The first page is inscribed in a familiar hand: “To Bonnie. with Love. Christmas 1969. from Great Grandma Mitchelmore.”
The Pooh Cook Book delighted me as a child. It was my second cook book and received on my eighth Christmas from Ada, an old school cook who was known far a wide for her raisin pie. Born in 1883, she lived to 101 and her sweet tooth was frequently satisfied. Now we all know that Pooh also satisfied his sweet tooth (much to the dismay of Rabbit), has lived long and is also well loved.
Four years prior to the publication of The Pooh Cook Book, I devoured Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner. Virginia H. Ellison sensed that a cook book inspired by Winnie-the-Pooh was just the thing to acquaint young readers with the kitchen. The first edition is illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard’s original drawings, and the colored drawing on the cover must have been created especially for this book. The recipes range in level of difficulty from the simple Marmalade on a Honeycomb to the complex Cherry Pie. Both sweet and savory recipes were developed, each with a passage of Winnie-the-Pooh in mind.
Poohanpiglet Pancakes became one of the first recipes I could execute for my family without assistance. Mom’s electric griddle sat on a low table in the kitchen where it was easy to reach without a stool, unlike the stove. (Some wonder if I still need a stool for the stove.) I remember insisting on serving the light and fluffy pancakes with honey as suggested in the recipe. Pooh would prefer that over the traditional maple syrup. Today, this recipe still stands up and Tom and I happily gobbled them up on a recent wintry Sunday morning.
No longer do I put out whatever honey happens to be available. Instead I make sure to have on hand Chicago Honey Co-op honey, which is made in Chicago from bees at a west side apiary. This honey is so good I proudly take it as gifts when I travel, to Paris even, where cousin Chuck wantonly consumes it. I am certain Pooh would as well.
Soon after receiving The Pooh Cook Book, I asked Mom if we could make Cottlestone Pie. My sister Ginger and I would twirl around the kitchen chanting the song Pooh sang to Eeyore on his birthday, reprinted on that page in the cook book. We were delighted to find it was an actual pie we could make at home. Cottlestone Pie is a simple quiche recipe with ham, but Mom had to help until I could get the hang of making pie crust myself. Ginger and I would scatter the ham in the bottom of the crust and pour in the eggs and cream. It made a great meal for our family of four – and good way to use leftover ham—years before real men decided not to eat quiche. When I made the recipe recently, I served it with steamed spinach and roasted tomatoes.
A friend recently pointed out to me that a number of children’s books lend themselves to cook books. Anything that will get kids into the kitchen early cooking for their families. Someday they will need these skills. Who better to inspire them than a bear who loves to eat?
Recipes and Resources
- Poohanpiglet Pancakes, The Pooh Cook Book, inspired by Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne, by Virginia H. Ellison (copyright 1969 by Daphne Dorothy Milne and Spencer Curtis Brown, E. P. Dutton & Co.). p. 20
- Cottlestone Pie, The Pooh Cook Book, inspired by Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner by A. A. Milne, by Virginia H. Ellison (copyright 1969 by Daphne Dorothy Milne and Spencer Curtis Brown, E. P. Dutton & Co.). p. 70
- Dutton published a new 2010 edition which can be found easily.
- Chicago Honey Co-op