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When I first saw Joël Penkman’s work, all kinds of superlatives came to mind: Incredible. Gorgeous. Exquisite. Amazing. Beautiful!




Many of her egg tempura on gesso board still life food paintings look so realistic you might easily mistake them for photographs. Originally from New Zealand, Joël now lives and works in the UK — Liverpool, England, to be exact.







She portrays her subjects on clean, neutral backgrounds to allow the viewer to bring his/her own context to the paintings. Food is by far her favorite subject, but she also enjoys graphically representing everyday objects inspired by British life.




Naturally I especially love her sweets, but I’m equally enamored of her food packaging subjects,










and her 100 teacups collection!






Recently, she was commissioned to paint 125 food items for Colman Andrews’s THE TASTE OF AMERICA (Phaidon Press, 2013). It’s wonderful to see familiar foods like hot dogs, avocados, bagels, and cherry tomatoes along with regional favorites like Old Bay Seasoning, Café du Monde Beignet Mix, Goo Goo Clusters, and Vermont Common Crackers. I also learned about quite a few brands I’d never seen before (Rancho Gordo Prepared Hominy, Graeter’s Ice Cream, Kim’s Pork Cracklings).













Since she likes to paint from real life models, these foods were sent to her across the pond. She said it felt like Christmas whenever a new shipment arrived. :)

For the literary minded, check out Joël’s collection of Fictional Food (yes, there’s Paddington’s favorite marmalade sandwiches!):

Holly Golightly's Breakfast

Holly Golightly’s Breakfast

Paddington's Marmalade Sandwiches

Paddington’s Marmalade Sandwiches

Snow White's Poison Apple

Snow White’s Poison Apple

Edmund's Turkish Delight

Edmund’s Turkish Delight

Indulge yourself even more by visiting Joël Penkman’s Official Website and Etsy Shop, where she sells both originals and giclée prints.




It’s easy to see why I’m such a big fan of Joël’s work. But there’s also this: when asked in an interview what she would take if her house was burning down, she said her cats, their 2 teddy bears and her laptop. You should have heard the cheers in the Alphabet Soup kitchen! We love an artist who’s got her priorities straight. :)




Copyright © 2015 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved. 

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The cute Beatle is 73 years old today!



“Nothing pleases me more than to go into a room and come out with a piece of music.”

"So, if I'm cooking, I'll be steaming vegetables, making some nice salad, that kind of stuff."

“So, if I’m cooking, I’ll be steaming vegetables, making some nice salad, that kind of stuff.”

"But you know, as a kid I would have thought of a vegetarian as a wimp."

“But you know, as a kid I would have thought of a vegetarian as a wimp.”


Will you play us out?
(What a voice, what a face, what a song!)


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“Your appearance shouldn’t define who you are, and that’s what I like, the contrast between people looking like the opposite of what they truly are deep inside.” (photo by Bruce Weber)


How’d ya like dem cherries?

Sweeter than all the chocolates in Belgium, so hot he doesn’t even need a cup!

You can catch up with Matthias as Gabriel Oak in “Far from the Madding Crowd,” now playing at a theatre near you.

Thanks for the request, Andrea Potos!

If there’s someone you’d like to see featured as hotTEA of the week, leave a comment or shoot me an email: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com. :)

*fans self*


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A few tasty tidbits to make your week:

1. Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, Charlotte Charlotte Charlotte! How much do we love the new royal baby? She seems perfect in every way, doesn’t she?

And what better way to mark this special occasion than with a sweet mug from Emma Bridgewater? :) You can pre-order this little beauty now for shipping later this month (U.S. residents can get free shipping from Joanne Hudson).

Here’s the other side:

You know you want one. :)


2. Nothing I like more than a chewy, flavorful foodie book roundup. Check out Anne Schamberg’s delectable post from the Journal Sentinel featuring 11 new titles. I’ve reviewed several of the books here at Alphabet Soup (A Fine Dessert, Gingerbread for Liberty!, Kids Cook French, Lidia’s Egg-Citing Farm Adventure). Can’t wait to read the others. Anne has also included five recipes. Yum!


3. Recently, readers of the News & Observer were asked to share stories of their favorite kitchen heirlooms. They sent in photos of old cookie cutters, whisks, scales, and other cooking and baking tools, and talked about the history behind them. So interesting to read about what foods were made with these objects, who made them, and how they were shared. Thanks to Melodye Shore for the link!


4. Guess what just came out on DVD?! Hooray for Paddington! In case you missed seeing the film this past winter, or if, like me, you want to watch it again and again, grab a copy soon. Make a pile of marmalade sandwiches to munch on while you watch. Did you know they’ve already started working on the sequel? :)


5. How about 15 Places for Afternoon Tea You Must Visit Before You Die? Thus far I haven’t been to any of these places — frankly, some of them feel a little too posh for my tastes, but I could see myself at Cinnamon Soho, Drink Shop & Do, or the Betty Blythe Vintage Tearoom. The Berkeley and Bake-a-boo look like fun too!


6. Mmmmm, how about “8 Fictional Chefs Whom We’d Like to Sit Down and Have a Meal With?” Nothing better than a piece of fiction that makes your mouth water. Invite me to Mrs. Weasley’s, of course I’d love to visit Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, and Calpurnia’s cracklin’ bread from To Kill a Mockingbird sounds divine!


7. When things feel a little too frenetic and you need a nice break from it all, nothing better than a lovely British fix! Great British Bake-Off finalist and cookbook author Miranda Gore Browne makes Milk and Blackberry Bunny Cakes inspired by Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Every word spoken with a British accent sounds so much better, doesn’t it? All’s right with the world. Love this charming video!

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Oh, a hummingbird just greeted me at the window!

It’s going to be a good day!

Happy Tuesday!


Copyright © 2015 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

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“My first language was shy. It’s only by having been thrust into the limelight that I have learned to cope with my shyness.”


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