Young Cora is tired of just licking the spoons and not being able to really help in the kitchen. One day when her four older siblings are all out of the house, Cora sees her chance to make something special with her mother, just them two. She dons on the magical red apron that once belonged to her Lolo, her grandfather, a Filipino American pioneer who cooked for the Filipino farmworkers decades ago, who not only fed the workers’ tummies with but filled their hearts and memories with stories about their native Philippines. Together, Mama and Cora create a toothsome Filipino meal, complete with a huge bowl of perfect pancit [rice noodles with vegetables and chicken] that tastes just like Lolo’s, the best compliment of all.
Gilmore, who grew up in a Filipino Italian kitchen, tells a heartwarming tale that illustrator Valiant captures with the perfect combination of whimsy and action. You can actually feel Cora’s longing as she watches her siblings in the kitchen, her wonder as she listens to Mama’s stories about Lolo, her worry that her pancit might disappoint, and her beaming pride when the whole family enjoys the meal she so lovingly helped to create. This is one treasure of a family book. Delicious, too!