Hello, my little chef friends, and welcome to Cook! The! Book! Where we take a book and make a recipe inspired by it! Oh no, don’t butter your books! Thank you, now, instead of broiling dictionaries, we will be making a tasty recipe inspired by Jessica Love’s book, Julian is a Mermaid. Without further ado, let’s begin!

Julian is a Mermaid follows a boy named Julian and his Abuela as they ride the bus back to their home. On the ride there, Julian sees real live mermaids! They have beautiful hair and tails; Julian is just dazzled by them and tells his Abuela he is one too. His Abuela goes for a bath and tells him to be good while she is gone. While she is, let’s get our recipe together. What should we make? Grilled cheese? Meatloaf? Hmm…What would a mermaid eat? OH, I know…how about fish?? That sounds perfect! Let’s make tilapia with mango salsa, perfect for Julian, who is our Afro-Latinx mermaid! 

For this meal, we will need a few things.

Salsa Ingredients:

  • 1 peeled mango (diced)

  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)

  • ½ red onion (diced)

  • 1 cup of black beans (rinsed)

  • Lime juice (1 lime)

  • 1 teaspoon of sugar

  • 1 teaspoon of Apple Cider Vinegar

Fish Ingredients:

  • Filet of Tilapia (or any fish you like)

  • 1 teaspoon of olive oil

  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

  • ½ teaspoon of cumin

While Abuela is in the bathroom, Julian makes his aquatic transformation. He grabs palm fronds and flowers from around the house for his headdress and ties a window curtain around his waist for a beige tail. What would you use for your costume? While we think about that, let’s preheat the oven for our fish (at 350 F) and let it bake. Next, we will dice up our respective ingredients (supervised by a guardian, of course) to make our salsa. Now, all we have to do is wait on our tilapia to finish cooking, so let’s check in on how Julian is doing, shall we? 

Uh, oh! 

Abuela has found Julian in his mermaid outfit and the mess he made in the process. What will she think of him being a mermaid? 

Read Jessica Love’s heartwarming story, Julian is a Mermaid, and eat like a mermaid with our seafood concoction! 

MMM, look at it, delicious!!