Kids tend to progress rapidly from attempting to eat everything they can get their hands on (as well as their hands) to refusing to taste the delicious meal of actual food you slaved all day to prepare. Rarely, in either case, do they ever stop to ask the one question that would vastly improve their decision-making (as well as their palette): “Can I eat that?”
That question is also the title of a new book from food critic Joshua David Stein and illustrator Julia Rothman that encourages picky eaters and junior foodies alike to play with their food and their words. Stein explores the titular question through rhymes, puns, soundalikes, and general wordplay that ends up explaining, for example, whether you can eat a tomato (yes), a potato (yup), tonnato sauce from Italy (sure can), or a tornado (feel free to try, but probably won’t end well). It should come as no surprise that he initially wrote the book for his own 3-year-old son.
Can I Eat That? also gets into other culinary deep thoughts that could somehow pass for both the hilarious questions of a toddler and Punderdome-worthy dad jokes. For instance, “If there is … bacon, is there … bacoff?” And your kid will finally learn that chicken fingers have as little to do with fingers as eggs do with eggplants.
There’s just enough dad humor, legitimate culinary exploration, tasty looking food illustration, and discussion-prompting facts that you and your kid might get into some serious late-night snacking after adding Can I Eat That? to the bedtime routine. Just don’t ask your partner. As long as you’re rocking the DadBod, the answer’s always, “No.”