Mission:Explore Food is an activity cookbook that challenges children to go cannibal, cook in acid, make chocolate poos (including nuts and sweetcorn), ask the Queen for a swan and work out the best way to slaughter a lamb. Mission:Explore Food has been created to tantalise children’s taste for adventure and tests their understanding not only of where their food is from, but also of where it goes once they’ve finished eating.
The book has been written collaboratively by a team of geography teachers, artists, therapists and explorers, they call their approach the ‘guerilla approach’ and the thinking behind the book is the belief that it’s really important that children have a good relationship with food, a big part of this is knowing how to pick, cook and eat food in a healthy way and also understanding where food comes from.
“A children’s book that asks them to question if the pig they are eating has ever seen the light of day, make scary soup and keep a poo diary might sound controversial, but it’s vitally important that children think about their relationship with food and have fun while doing it.
We all appreciate that children should know how to cook and eat well, but these are just two chapters in the story of our food. Unlike most children’s cookbooks that ignore the rest of the food cycle, Mission:Explore Food includes activities that encourage children to learn about growing, harvesting, waste and soil as well. An essential ingredient is appreciating that their/our choices effect people and places around the world too.” explains Daniel Raven-Ellison, one of the authors.
Mission: Explore Food is filled with recipes and activities to try in and outside the kitchen developed not by famous chefs and cooks, but guerrilla geographers who are on a mission to encourage children to explore their local area, forage for food and play outdoors.
Illustrated by award-winning artist Tom Morgan- Jones, each page includes a quirky mission to complete. Children who complete missions from the book can visit the Mission:Explore website www.missionexplore.net to be rewarded with points and badges for their efforts.
Mission:Explore won the National Trust Outdoor Book of the Year award in 2012 and was runner-up for the Society of Authors Education Writer of the Year 2012. The series has also won accolades from Pink Stinks for its balanced portrayal of boys and girls from different backgrounds.
The Mission:Explore team are going on an expedition around the UK over the coming year, starting in autumn 2012. They will be touring in their Explorer Spaceship HQ (van) visiting schools, libraries, food festivals and more to complete missions and share a series of explorations from the book.
I’ve flicked through the book and I can see immediately how appealing it would be to children aged 8+. children who love to explore and want to be excited by the words they read, inspired and have a thirst for knowledge. I also think it’s perfect for both girls and boys as nothing leads this book to be placed in a male/female category.
Our school is holding a Harvest Festival on 11th October, children’s book week starts onOctober 1st and World Food Day on October 16th. So it seems very timely to bring this to your attention, although a little too old for my girls I’m putting it away for somebody’s (who shan’t be mentioned) Christmas present. Available on Amazon for for £17.99, or iBooks for £1.49
Or for taster chapters check out TES and the Guardian
Disclosure – I was sent this book to review and it’s good, kids will love it and hopefully love food even more