From the Food Editor: Edible butterflies roost on spring treat tables

  • May's Woman's Day features beautiful butterfly cookies and other insect-inspired sweets.

    May's Woman's Day features beautiful butterfly cookies and other insect-inspired sweets.

  • The Fuel line of lunch accessories makes it easy to pack a waste-free meal.

    The Fuel line of lunch accessories makes it easy to pack a waste-free meal. Courtesy of Trudeau

Updated 4/22/2015 2:36 PM
Editor’s note: This story was updated to reflect the new price of the Fuel Hungry Lunch Bag.

I've been into butterflies lately. Monarchs especially.

I read Barbara Kingsolver's "Flight Behavior" over the winter (a five-star read, btw) and then in March two nature magazines my family subscribes to featured the plight of monarchs and tips for how we here in the suburbs can help these beautiful insects as they migrate to and from their roost in central Mexico.


So now I've been noticing butterflies everywhere. Not outside yet ... but inside. They're welded onto wind chimes, embroidered on throw pillows, painted on dinner plates and bedazzled on T-shirts.

And the cover of May's Woman's Day shows butterflies baked as cookies. The magazine's staff used a variety of cookie cutters and crushed hard candies to artfully create colorful, stained glasslike wings. The cookies enchanted me today just as much as they did when I was little and my mom used the same technique on Christmas cookies.

Of course it takes a bit more time to craft these cookies than plain ol' sugar cookies. But just think how pretty these would be gracing the treat table at a spring wedding shower or Sunday brunch. The recipe is at

Waste-free Wednesday: That's what my sons' elementary school called it when they encouraged students to pack a lunch in which nothing ended up in the garbage. Since first grade I've approached every lunch that way.

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I like the idea of bento boxes, the Japanese-style compartmentalized containers, but until this month I hadn't found a box that accommodated an ice pack or fit comfortably in an insulated lunch bag.

Trudeau's Fuel line of lunch products fits my needs to a tee.

Fuel's bento box (shown, $16.99), is multipurpose. One of the removable containers is the perfect size for a sandwich or small salad; the other container is divided for chips, cookies, fruit, vegetable sticks, dip. The lid fits snugly and keeps all the components in place. No more snack-sized Baggies or foil wrappers for my kids. Remove the two containers and you've got room for a large salad or a couple of hoagies.

The bento box also fits snugly into an insulated lunch bag ($19.99) that still has plenty of space for an ice pack and water bottle. The products are BPA free and dishwasher safe. You can get them at or a number of other online retailers.

The legacy of James Beard: As Chicago prepares to host the 25th Anniversary of James Beard Foundation Awards in May, foundation President Susan Ungaro will discuss James Beard and why he had such a profound effect on our country's culinary scene.


Ungaro's talk will touch on the background of the Oregon-born chef, cookbook author and culinary pioneer and the evolution of the James Beard Foundation. She'll also show a trailer from "America's First Foodie," an upcoming documentary chronicling Beard's life and show other historical clips. Members of the Culinary Historians of Chicago, the group sponsoring her talk, will provide samples of some of Beard's favorite recipes from his cookbooks.

The two-hour program starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 2, at Kendall College, School of Culinary Arts, 900 N. North Branch St., Chicago. Tickets cost $10 and can be purchased at www.EventBrite.

• Contact Food Editor Deborah Pankey at or (847) 427-4524. Be her friend at or follow her on Pinterest, Instagram or Twitter @PankeysPlate.

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