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Bonjour!

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. :)

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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!

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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!

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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? :)

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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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1. This lovely poster featuring the words of 14th century Persian poet Hafez by Katie Daisy is available at The Wheatfield Etsy Shop. A nice thought to keep in mind during these crazy times. :)

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2. Speaking of poets, Kelly Ramsdell Fineman’s very first chapbook, The Universe Comes Knocking (Maverick Duck Press, 2015)  will be officially released this Friday, March 13th! There’s a Launch Party at the Daily Grind (48 High Street) in Mount Holly, New Jersey at 7 p.m. Admission is free and there’ll be an open reading afterwards. Check it out if you live in the area! You can read the title poem here. Congratulations, Kelly!

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Illustration by Monica Ramos for Lucky Peach

3. It’s no secret we’re big fans of dumplings and dim sum here at Alphabet Soup. LOVE this definitive Guide to Chinese Dumplings compiled by The Cleaver Quarterly at Lucky Peach. There are cute drawings, mouthwatering descriptions, and interesting historical and cultural tidbits about each type, and they’re grouped according to how they’re cooked: Steamed, Pan-Fried, Deep-Fried, and Boiled. Happy to see pepeiao from Hawai’i on the list, and I learned about a lot of different varieties I didn’t even know existed. Yum! Pass the har gow!

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4. It’s also no secret that I like toys (who, me?), so I was happy to stumble upon Zard Apuya’s site recently. Originally from Guam, he now lives in San Francisco where he’s busy designing vinyl toys and pursuing a graduate degree in Business Administration. Check out a few of his charming “kid at art” creations (some available for purchase):

Mickey Rice Crispy

Disney Dole Whip

Carni-Food: Cotton Candy

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5. Food memoirs are probably my favorite genre to read for pleasure. Here’s a nice list of “The 50 Best Food Memoirs” at AbeBooks. Since I’ve only read 6 of these so far, I’d better get busy!

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“Dream as if you’ll live forever. Live as if you’ll die today.” ~ James Dean

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1. JULIE PAPRIKA is here! If, like me, you’re a fan of award-winning painter and children’s book illustrator Julie Paschkis, the good news is that now some of her work is available for purchase online as archival prints. I just ordered “Eat Pie,” which I’ve loved for several years because, well, PIE! :) I love the shop name too (“Julie Paprika: Art Adds Spice to Life”). See more here. (Julie will be stopping by soon to talk about her new book, P. Zonka Lays An Egg, which is gorgeous!)

“Baskets Full”

“ABCXYZ”

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2. New book alert! Jeannine Atkins’s adult novel, Little Woman in Blue: A Novel of May Alcott (She Writes Press, 2015) is now available for pre-order!

May Alcott spends her days sewing blue shirts for Union soldiers, but she dreams of painting a masterpiece—which many say is impossible for a woman—and of finding love, too. When she reads her sister’s wildly popular novel, Little Women, she is stung by Louisa’s portrayal of her as “Amy,” the youngest of four sisters who trades her desire to succeed as an artist for the joys of hearth and home. Determined to prove her talent, May makes plans to move far from Massachusetts and make a life for herself with room for both watercolors and a wedding dress. Can she succeed? And if she does, what price will she have to pay? Based on May Alcott’s letters and diaries, as well as memoirs written by her neighbors, Little Woman in Blue puts May at the center of the story she might have told about sisterhood and rivalry in an extraordinary family.

As a big fan of the Alcotts and Jeannine’s books (especially Borrowed Names), I simply can. not. wait. to read this one. It comes out in September 2015, and till then, I’ll be drinking many cups of anticipation tea, daydreaming about Concord. Click here to read Jeannine’s post about the book (isn’t that a stunning cover?), and here to pre-order!

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3. New bears in the house! We now have three additions to our growing Paddington family! A 6″ Paddington “Little Bitty” magically appeared in the Alphabet Soup kitchen one morning, and I won a giveaway for an 8″ Movie Paddington from Movie Mom’s blog.

Biggest surprise was a knock knock knock at the front door, where I discovered this charming 20″ Rugby Paddington, made by Gabrielle Designs in England back in 1985. He was a tad tired after his long journey from California via Denver, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, but quickly revived with marmalade toast and tea. He still won’t tell me what’s in his duffel bag.

Love his shoes.

And speaking of Paddington, he made this list of the All-Time 100 Greatest ToysHe’s included in the 70’s decade with the nerf ball, Rubik’s Cube, and Magna Doodle. It was fun looking through the entire list to see which toys I had or longed for (Chatty Cathy, Barbie’s Dream House, Easy-Bake Oven). As an adult, I acquired Teddy Ruxpin and a Care Bear, and have very fond memories of hula hoops, Play-Doh, Mr. Potato Head and Gumby. :)

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4. Love these CakeSpy prints: “ABCs of Sweetness” and “Pop Tarts That Should Exist.” She always comes up with the coolest ideas! Click on each image to purchase at Etsy (zoom in to see the fine details). You may remember that we previously featured both of Jessie Oleson Moore’s books, CakeSpy Presents Sweet Treats for a Sugar-Filled Life and The Secret Lives of Baked Goods (autographed copies available). My interview with Jessie is here.

“ABC’s of Sweetness”

“PopTarts That Should Exist”

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5. And now, the winner of our CHINESE FAIRY TALE FEASTS GIVEAWAY! 

Once again, we called upon the services of the dashing, erudite, elegantly mustachioed, ever-reliable Monsieur Random Integer Generator. When he heard the book featured Chinese food, he insisted on a big feast before picking a winner. To satisfy his enormous appetite, we ordered 105 pieces of his favorite dim sum, 34 bowls of rice porridge, 568 platters of stir-fried beef and baby bok choi, 43 pounds of shrimp fried rice, 69 gallons of egg drop soup, 5,478 pieces of crispy won ton, and 54 salted duck eggs.

Naturally the cozy but pedestrian Alphabet Soup kitchen didn’t seem like quite the right venue for such a feast, so we had the food delivered to the Great Wall at Badaling (Beijing Province) where he could enjoy his meal al fresco (now that’s what I call Chinese take-out!). :)

Fully sated, M. Generator was finally up to the difficult task of selecting just one winner from among a bevy of beauties and one always-hungry stud muffin. He cracked open 18 fortune cookies before one name called to him. It was:

MARGIE CULVER!

Congratulations, Margie!!

Please send your snail mail addy to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com so we can send out your book pronto.

Thanks, everyone for entering. Maybe Margie will invite us all over for dinner when she makes some of the recipes from the book. :)

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6. Sigh. It is definitely not a cool thing that Season 5 of Downton Abbey is already over. Seems like it just started — why don’t they make more episodes per season? There’s a Christmas episode and then we’ll have to wait till January 2016 for Season 6 (an eternity). And Season 6 is supposedly the very last. Sigh.

So before full-blown DA withdrawal sets in, enjoy this cool little video featuring several of the cast members describing their characters in 5 words:

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Sigh. Have a nice week. Sigh.

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

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