ZeMarvelous Miraculous Magic of Dr. Seuss

Scrambled Eggs & Blueberry Bumplings!

Like a lot of humans, zebras begin to discover the pleasures of reading and cooking when we’re very young.

And even before we have close encounters with books and words and kitchens and ingredients, we’ve explored deep within that special place where both reading and cooking come from.

It’s a magical world called Imagination.

Cat-in-the-Hat Witch Pumpkin

One human who knew everything there is to know about magic and imagination was the legendary Dr. Seuss.

Reading any book is pure magic – and reading a Dr. Seuss book is marvelous, miraculous Mega-Magic.

Just think of this: Dr. Seuss used his imagination to write stories, creating wondrous, whimsical worlds where absolutely anything can happen – and actually does.

When you read a Dr. Seuss book, your eyes look at letters on a page and your brain changes all those squiggly lines into words and sentences and ideas.

Dr. Seuss On the Loose with Zebras
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ZePerfect Mardi Gras Celebration

ZeBot New Orleans Mardi Gras

If there’s one thing zebras love, it’s a celebration!

And when it’s Mardi Gras, which is all about local traditions, food, family and friends–well, that makes us so happy that our stripes start to turn colors.

Purple, green and gold, to be exact.
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Healthy Snacks for ZeBest of Friends

Miles & ZeBotOne of the most wonderful things about great food is that it’s so much fun to share with friends.

I’ve noticed that a love for cooking and eating together seems to be true across lots of different species, including zebras, dogs and humans.

One of my best friends is a super cool dog named Miles (which perfectly describes how far he can run—especially when he’s chasing a coyote).

Miles and I have lots in common, but a love for fun food is one of ZeStrongest.

Miles Having A Ball

In fact, Miles loves food so much that he occasionally tries to eat me (I realize I’m a bedraggled little zebra who looks a bit like a dog toy—but food, really?).

Miles & Shredded Doggy

Miles and I figured this issue could cause problems in our friendship, so we decided that real friends know how to compromise.

So here’s our compromise: I agree to help Miles whip up yummy, healthy snacks—and he agrees not to eat me.

Zebra-Canine Detente

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ZeMystery of ZeShoe Pastry

ZeBot and the Shoe Pastries

When my friend Holly told me she was writing a book about Shoe Pastry, I was totally intrigued.

“What kind of shoes would make the best pastry?” I wondered. “And wouldn’t putting shoes in your mouth instead of wearing them on your feet (or in my case, hooves) make you kind of—well, sick?”

How the heck am I going to mix these ingredients?

How the heck am I going to mix these ingredients?

Since I am a zebra who is supposed to know at least a little about human food by now, I didn’t want to ask those questions right away. After all, Holly Herrick is a famous cookbook author.

Instead, I had a great idea!I have another friend named Holly, who happens to be a super-smart Golden Retriever—and spends a lot of time in the kitchen.

I asked her about Shoe Pastry. Holly the Golden Retriever said she’d never tried it, but she’d eaten lots of shoes (including some pretty expensive ones) and they were very tasty.

Meet Holly -- a Golden Retriever with great taste in shoes!

Meet Holly — a Golden Retriever with great taste in shoes!

Still, I wasn’t sure—it just didn’t seem like you could (or even should) turn a shoe into a pastry.

So I had an even better idea: I asked Holly the Famous Cookbook Author if I could interview her about shoe pastry. That way, it would make sense to ask lots of questions (even really silly ones)—so that’s what I did!

Fortunately, right before I interviewed Holly, my friend ZoeBot (who’s super-brainy) suggested we try looking up “choux pastry” (which is French and sounds just like “shoe pastry”).

Shoe Pastry = Choux Pastry (And guess what: they do kind of look like cabbages, but they DON'T taste like them!)

Shoe Pastry = Choux Pastry
(Even though these pastries kind of look like cabbages, they DON’T taste like them!)

Guess what? She was right! It turns out that choux pastry gets its name from the French word for cabbage (choux), which is what the pastry sort of looks like when it’s baked.

Unlike most pastries, choux pastry is made using its own special technique. You start by mixing flour, butter and boiling water, then beating in eggs until you get a sticky, paste-like dough.

When you bake it, the oven’s heat turns the water into steam that puffs the dough into hollow golden pastries that taste AMAZING!

Want to see how it’s done (with hooves)? Watch this video!

Well, now that I knew a little more about the whole mysterious matter, I was ready to interview Holly Herrick, whose brilliant new book is called  “The French Cook: Cream Puffs & Eclairs.”

I'm not really in Holly's super-cool book -- but a zebra can always dream!

I’m not really in Holly’s super-cool book — but a zebra can always dream!

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ZeFamily Legacy of Brioche Pasquier

ZeBot & ZoeBot Have Breakfast at Brioche Pasquier“When someone shares a special family recipe with you, you become part of their family.”

That’s what my friend Hugues Pasquier told me when we shared a breakfast made with the brioche his family has been baking from the same recipe since 1936.

It was true: as my cousin ZoeBot and I savored each buttery golden bite, we felt the Pasquier family’s culinary heritage deep in our stripes.

If you’re an average American kid (or zebra), you may not have ever tried brioche. But in France, kids (and a few lucky zebras) have been eating brioche their whole lives.

Brioche (pronounced bree-oshe) is a French bakery specialty that looks and tastes like a magical cross between a bread and a cake.

Brioche by Chardin, 1763

Food historians say that’s it been a tradition since medieval times, with the recipe becoming richer with butter and eggs as the centuries passed.

Hugues told us that his grandfather Gabriel Pasquier was legendary for the brioche he crafted at his bakery in the tiny village of Les Cerqueux in France’s Loire River Valley.

Gabriel's Bakery

Gabriel’s recipe was unique because he always used two very special ingredients.

One was the family’s own levain, which is a natural sourdough starter that makes brioche (and other baked goods) rise. A starter works pretty much the same way modern yeast does, but it’s an older and more traditional way to leaven baked goods. Continue reading

Grace Young & ZeYear of the Zebra

ZeYear of the Zebra

According to an old zebra saying,  friends can make your day—but my friend Grace just made my whole year!

It happened while we were talking about the Chinese New Year—a magical holiday time that falls between mid-January and late-February on the Western (solar) calendar.

Grace with the Ultimate Wok & a Zebra!

Meet Grace, “Poet Laureate of the Wok, Stir-Fry Guru & Wok Evangelist”!


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DIY Kids in ZeKitchen

3 Zebras + 2 Kids

When I first started thinking about cooking, I wondered if a zebra would really be able do it. I mean, having four hooves with no opposable thumbs definitely has its challenges, so I was feeling a tiny bit discouraged.

But then a wise kid named Max told me this, “Just because you’re not cooking now doesn’t mean you CAN’T – it only means you don’t know how yet. After you learn, you can do it yourself. As in: DIY, zebra dude!”

Max Slices Fruit

I realized he was absolutely right! If you want to do something, you just need to learn how to do it – and then you need to actually do it.

At our IACP Kids-in-the-Kitchen event at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, that’s exactly what we did!
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ZeAmazing DIY Cracker Caper

ZeBot @ CUESA

Have you ever noticed that food tastes better than ever when you make it yourself? I learned this from some really savvy 5th graders the other day, when I was invited to a supercool DIY class with CUESA’s Foodwise Kids at the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market in San Francisco.

Our kitchen mission: learn to make our own fresh-baked crackers with seasonal market toppings. I was kind of worried about attempting all this with four clumsy hooves, but the kids told me that if they could DIY, then I could DIZ (which means: “Do It, Zebra!).

Sound like fun? If you can’t wait for a taste, you can watch our movie starring the super-chefs at Longfellow Elementary School right NOW!

And now, back to ZeBlog!
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