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It certainly is true that you cannot judge a book by the cover, and Cute Yummy Time: 70 Recipes for the Cutest Food You’ll Ever Eat by La Carmina is no exception. Penguin Publishing sent me a copy of the book, and I had been expecting a book of fun ideas for bentos and the like.  The book is actually like three books in one, as well as being extremely creative and inventive.  It certainly has cute foods, but it is much more than that.  It is also a storybook and an excellent whole foods cookbook as well.   La Carmina only uses whole foods (no candy or junk here), like whole wheat pastry flour for her rolls, brown rice and lots of fruits and veggies, as well as alternative sweeteners.

The book starts with La Carmina and her adorable flat eared cat (that’s what my daughter calls him), Basil. They end up travelling to Kawaii Land where they meet all kinds of fun friends. Each recipe correlates with the characters they meet and tells a little more about the story. For example they meet some field mice, then their story is accompanied by a recipe for healthy tuna sandwich wraps. There’s recipes for other cuties like flop eared dogs made of apples and nuts, gingerbread penguins and beautiful coconut panna cotta birds, and many more, more than 70 recipes!

If you want to see La Carmina making Piggy Bread, you can watch her here.   She suggests filling the piggy bread with things like spinach, tomatoes, cheese or salami, to make a heartier sandwich. I like the idea of using bread dough to make cute little critters as a fun and easy addition to bentos or lunches.