Were you to judge a book by its title, Chicken Makes the Ice Cream Taste Better would prove irresistible. And it should; the collection of stories by 6th and 7th graders from P.S. 7 in Harlem (with a lovely introduction by chef Marcus Samuelsson) is, simply put, a delight to read. Culling inspiration from their work with the wonderful Edible Schoolyard NYC program (the organization has helped them turn their outdoor courtyard into a sprawling garden), the students spent six weeks attending weekly sessions with volunteers from 826NYC (the non-profit that published the book) who guided them in the crafting of their food memories into stories. The resulting tales delve into the endless joys of pernil on Thanksgiving (Deonee Butler, age 12) and a chicken soup so delicious that it inspires furtive midnight snack attacks (Justin Acosta, age 11); grandma’s spicy sancocho (Nayeli Estremera, age 12) or mom’s legendary candied yams (Elier Sanchez, age 12) or chimis courtesy of cousin Joe (Sheccid Disla, age 12); the experience of eating with a hammer (Brian Steele, age 12) and the very first taste of French fries (Jaylin Wood, age 11). And, of course, the story (“I Screamed” by 12-year-old Tommy Garcia) that inspired the book’s title about questionable experiments in homemade ice cream: “I put everything I could think of in the bowl then I put it in the freezer. I said, ‘the chicken will make the ice cream taste better.'”
To buy a copy go to the 826NYC website here.