The Rainbow Pantry... with an Equally Colorful Playlist!

By Shayna M. RSS Tue, April 14, 2020

Have you seen a rainbow lately? Maybe you have noticed one after a recent April shower, or maybe you have spotted rainbow artwork displayed in windows of buildings and homes. For many people, rainbows have been a supportive symbol of hope and encouragement.

But have you ever tasted a rainbow on your plate? Rainbows can be an inspiration when opening cupboards and deciding what meals to prepare. Colorful fruits, vegetables, and whole foods add to the beauty, flavor, and nutrition of food. In our Nourishing Literacy classes, we prepare and taste many colors together, enjoying food that energizes our bodies and senses. 

Colorful ingredients can be found in fresh, canned, dried, and frozen forms. Here are a few ideas for using the pantry with the rainbow in mind!

Red: Canned Tomatoes
Roast whole canned tomatoes in the oven with a small amount of oil and a sprinkle of salt until caramelized and soft. The tomatoes become very flavorful when prepared this way. They can be made into a quick pasta sauce or served on their own as a side dish with meat, fish, or beans. 

Orange: Lentils
Place orange lentils and double the amount of water (for example: 1 cup dry lentils, 2 cups water) in a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, let simmer with favorites spices and seasonings until very soft and the water is absorbed. Add a little butter or oil, and mash until smooth. Try spreading the mashed lentils on toast or making patties with the mash to cook and crisp on the stovetop.

Yellow: Canned or Frozen Corn
Mix with an egg (1 egg to 2 cups of corn), some flour to bind, and some seasoning. Cook in a pan with some oil or butter until golden brown and cooked through for simple corn fritters.

Green: Olives
Try adding chopped olives to bread dough to make flavorful olive bread. This no-knead bread recipe in the New York Times is available to read with your library card.

Blue: Frozen Blueberries
It can be fun to put frozen blueberries in a bowl with some milk added, like cereal. Eat with a spoon for an icy treat!

Purple: Raisins
Try chopping very small to create raisin sprinkles. These raisin sprinkles can be a part of a warm rice salad or can be added on top of a baked sweet potato with yogurt or sour cream.

What are some of your favorite rainbow pantry cooking ideas and recipes?

In the fall and winter of this school year, Nourishing Literacy students enjoyed visiting different departments in Parkway Central Library, including the Music Department. Food and music are a great way to learn and to be together!

Can you think of a rainbow-themed song?

The Free Library’s Music Department has an awesome collection of resources for learning about and enjoying music, including an incredible digital music collection that can be accessed with your library card. Three comprehensive music databases can be found on our Digital Media page. 

To listen to and discover rainbow-inspired songs and/or any music that interests you, enter your library card information on the login page. Take a listen to these songs!


"Double Rainbow" by Joe Henderson (Jazz)

"Rahul’s Rainbow" by Rahul Sharma (World Music)

"Rainbow" from 70’s Pop music compilation

"Rainbow" by UKA (Rock)

"Rainbow Country" by Bob Marley (Reggae)

"Rainbow Days" by Jimmy Kaleth & Bob Mitchell (Electronic)

"Rainbow Song" by Navajo (World Music)

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by Judy Garland (Pop)

"Somewhere Over The Rainbow" by Wedell Köhler (Swing & Folk)

"There’s A Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder" by Frankie Laine (Pop)

"You’re My Rainbow" from Classic Detroit Soul Volume 2 (Blues)

You can also listen to and share this playlist via the Free Library's Spotify channel!

Sending wishes of hope and health to all, with an extra shout out to the amazing community of Philadelphia students, families, and teachers. The Nourishing Literacy team is thinking of you!

To learn more about the Culinary Literacy Center, please visit our website or connect with us through Instagram and Facebook.

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

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