I was first inspired to write “Enchanted Thyme – Book One in the Delicious Adventure Series” by the thought of what fun it would be to bring together two of my greatest passions; the world of fairy tales and the world of cooking. In addition, with over 20 years as a professional interactive storyteller, I had gained a unique “hands-on” insight into what “makes kids tick.” We all know that they’re eager to go on adventures. I discovered that they love quirky nonsequiturs. And I was pleased to learn that they are not only fully equipped to handle multiple realities, but that they enjoy the challenge. This intrigued me. I remember as a kid being delighted by Fractured Fairy Tales and Warner Brothers Cartoons. I watched these shows with my great grandfather and he laughed as hard as I did. So I set out to write a series of books that I hoped parents would enjoy as much as their kids.
I envisioned it as a culinary fantasy. As I fleshed out my concept I also spent a lot of time researching and talking to families. I was further encouraged as I discovered studies supporting my theory that people retain information better when it’s contained within a story. It’s also a lot more fun.
At the same time, I was disturbed by statistics that were showing a dramatic rise in childhood obesity and the growing number of studies illustrating the devastating impact that this will have on future generations. This strengthened my decision to create a world full of fun characters and exciting situations that would promote healthy attitudes toward food. But it would have to be “kid’s style,” through a rollicking good adventure story. I knew the message had to be subliminal, so I deliberately avoided the word “healthy.” I also envisioned a series that would bring the family unit together. That was when everything fell into place and ENCHANTED THYME was born. A fairy tale adventure…with recipes!
I called on my long time friend, Michael Wilson, a New York Times top rated chef, to create the 15 original recipes that would appear between chapters. The recipes had to be fun, delicious and of course healthy. His creations had to pass muster with his three most discerning critics; nieces and nephew Jordyn, Jara & Jake.
Since the book’s launch in September of 2008, the Enchanted Thyme interactive storytelling shows and culinary workshops have been featured in many places including the FoodNetwork’s New York City Wine and Food Festival. AOL called the book “one of the most sought after cookbooks for the holidays.” We’ve also started an online kid’s magazine at http://www.EnchantedThyme.com. And we’re now busy expanding the world of Enchanted Thyme by creating downloadable animated shorts based on the book’s characters.
My approach is offbeat, unconventional. I’ve heard grown-ups say “don’t play with your food.” I disagree. Let’s have fun. Let’s relish preparing food and eating it together. Let’s decide to make something other than dessert pleasurable. Because I believe that if it’s pleasurable, chances are we’ll want to do it again.
Ariane Smith, the author, is a master storyteller, award winning playwright and owner of Enchanted Thyme Entertainment LLC. For more information visit http://www.EnchantedThyme.com.