heart Rating System:
1 (lowest) and 5 (highest)
Tricia’s books are influenced by ranch, animals and family life. She has tried it all, and almost mastered some: canning, cooking, knitting, fiber arts, rug-making, gardening. She has a BA in Ancient History and lots of grand children, giving her much food for thought. She lives in California.