Cora Cooks Pancit

Some say that it’s never too early to read to your child–even
reading to an infant still in the womb is said to increase a baby’s
language skills. So when the fine folks at Shen’s Books sent me a review copy of one of their latest children’s books, I couldn’t wait to read it to my own new baby boy.

But the book I received was no ordinary
children’s book. It was a children’s book about Filipino culture and

Written by Dorina Lazo Gilmore and illustrated by Kristi Valliant, Cora Cooks Pancit is the story of a young Filipina girl who finally gets the chance to help her mother cook in the kitchen.

After Cora gets the OK from her mother to work in the kitchen, Cora then gets to decide what to cook.

After images of lumpia and adobo dance in Cora’s head, she finally decides that she wants to make pancit (Filipino noodles). And with her mother’s guidance, Cora helps to make a pancit dinner for the entire family.

Although I, myself, did grow up in a Filipino household, I didn’t necessarily
spend much of my youth in my mother’s kitchen. In fact, if a children’s
book were illustrated and based on my own childhood, 99% of the pictures
would involve me sitting in front of a TV, me and my brothers punching
each other in the face, and me sitting in front of a TV.

In fact, much of my TV watching consisted of the following:

Ah, Reading Rainbow. It’s a classic! I heart LeVar Burton!

I don’t think anything gets me more pumped up than the “Reading Rainbow” theme song. I feel like wrestling grizzly bears. But I digress.

Anyways, as most of you know by now, I kinda got a late start
to this whole Filipino food thing. I don’t blame this on my mother (not
entirely, at least), but perhaps raising three rowdy boys with a
penchant for bloody noses was counter-productive to a serious session
of lumpia-rolling in her kitchen.

Now, as a new parent myself, I can only hope that my little one will some day show a curiosity in the cultural dishes I prepare in our own kitchen. Luckily, his curiosity is getting a head start whenever I read him Cora Cooks Pancit.

Growing up as a Filipino American, I never came across a children’s book that specifically spoke to my heritage. And Cora Cooks Pancit does it all. Not only is Cora Cooks Pancit
wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated, but it encourages and
promotes Filipino heritage to such a young audience–something that was
terribly lacking when I was a kid. Heck, it even includes a Pancit recipe at the end of the book, good eats that I’m sure my youngster will appreciate once he starts eating solid foods.

I can’t read or cook yet, but I’ve got a gazillion Pogi points!

For more information on Cora Cooks Pancit, visit the Shen’s Books website here.

  • MzPCandii September 25, 2009, 5:25 pm

    Aww!!! He’s SO CUTE!!!

  • Gina September 26, 2009, 2:59 am

    If you liked this book, you might like a bilingual book (English/Tagalog)titled Lakas and the Manilatown Fish by Anthony Robles.

  • Vicky September 26, 2009, 5:31 am

    Your boy is beautiful! Thanks for letting us know about Cora Cooks Pancit. Now I know what to get my godkids for their birthdays!

  • Krizia September 26, 2009, 8:58 am

    So cool! I’m working on a Filipino children’s book too (not about cooking though). Maybe you’ll read it to him when I have it published??
    P.S. He definitely gets infinity pogi points!

  • Krista September 26, 2009, 10:43 am

    Thanks for the recommendation. My brother and I grew up in the Philippines – where pancit was certainly one of our favorite dishes. So I just purchased this book for his kids. Maybe he’ll make pancit for them.

  • caninecologne September 26, 2009, 3:29 pm

    hi marvin!
    baby lumpia is so cute!!!!!!
    i just got that book a few months ago at Eastwind Books in Berkeley (I collect Filipino American lit)…very cool that you featured it in this post.
    my favorite type of pancit is bihon – i’m not too fond of canton noodles, but i know some people like to make pancit with two types of noodles.
    re: Gina’s comment, there is another excellent book also by Tony Robles called “Lakas and the Makibaka Hotel”.the illustations are cool, it’s bilingual (English and Tagalog) and you also learn some Filipino American History.
    One last thing, you might want to check out this book for future reading with your son, “Willie Wins” by Almira Astudillo Gilles. It’s about baseball, the generation/cultural gap between a Filipino American boy and his dad.

  • _ts of [eatingclub] vancouver September 26, 2009, 9:16 pm

    Baby Lumpia looks so tall! =)

  • The Actors Diet September 27, 2009, 10:26 am

    very cool!

  • Mark Manguerra September 27, 2009, 10:19 pm

    Omigosh, Marvin, he looks JUST LIKE YOU. Straight-up binary fission, man. (okay, maybe budding, as he is smaller…) He is so cute!!
    I am sure he is in for a world of deliciousness… just as long as you can keep him peeled away from the television!

  • joey September 28, 2009, 7:30 am

    Such a cutie!!! Oh you must be so proud! I can see you in him! Aaaaw!
    I’m going to look for this book here…sounds like a great book for kids!

  • Heather September 28, 2009, 8:22 am

    He is just absolutely adorable! So happy to finally see a picture. And he looks so long!

  • bagito September 28, 2009, 11:31 am

    Aww, what a cutie!

  • Dee September 29, 2009, 12:38 pm

    Pogi, indeed! I also love his outfit!
    I’m gonna get this book for my boys, who will hopefully become better cooks than their mama (baking’s more my forte).
    @Gina and caninecologne – thanks for the book recommendations as well!

  • Dorina Lazo Gilmore September 29, 2009, 4:24 pm

    Thanks for reviewing CORA COOKS PANCIT. This book was written for kids like yours to help celebrate Filipino culture & pass down the recipes. Salamat Po!

  • emilie September 30, 2009, 12:39 pm

    i would just like to say what a delight it is to read your blog. and you have such great food ideas and now Cora Cooks Pancit. What a great book for my kids.thank you for sharing your world.
    btw, baby lumpia is so adorable :)

  • Olive October 1, 2009, 9:03 am

    hello! :)
    your baby is so cute, where did he get his pogi points?

  • Burnt Lumpia October 2, 2009, 9:48 am

    Thanks MzPCandii.
    Thanks for the recommendation, Gina! I’ll definitely look into finding that book!
    Thanks Vicky. I’m sure your godkids will love the book.
    Hey Krizia! So awesome that you’re writing a children’s book. I’ll definitely read it to my kid when you get it published. You should look into Shen’s, since they specialize in Asian-Am children’s books.
    I’m glad you purchased the book, Krista. Your brother’s kids will definitely enjoy it, as well as the pancit recipe.
    Hey caninecologne! Very cool that you collect Fil-Am lit. And thanks so much for more great book recommendations.
    Thanks ts! Yes, he’s getting even taller!
    Thanks actors diet.
    Hey there good Doctor Mark. I have no idea what this fission is you speak of, though I suspect it’s something sciency. And I don’t know how easy it will be to keep him away from TV, considering I spend so much time in front of it myself.
    Thanks joey! We are very very proud!
    Thanks Heather. He’s growing every day!
    Thanks bagito.
    Thanks so much, Dee. His mother loves the outfit as well.
    Thanks so much for leaving a comment, Dorina. You’ve written a great book for all of us!
    Hi emilie. Thanks for the kind words.
    Hi Olive. I’d say he gets his pogi points from both parents;)

  • Wandering Chopsticks October 7, 2009, 9:10 am

    Awww, little lumpia is soooo cuuuute! Congrats again to you and the missus.
    And congrats again for the Foodbuzz award. You’re the funniest blogger I know. Heck, it was your humor that got me reading about Filipino food in the first place.

  • rita October 17, 2009, 4:46 pm

    baby lumpia is precious! congrats!

  • Nastassia December 25, 2009, 9:54 am

    your boy is so cute! thanks to your blog, Reade got me Cora Cooks Pancit for Christmas =) after I read this post I kept talking about how I wanted to childrens book for myself and low and behold someone was listening so thanks!


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