Keep the Buttered Side Up

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Keep the Buttered Side Up: Food Superstition From Around the World by Kathlyn Gay

Keep the Buttered Side Up by Kathlyn GayStars: ***

Walker Publishing Company AND Thomas Allen & Sons (1995)
Children’s Nonfiction – Food/Folklore
102 pages

Summary: Keep the Buttered Side Up is packed with morsels of information about multicultural food customs, beliefs and superstitions, their origins, and carryover practices found today. Stuffed with delightful illustrations, this is a veritable feast of food trivia.

Keep the Buttered Side Up

I picked this book up at a library book sale. I love children’s nonfiction.  I’ve always found food fascinating too so I thought this would be good. It wasn’t as good as I thought it would be (hence the 3 stars instead of 5) but it was still interesting.

A Few Things I Learned:

  • Americans consume enough pizza bread every day to fill ninety acres or 68 football fields!
  • In the middle ages, it was considered bad luck to give the crust of bread to a stranger.
  • In the past, it was common for people to place bread on a dead person’s coffin, then eat the bread as a way to consume the person’s “sin” (no thanks!)
  • Folk wisdom from Hawaii says that a watermelon rolled out the front door of a deceased person’s home helps that person’s spirit reach heaven.
  • After boiling potatoes with their skins on, you can place them on your feet to relieve a cold in the head, so it’s said.
  • Cow’s milk is not the only source for yogurt. Milk from camels, goats, ewes, mares, water buffalo, yaks and other animals can be clabbered, or curdled, by bacteria to make a fermented diary product.
  • Some people believe that crabs bring bad luck, but the Japanese consider crabs magical sea creatures.

The book is full of tidbits like this. There are folk stories, superstitions and modern facts mixed in. The book also has illustrations by Debbie Palen which are really cute and make the book more interesting.  I think it would be wonderful if an updated version of this book was printed and if the book was made full colour like most children’s nonfiction today.

About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.