Monday, July 12, 2010

The Very Hungry Caterpillar - Hungry Caterpillar Fruit Salad

"On Monday he ate through one apple. But he was still hungry."        - The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle

Is there a parent or teacher on the planet who isn't familiar with Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar? We've had our well-loved (board book) copy since my older son's first birthday and it's still a book my four and seven year olds occasionally enjoy. The great thing about it is that it can enjoyed on various levels. For babies and toddlers it's a good introduction to colors, counting, and the names of fruits. With older children it can be used to spark conversation about the caterpillar/butterfly lifecycle. Its unique design also appeals to kids. I remember being absolutely fascinated by this book as a child--there was always a long waitlist for Eric Carle books at my elementary school's library.

Do I even need to bother with a summary for this book? In short, the newborn caterpillar hatches from his egg and spends a week eating various foods before spinning his cocoon and eventually emerging as a "beautiful butterfly." It's illustrated in Carle's trademark style and the pages with the fruits he eats are staggered in size with die cut holes in the fruits to represent the caterpillar's bites.

The board book version we have is especially sturdy and has held up to years of use.

Our recipe for this week is simple and comes straight from the book: Hungry Caterpillar Fruit Salad. It uses as its ingredients the very foods the titular caterpillar ate during the week before building his cocoon. My kids and I enjoy making fruit salad in the summer; there is such an abundance of great, fresh, summery fruit. This was a perfect "cooking" project and snack for a summer day.

Hungry Caterpillar Fruit Salad

In addition to the fruits mentioned in the book, I like my fruit salad to include bananas, blueberries, cherries and whatever else happens to be in season (never any melon though). However, I wanted to stick as close to the amounts in the story as possible. I made an exception for the orange. Five oranges? That's a lot of oranges. Might have been doable if clementines were in season but they're not. Thus, one really large orange as a stand in for the five mini oranges. Were I making this in the winter (but then, strawberries and plums would be out of season) I would use five clementines.


  • 1 apple
  • 2 pears
  • 3 plums
  • 4 strawberries
  • 5 oranges (5 clementines, or 1 large orange)

1. Wash fruit. 

2. Peel, slice and/or cut fruit as necessary. I cut everything into bitesized chunks. My seven year old helped with the strawberries.

3. Place sliced fruit in bowl and toss to mix. I added a splash of lemon juice to prevent browning.

I served this with lunch; it would also make a good dessert. Or breakfast, if paired with yogurt.

Eric Carle has a great website with his bio, lists of his books, FAQs, games, coloring sheets and more. There are even instructions on how to make a collage in his signature style. His blog can be found here.

Disclosure: As an Amazon affiliate, I earn a small commission from Amazon purchases made through the links and search tool on this site.


Mary Ann Dames said...

Isn't it fun to create a recipe based on a book! Next week on my blog your boys might want to check out Recipe Wednesday for the Up, Down, and Around Salad based on the book by Katherine Ayers.

sandhya said...

Eric Carle rocks! And 'The very hungry caterpillar' has been used by me in another way. A eats like a sparrow, and I would often worry that she did not eat enough. We have this book since she was one, and I would point out to the large amount that the caterpillar ate. She would be fascinated with it turning into a butterfly, and would readily eat more, just as it did. On days when she was hungry home from school, she would say,'today I think I want to eat like that caterpillar'. Your post has made me remember all that. Thanks.
And LOL! The word for verification that has come up is co-incidentally 'hogin'!

Katie Fries said...

That's a great idea, Sandhya! I have a friend who talks about "growing foods" with he daughter--sounds like this book fits in well with that concept. Glad this post brought back some fun memories for you.

calliefeyen said...

Hi Katie!
Thanks for the kind words about my blog! I think yours is adorable! What a great idea to pair books with recipes! Can I put this blog on my blogroll? And yes, feel free to link to my blog as well. I think I'll be making a fruit salad for breakfast while we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar! Nice to meet you! :)

Katie Fries said...

Callie, no problem! Link away! Thank you! Hope your fruit salad was delicious.