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MY PARTY

I had a little tea party, this afternoon at three.
‘Twas very small, three guests in all, I, Myself, and Me.
Myself ate up the sandwiches, while I drank up the tea.
‘Twas also I who ate the pie and passed the cake to Me!

(Traditional)

Children have been enjoying their own little tea parties since at least the early 19th century. They know a good thing when they see it. Shall we join them?

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“Earth is crammed with heaven.” ~ Emily Dickinson

Please help yourself to Emily’s rice cakes and a cup of green tea.

Hello Spring, is that really you? :)

Today we’re greeting the somewhat reluctant, much-awaited season of renewal, rebirth, and regrowth with a little help from esteemed poet Emily Dickinson.

I’m sure you know she was fond of sending friends and acquaintances fragrant bouquets with notes or verses tucked in them, sometimes with a gift of food.

What could be sweeter than homemade gingerbread or coconut cake, nasturtiums and peonies from her garden, and a heartfelt verse she’d penned just for you?

From the New York Botanical Gardens Emily Dickinson Exhibit (2010)

Though she may have eschewed personal contact with people outside the family, Emily was able to sustain longstanding friendships and express romantic inclinations on her own terms. She cultivated and excelled in all three of these pursuits — gardening, baking, writing — as a normal course of each day, all of them requiring practiced skill, time and devotion.

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What are you looking at?

You’ve been here almost three seconds and you still haven’t complimented me. Does silky grey fur mean nothing to you? Ill manners are terribly middle class.

*tail swish*

Mr. Cornelius humors Jellylorum.

Oops, how did Jellylorum get hold of my laptop? Mr. Cornelius invited him over for a kitTea so we could discuss Chris Kelly’s  Downton Tabby (Simon & Schuster, 2013).

I hate tea. Give me milk.

We had fun noshing on this whisker-twitching 80-page parody about the upper clawst Clowder family and the downstairs cats who work like dogs waiting on them.

Everyone knows cats are the aristocrats of the animal kingdom. Downton Tabby offers us the privilege of seeing them in all their stately splendor, doing what they do best — looking good, ambling around, being fed, setting a fine example, being admired.

But alas! Their traditional role in society — providing work for others — is being threatened by the “tides of history.” Yes, fur will fly.

Wait, I’ll take tea. No, milk. No, tea. Tea with Milk!

Check out these feisty felines: Robert, Earl of Grimalkin; his beautiful Chat-elaine, Korat; their three daughters, Minxy (the pretty one), Serval (the prettier one) and Lady Etcetera (the other one); heir presumptive Matthmew; and of course, the one and only Dowager Catness, Vibrissa. Let’s not forget Catson the Butler, Mrs. Mughes the Housecreeper, Thomas Farel (Evil Foot Cat), Tom the Chau-fur, Laisy (Kitchen Maid) and Mrs. Catmore the Cook.

Got bacon?

It’s all here, every joy and catastrophe:

Their lives, loves, births, deaths, marriages, affairs, prides, prejudices, senses, sensibilities, mills, flosses, cakes, ales, high teas and fun fairs, car accidents, scandals, bouts of Spanish influenza, and war with Germany.

I will now proceed to languidly shred your upholstery.

We daintily nibbled on our tuna sandwiches as we chuckled over the whole kitten caboodle: the non-stop tom foolery, witticisms, sight gags, revised “history,” bon mots — all essential advice for preserving the gentry’s “Golden Age.” After all, any one of us may someday find ourselves among “Those Who Have Things Done for Them,” and we must follow a solid Code of Conduct. What is the proper way to sleep, feed, groom, feed, loaf (“in a decorative and highly charming manner”), feed, cast a withering glare (to communicate both affection and disapproval)?

Why aren’t you withering?

 

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“Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.” ~ Pedro Calderon de la Barca

via Chapman Cultural Center

Feeling winter weary and color starved?

I think I’ve had my fill of brown, grey and white. I know too well the bare bones of the trees, how they cast long shadows across our snow-blanketed yard. I’ve had lots of time to ponder the individuality of snowflakes and marvel at the magic of icicles. But enough with the bark and rocks and dry stalks.

I want green. And pink, yellow, lavender, teal. Drench me in indigo, lime, scarlet, magenta, emerald, fuschia, and orange. Read me a sweet poem that will transport me from my cozy armchair to a place of sheer delight. Let me feast on color.

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Actually, you don’t have to be a card-carrying foodie to love these two new Fall 2013 books.

Both encourage us to play with our food and appreciate food as art. Nothing I like more than a fanciful feast. :)

idacover

EAT YOUR ART OUT: Playful Breakfasts by IdaFrosk (Kontur Publishing, 2013). Norwegian food artist/enthusiast Ida Skivenes has been posting her creative breakfasts on Instagram every day since the summer of 2012.

She believes food should be healthy, tasty and fun. Most of the breakfast plates featured in her book take between 5-15 minutes to prepare, require simple equipment and available ingredients, and all are meant to be eaten. What started on a whim one morning has turned into a great food adventure (100,000+ followers, international media coverage, columns in newspapers and magazines, special projects).

I love that her first ever creations were a bear and a fox. She also includes a few tips and recipes for pancakes, hot cereal, granola, scones, and nut butter. Check out her blog for behind-the-scenes pics and background on her Instagram features. Fun for all ages!

feedthepanda

Feed the Panda (and yourself) All images © 2013 Ida Skivenes

crazylikeabritishsconefox

Crazy Like a British Scone Fox

red

Little Red Strawberry Riding in the Hood

munch

Edvard Munch: “Scream” (Art Toast Project)

* * *

bigappetitescover

BIG APPETITES: Tiny People in a World of Big Food by Christopher Boffoli (Workman Publishing, 2013). This is a collection of Boffoli’s internationally-known series of photographs featuring tiny people posing in real food environments. Amusing, outlandish, snarky, and handily skewing our sense of perspective, Boffoli’s photos tease the imagination, whet the appetite for worlds beyond our own, and enable us to see common food items as never before — for their beauty, intense color, and wonderful textures. Readers of all ages will be drawn to these fascinating scenes, but the tongue-in-cheek captions will likely go over the heads of most kids. Have you ever dreamed of playing golf on a split papaya, mowing an orange peel,  bathing in blue Jell-O? Feast your eyes!

strawberry

“With market prices skyrocketing, strawberry seeds were disappearing into the hands of poachers” (© 2013 C. Boffoli)

bananas

“A chance taken on a new path led them to swear off pineapple riding forever”

cucumbers

“Everyone just wanted to relax. But after Deborah got a few beers in her, she just wouldn’t stop talking”

bears

“An elite squad was not always successful against superior numbers”

bacast

♥ Find out more about Seattle-based photographer Christopher Boffoli at his official website (and check out that giant pumpkin pie).

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Copyright © 2013 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

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