sweets for the sweet: liz garton scanlon

#14 in the Poetry Potluck Series, celebrating National Poetry Month 2010.


Please have some jasmine green tea with honey!

When I was searching for a photo to capture the essence of Liz Garton Scanlon, this one by Genevieve Howard caught my eye. There’s a feeling of peace, calm, and radiance. Here’s the comment Genevieve included on her flickr page:

the honey is a moment condensed from hours in a late spring field full of clovers. the tea plants grew for months on a hillside and jasmine bloomed while the sun set.

such sunshine, so much time, concentrated in this cup of tea.

may you be blessed with a sense of having plenty of time,
may you be blessed with hot drinks and sweetness.

Is it not perfect? I often picture Liz outdoors in the fresh air, hiking through fields, up and down hills, navigating river beds, soaking up the sun. She grows rich with beautiful moments, then condenses them to a few carefully chosen words, words seasoned with time, glowing with wisdom.

There is much sweetness living with grace and passing it on. I guess that’s what poets do. Keep their heads up and their hearts open.

Guess what Liz brought to the Potluck? Tea, yes. A vegetarian dish she made up herself — and a sweet poem, which is from a longer work-in-progress. It looks like she’s definitely cooking up something delish, and I can already hear kids licking their chops. I love how her mind works. In keeping with alphabet soup policy, sweets first, main dish second. ☺

 photo by Idh.


Tea with honey, toast with jam,
a slice of pineapple with ham.

Maple-syrupy French toast,
glazed carrots and a Sunday roast.

Brown sugar pools in acorn squash,
carameled onions are quite posh.

Icing on a hot-crossed bun —
why, thanks! I’ll have another one.

It’s really simple and ideal
to please us all at every meal

if every time we sit to eat
we help ourselves to something sweet.

Something sweet to chew and taste
will never, ever go to waste!

(And nothing’s sweeter in the end
than sharing sweets with a sweet friend.)

© 2010 Liz Garton Scanlon. All rights reserved.

photo by lomopony.


2 acorn squash
1 -1/2 cups of barley
1 Tbs butter
1/2 cup chopped almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 white onion
1 c. vegetable broth (homemade or boxed)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Cover barley with water; soak overnight.
The next day, drain and rinse.
Add 2/3 c. vegetable broth and then enough water to cover.
Cook until soft but not mushy (approx 15 minutes). 

Meanwhile, dice onion.
Melt butter in frying pan, add onions and cook ‘til soft.
Add almonds and cranberries and continue to sauté until onions are translucent.
Set aside. 

Take barley off heat. Stir in salt, cumin, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Cover. 

Halve and seed acorn squash.
Set open side down on a cookie sheet and cook at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes or until soft. 

When squash are done, remove from oven.
Stir onion/almond/cranberry mixture into barley.
Add last 1/2 c. of vegetable broth to barley mixture to make it a bit sticky. 

Set squash in glass casserole pan, open side up, and spoon barley mixture into each opening.
Drizzle with maple syrup.
Serve warm on a bed of the extra barley mixture and next to a crisp green salad.

♥ Yum! I’m so happy Liz brought this, because I want to incorporate more vegetarian meals in our diet. Thank you, Sweet One!

Liz Garton Scanlon is an award-winning author, teacher and poet who’s published two picture books: A Sock is a Pocket for Your Toes (HarperCollins, 2004) and All the World (Beach Lane Books, 2009), which won a Caldecott Honor and earned a gazillion other accolades. With her highly persuasive powers and unending charm, she convinced six other poets to join her in writing A Crown of Sonnets. They became known as the “Poetry Princesses” in Poetry Friday Land, and have since engaged in more self-flagellation and hijinks created other projects to delight us all. Liz loves travel, yoga, hiking, and vegetarian cooking. She is also so good at hiding Easter eggs that it sometimes takes at least a year to find them. She blogs at Liz in Ink, where she is writing and posting a haiku every day to celebrate National Poetry Month. I’m so glad she’s writing; it’s magical seeing all the world through her eyes.

*Unless otherwise noted, all photos © 2010 Liz Garton Scanlon. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

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