Red Beans & Rice is a playful and polite lesson about farm to table. When Magnolia Rose and her friends visit Grandma Bee and Grandpa Pepper’s farm in rural Louisiana, the children discover their outdoor playgrounds are the source of the flavorful ingredients used to make favorite Louisiana dishes: Red Beans & Rice, Strawberry Shortcake, Seafood Po-Boys, Pecan Pralines, and more. This is Jeanette Weiland's second published children's book, and the first time she’s teamed up with her artist mother, Roberta Van Zandt Loflin, whose original water color illustrations were produced for the book.
“My mother is a fabulous artist and gardener and I remember her trying to move us past the ‘yuck and that’s gross,’ stage to appreciating all of the deliciousness (and nutrition) farm fresh produce offers. My first book explores the food and culture of New Orleans. I wanted to expand upon that theme and explore our food culture through the farm ingredients for iconic Louisiana dishes to help children discover the lost connection between the earth, farms, and the plate. These roots obviously reach beyond one city and stretch deep into farms around the state." Jeanette Weiland said.
Weiland also wanted to name the book after another beloved communal dish, and again include hidden treasures throughout the pages of the book adding to the sense of adventure young ones enjoy when spotting the creatures and critters that the region shares as home.
“With Red Beans & Rice, I also had the opportunity to connect to my mom’s palate and palette which was an extremely rewarding experience. Sitting with her and my own children as we worked on this project was almost surreal; and I love the example it sets for my kids about the importance of family, work, and creativity. Since moving to South Louisiana 20 years ago, we’ve both been influenced by the intense vibrant colors of the landscape, and we find every excuse to add more color. And while we were engaged in this creative process, my daughter, her granddaughter, watched and experienced our joy too, making her own paintings all along the way,” Weiland added.