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Posts Tagged ‘baking’

Though I’m a longtime Christina Björk and Lena Anderson fan (they’re the Swedish author and illustrator team who created Linnea in Monet’s Garden and Linnea’s Almanac, among many others), I didn’t know about Elliot’s Extraordinary Cookbook (1990) until just recently.

Why didn’t you tell me? You know how nuts I am about illustrated cookbooks. :)

I snatched up a like-new copy and swooned over every page of this thoroughly charming and delightful book, which is narrated by Linnea’s neighbor Elliot, quite likely the most enthusiastic young cook ever to bake a potato or scramble an egg.

It all begins when Elliot locks himself out of his apartment and meets his neighbor Stella Delight, a kind widow and former ship’s cook who invites him to wait upstairs at her place.

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Not too long ago, I was innocently browsing online when a jar of Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserves spoke to me:

Don’t you love my beautiful lines and shading? Look at my luscious rosy watercolors, my checkered lid. Do I not stand out from the hundreds of food illustrations you see every day?

The jam was spreading it on thick, but it had a good point. There was something pure and serene about its singular beauty. Detailed and realistic, it had that charming handmade quality I always fall for.

“Bonne Maman” is by Boston-based artist, illustrator and graphic designer Kendyll Hillegas, whose work “focuses on capturing the emotional and narrative significance of food and everyday objects.” Using a combination of colored pencil, gouache, and ink, she creates a delectable world of ooey gooey cakes, cheery popsicles, tempting doughnuts, cupcakes, and reach-out-and-bite-me muffins, breads, and bagels.

She invites us to appreciate anew the pleasing design of a bottle of San Pellegrino or Heinz Ketchup, the rumpled comfort of a bag of King Arthur Unbleached Flour. A bowl of soup, a stack of pancakes, a double scoop ice cream cone — we all have emotional connections to these familiar foods and like to hear and share good stories about them.

 

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Since moving to Virginia, I’ve become quite the Presidential buff. It’s easy to do since eight Presidents were born here, and I bump into fascinating history wherever I turn.

That’s why I get excited whenever a new children’s book comes out profiling a single President, or, as in the case of Marilyn Singer’s fabulous new poetry collection, all 43 of them.

In Rutherford B., Who Was He?, Marilyn introduces our fearless leaders in chronological order via succinct, thought-provoking poems, blending critical facts, historical references and fascinating human interest tidbits.

All but eight (grouped together for spirited discourse) are featured in single poems. With just a few masterful strokes, she highlights the subject’s claim to fame and illuminates character and personality, so we can better understand the why’s and wherefore’s. She does not shy away from foibles, failings, controversy or scandal, and I love the sense of continuity from one administration to the next, giving us a broad sweep of Presidential history from Washington to Obama.

Paired with John Hendrix’s witty, exuberant caricatures and crackerjack hand-drawn typography, these verses pulse with verve and vigor — a showcase of poetic forms (a Nixon reverso!) with clever, innovative rhymes that truly bring our Presidents to life.

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“If I had a flower for each time I thought of my mother, I could walk in my garden forever.” ~ Anonymous

Welcome to Poetry Friday at Alphabet Soup!

I’m happy to be back and hosting the Roundup this week. Please help yourself to some strawberry shortcake and green tea.

I made the shortcakes with Bisquick in honor of my mom. We grew up on these, along with Bisquick pancakes and waffles. It’s nice to remember those carefree days before trans fats became a no-no. Care for an extra dollop of real whipped cream? Only the best for you. :)

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🌷 MAY FLOWERS 💐

SONG OF THE FLOWER XXIII
by Khalil Gibran

I am a kind word uttered and repeated
By the voice of Nature;
I am a star fallen from the
Blue tent upon the green carpet.
I am the daughter of the elements
With whom Winter conceived;
To whom Spring gave birth; I was
Reared in the lap of Summer and I
Slept in the bed of Autumn.

At dawn I unite with the breeze
To announce the coming of light;
At eventide I join the birds
In bidding the light farewell.

The plains are decorated with
My beautiful colors, and the air
Is scented with my fragrance.

As I embrace Slumber the eyes of
Night watch over me, and as I
Awaken I stare at the sun, which is
The only eye of the day.

I drink dew for wine, and hearken to
The voices of the birds, and dance
To the rhythmic swaying of the grass.

I am the lover’s gift; I am the wedding wreath;
I am the memory of a moment of happiness;
I am the last gift of the living to the dead;
I am a part of joy and a part of sorrow.

But I look up high to see only the light,
And never look down to see my shadow.
This is wisdom which man must learn.

(1914)

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Mom, me and my brother Newton. She let me call her Margaret :).

Besides being a good cook, my mother was an avid gardener who had an extensive knowledge of tropical plants. Monstera, hapu’u, red ginger, heliconia, plumeria, anthuriums, bird of paradise — she knew them, grew them, filled ceramic vases with blossoms and cuttings. She inherited some of my grandmother’s orchid plants, which thrived under her loving care.

When I complained once about disliking hot weather and the searing Hawaiian sun, she said, “You’re like a greenhouse orchid.” Quite true when considering my finicky personality and love of climate control, but I still took it as a compliment. :)

I am the memory of a moment of happiness;

She was surrounded by pink kalanchoe, white orchids and purple hydrangea when she died. The day before, she had turned in her bed to look up out the window at the beautiful blue sky and the stretch of ocean where she had enjoyed happy fishing days on my brother’s boat. I thought of a line from my favorite Truman Capote short story: “As for me, I could leave the world with today in my eyes.”

But I look up high to see only the light,
And never look down to see my shadow.

She was honored at her memorial service with standing wreaths and sprays of white and yellow chrysanthemums, white gladiolus; pink, white and purple dendrobium, pink roses and carnations, and pink and orange stargazer lilies.

I am the last gift of the living to the dead;
I am a part of joy and a part of sorrow.

Writer friend Candice Ransom says that a white carnation signifies your mother has passed. I will be holding mine close on Sunday, savoring the fragrance of good memories.

If you’ve lost your mother too, these are for you.

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🌹 THE ROUNDUP 🌻

Please leave your links with the ravenous but reliable sausage connoisseur Mr. Linky. Don’t forget to put the name of your poem or title of the book you’re reviewing in parentheses after your name. Thanks for joining us today — enjoy all the poetic goodness being served up in the blogosphere!

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♥ A Special Note from Jane Yolen ♥

I send out a brand new poem every day to subscribers, and the only thing I ask in return is that at month’s end, they either buy a book of mine or borrow one from their local library and read it.

Since I have 350 books out, that should be a piece of cake! More numbers, this is my second year of doing this for subscribers, of whom there are now over 400! It’s also my fourth year of writing a poem a day. Most of the poems I send are adult poems, but occasionally there are new children’s poems as well.

To get on the list, send me an email request: janeyolen (at) aol (dot) com. If the request comes before May 10, I will catch you up on the first ten May poems. After that, you will be started on June 1.

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Happy Mother’s Day to all. What kind of flower is your mother?

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Copyright © 2014 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

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In my kitchen there’s a chalkboard that says, “I’ve never met a pie I didn’t like.” Ever since birth (i.e., 23 years ago), I’ve been on an eternal quest for pie (who, me?).

So it should come as no surprise that whenever a good pie book jumps out of the oven, I like to be first in line. :)

Today, with the help of three furry pastry chefs, we’re peeking under the crust and sampling some of the goodness in The Good-Pie Party,  a delectable new picture book officially hitting shelves today by Liz Garton Scanlon and Kady MacDonald Denton.

Liz and Kady have cooked up a gentle, reassuring story about making the best of a sad situation and celebrating the lasting bonds of friendship.

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