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Randolph County Herald Tribune - Chester, IL
  • Jennifer Davis: A tea party fit for a princess

  • Like Alice, I’m very fond of tea, but the thought of all the work to throw a proper tea party makes me as crazy as the Mad Hatter. Luckily for my 5-year-old daughter, there are people like Barbara Beery. The mother of two now-grown girls, Beery has tapped into our innate desire for pink, frilly food with her “Pink Princess” series of cookbooks.

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  • Like Alice, I’m very fond of tea, but the thought of all the work to throw a proper tea party makes me as crazy as the Mad Hatter.
    Luckily for my 5-year-old daughter, there are people like Barbara Beery. The mother of two now-grown girls, Beery has tapped into our innate desire for pink, frilly food with her “Pink Princess” series of cookbooks.
    “It’s that Disney-kind of fairy tale. We always want those whimsical treats,” says Beery of Austin, Texas, who has written several kids’ cookbooks and founded the Batter Up Kids Culinary Center nearly two decades ago.
    Beery knows how to appeal to the little-girl princess in every woman because every female co-worker who saw this cookbook on my desk couldn’t help but pick it up and “Ooo,” and “Ahh.”
    “Tea parties are ageless. You can be 3 or 93,” says Beery. “There’s something so magical about them. They are so genteel.”
    The pictures are beautiful — fluffy pastel frosting and sprinkles; dainty scones dripping with rich raspberry jam; fizzy, frothy drinks and the most perfect little ladybug cookies you ever saw. But the best thing is that the recipes are easy. Really easy. Many of them use cake mixes, prepared frosting and ready-made puff pastry.
    Beery says she strives for easy because she knows that parents — who, let’s face it, are doing the cooking — don’t have the time these days for difficult delicacies.
    “It’s getting the child and parent together (to cook),” says Beery, adding that many of her recipes are inspired by children who take her classes.
    Beery’s personal favorite: the teacup cupcakes. “It’s such a novelty.”
    Though the cookbook is predominantly sweets — the best part of any tea party — there are a few savory nibbles, such as rainbow-colored (deviled) eggs; mini ham star-shaped sandwiches and chicken salad sushi rolls.
    “I feel there should be no ‘bad’ and no ‘good’ foods for children. It’s all about balance and portion control. I’m a big one for limiting portions,” says Beery.
    Jennifer Davis can be reached at jdavis@pjstar.com.

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