The Greatest Potatoes

The Greatest Potatoes

by Penelope Stowell, Sharon Watts
     
 

Feast your eyes on the world's most delectable disaster! George Crum is the very best fry cook at Cary Moon's Lake Lodge Restaurant. When Cornelius Vanderbilt, the richest and most rancorous man in America, returns from France, everyone panics. Vanderbilt has been known to shut down restaurants that aren't up to his culinary standards. But George Crum isn't moved,… See more details below

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Overview

Feast your eyes on the world's most delectable disaster! George Crum is the very best fry cook at Cary Moon's Lake Lodge Restaurant. When Cornelius Vanderbilt, the richest and most rancorous man in America, returns from France, everyone panics. Vanderbilt has been known to shut down restaurants that aren't up to his culinary standards. But George Crum isn't moved, until . . . Vanderbilt repeatedly sends his potatoes back to the kitchen. And George decides that if Vanderbilt wants a bad potato, well, that's exactly what he's going to get! The result is the tastiest, most scrumptious, potato haute cuisine ever invented and an especially riotous picture book for tout le monde.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Stowell's slightly undercooked debut, based on the true story of a creative chef, tells how potato chips came to be. The story involves "finicky and fussy Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt" and his 1850s "mission to find the greatest potato dish ever!" The self-styled potato critic trashes everything he eats, and international restaurateurs (represented by dubious Chinese, Indian, Italian and French stereotypes) shutter their caf s after his scathing reviews. When he arrives at Moon's Lake House Restaurant in Saratoga, N.Y., "only the fry cook, George Crum" dares to serve him. Crum dishes up towers of fries and hash browns, but Vanderbilt pooh-poohs everything. "If that persnickety old commodore wants a bad potato... that's exactly what he's going to get!" Crum mutters as he slices tubers "paper-thin," deep-fries them and salts them heavily. To Crum's amazement, the imperious commodore demands "More! On the double!" Watts (Emily Goes Wild) illustrates this Iron Chef precursor in ribbony ink lines and fashion-magazine whooshes of watercolor, la Chesley McLaren and Steven Salerno. Stowell's afterword explains that the real Crum, the son of a freed slave and a Huron Nation woman, thought he was playing "a practical joke" on a grumpy customer when he created the profitable snack. This version of events implies that the vengeful cook lacks his client's good taste Crum's invention is portrayed as a lucky mistake--but the book's saving grace is a nice recipe for home-cooked potato chips. Ages 4-7. (June) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-In this colorful tale, fry cook George Crum invents the potato chip after a complaining customer, millionaire Cornelius Vanderbilt, sends his plate of french fries back to the kitchen in disgust. According to an author's note, George Crum, descendant of an African-American father and a Native American mother, created this thin, crispy fried potato snack at Moon's Lake House Restaurant in Saratoga Springs, NY. Attractive watercolor illustrations, emphasizing greens and blues and curlicue designs, bring whimsy to the tale. Potato dishes are designed to look like the American flag or the Eiffel Tower, but none pleases the irascible Vanderbilt. An appended potato-chip recipe separates instructions for children from those tasks for adults. This unique offering about a favorite snack food will be a memorable addition for picture-book sections.-Blair Christolon, Prince William Public Library System, Manassas, VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Like baseball, the origin of potato chips is shrouded in folkloric mists-but Stowell retells the most common version, which involves a culinary dustup between snooty potato connoisseur (and tycoon) Cornelius Vanderbilt and an ill-tempered cook named George Crum at a Saratoga, NY resort. After the Commodore repeatedly sends plates of fried potatoes back-"Too thick! That fare is foul!"-an irritated Crum decides to serve the worst spud prepared in the most unappetizing way he can manage: thinly sliced, burnt to a crisp and loaded with salt. Of course, Vanderbilt "couldn't eat just one," and so a legend was born. Watts illustrates the incident with sketchy watercolor scenes composed of elegantly swooping lines and comically stylized figures. Stowell closes with a historical summation noting Crum's African-American ancestry, plus the requisite recipe. Rare is the reader who won't want to Lay this Wise tale aside temporarily for a greasy, salty snack-food fix. (bibliography) (Picture book. 6-9)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786851133
Publisher:
Disney-Hyperion
Publication date:
06/29/2005
Pages:
36
Product dimensions:
10.25(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.37(d)
Age Range:
4 - 7 Years

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