nine cool things on a wednesday

“Vegetable Soup” by Malgorzata Lewandowska-Zych via They Draw & Cook (click to enlarge)

1. Love this “Vegetable Soup” recipe poem by Polish artist Malgorzata Lewandowska-Zcyh — her name’s quite a mouthful, isn’t it? Just like a big spoonful of yummy soup containing carrots, celery, potatoes, beans, cauliflower and parsley. “Malgorzata” = Margaret.  This is one of the best illustrated recipes I’ve seen at They Draw & Cook.

2. Speaking of which, there’s now a They Draw and Cook for Kids! Ebook available for download on your iPad. You get 20 recipes for only $1.99. Here are three samples:

“English Muffin Pizza Faces” by Alison Kolesar (click to enlarge)
“Pretzel S’mores” by Jennifer Bell
“Ants on a Log” by Stefan Jolet

3. Have you started your holiday shopping yet? I’ve already ordered several of these adorable macaron trinket boxes via Waiting on Martha. You can purchase them individually (light pink, rose, pistachio, lavender, yellow, peach) or as a set of 12, which comes in a pretty lavender presentation box. Great stocking stuffers or bridesmaids gifts. Which reminds me, I haven’t actually eaten a macaron in ages. If you feel like sending me some, feel free :)!

4. So, what’s for lunch? Something funky! Imagine a child’s surprise and delight discovering one of these fun, delicious, and amazingly creative sandwiches in his/her lunchbox! You gotta love Hermione, Harry and Ron — and what’s that giraffe so happy about? The bread crust frame on the Mona Lisa is perfection and I totally identify with the Queen (I’ve told people who have trouble pronouncing my first name they are welcome to call me, “Your Highness.”) 🙂

Funky Lunch: Happy Food for Happy Children (Absolute Press, 2010) contains 50 great ideas to take away the blahs and stress associated with the same old, same old. Choose from animals, TV characters, rocketships and mermaids — all made using healthy ingredients. Check out the Funky Lunch website gallery for more. Makes a nice companion to Hawaii’s Bento Box Cookbooks. ☺

5. When I grow up, I’m going to live at the Plaza in NYC, where I’ll take tea in the Palm Court every afternoon and order a special room service dinner every night, prepared by some of the city’s finest chefs. Of course it’ll be served on Book tableware like this — each course a new chapter:

via American Discount Tableware

6. I’m a sucker for decorated cookies and marvel at the endless creativity displayed by artisans all over the country. Recently, Angela at Oh Sugar Events invited some of her talented friends to create cookies for a “Play With Your Food Collaborative Project,” spotlighting classic toys and games.

via Oh Sugar Events

My favorites by Angela herself are Mr. Potato Head, with his interchangeable parts, and Wooly Willy — loved both when I was little (I now have a Wooly Bear version).

The Fisher Price toys are also cool, but I think I like Arty McGoo’s Paper Doll Cookies best of all. Click here to read her backstory about them. Such exquisite work! (Hat tip to Liz Jones for the link.)

Can you believe these are cookies?!

7. From the sweet and innocent to the macabre: Melodye Shore gave me the heads up about, A Zombie Ate My Cupcake!: 25 Deliciously Weird Cupcake Recipes by Lily Vanilli (Cima Books, 2010). UK baker/cake designer Lily Jones is known worldwide for her wildly creative off-the-wall novelty cakes which have been commissioned by the likes of Elton John, Alexander McQueen and Sadie Frost. Any of the ghoulish recipes in the Zombie book is sure to impress your Halloween party guests, and lucky for us, the measurements are listed in both metric and U.S. standard.

(click for Undead Gingerbread recipe)
Shattered Glass Cupcakes
You gotta love these Mutant Ear Cupcakes!

8. Last Friday I watched the live webcast of, “Siting Julia: A Julia Child Centenary Symposium,” sponsored by the Radcliffe Institute’s Schlesinger Library at Harvard, and loved every dang minute of it ! What a fabulous gathering of authors, restaurateurs, TV producers, friends and neighbors who all knew, loved, studied and worked with Julia. They shared insights, info, candid behind-the-scenes stories and many fond memories.

I especially enjoyed listening to Alex Prud’homme, co-author with Julia of My Life in France, the three women on the Cambridge panel (Dorothy Zinberg, Michela Larson, Jane Thompson), who helped me understand the Cambridge culinary and social landscape in the 60’s, and Laura Shapiro, who delivered an incisive, inspiring keynote which you can see in this video (about 20 minutes in). Most interesting were her comments about Julia’s prejudices against gays and vegetarians!

No matter how much I read, hear, and learn about Julia, I always want more. (Thanks, Cathy, for the heads up about the webcast!) 🙂

9. Bob Dylan (!!!) just released a new CD, “Tempest,” on September 11! It’s his 35th studio album marking the 50th anniversary of his eponymous 1962 debut album, and it’s gotten incredible reviews far and wide. They’re calling it, “musically varied and full of curve balls,” “spirited and vigorous,” and AP says, “It’s one of the best discs you’ll hear by anyone this year.” High praise indeed! His current touring band is THE BEST, and I’m so looking forward to seeing Dylan in November — he’s performing just for my birthday. 🙂

Give a listen to this sampler:

10. I’m really excited about the exceptionally good looking, talented guests who’ll be dropping by to talk about their new books in the next few weeks. In addition to Julie Paschkis (Apple Cake), stay tuned for Grace Lin (Starry River of the Sky), Melissa Iwai and Denis Markell (Hush, Little Monster), Nikki McClure (Apple), and Janna Matthies and Kristi Valiant (The Goodbye Cancer Garden). Such an abundant harvest of good books. Can’t wait!!

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“One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats.” ~ Iris Murdoch

♥ ♥ ♥


Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

24 thoughts on “nine cool things on a wednesday

  1. Wow, what a delicious post. Those trinket boxes are ADORABLE, the Wooly Willy cookies AMAZING (how do they DO that??), and the ghoulish goodies perfectly sinister.

    I looked into those book plates a while back, but it seems they are available wholesale only. I’d give up chocolate for a month, or at least a week, for those. Thanks for making my Wednesday so cool!


    1. I can’t imagine why they’d only be available wholesale. Not fair!! I’m sure they’d make a ton of money offering them retail. But then, if I could afford to live in the Plaza, I could probably buy the company that makes those dishes :)!

      These cookie artists really do amazing work! First, to think of these projects and then execute them flawlessly. Wow. I’d hesitate to eat these, though, after all the work that went into decorating them.


  2. Fabulous post, Jama. Those cupcakes look great, but I can’t imagine the time involved to get them to look like that! And I love those “book plates” too!


    1. Lily Vanilli (née Jones) used to be a graphic designer, a hobbyist baker who sold her stuff at a small local market. Now she has her own bakery and is quite the talk of the town when it comes to artisan baking. She also did a bleeding heart cake (actually red velvet) that I decided against posting cause it looked too realistic!


  3. First time poster! I love the SOUP POEM!! I teach my students to learn poems by heart and we have a grand time reciting poems for ourselves, visitors and others in our school. Now this poem is really a poetry-loving teacher’s dream. REAL FOOD FOR THOUGHT. And just think….you can now carry your “dinner in your pocket”. I think the kids will enjoy this and I am going to look for ways to incorporate making this soup as part of a health unit or maybe with Stone Soup stories, etc. Thanks for a great introduction to the website They Draw and Cook!
    Love the other cookie related things you are sharing today. Janet F.


    1. Hi Janet! So happy you found Alphabet Soup!

      I can tell you’re a woman after my own heart. The Soup Poem is definitely one of my favorites, though there are SO many great illustrated recipes at the website from all over the world. I recently purchased copies of their book for holiday gifts.

      The Vegetable Soup poem is definitely the best “dinner in your pocket” or take-out order — great for Poem in Your Pocket Day!

      Great idea to make the soup for a health unit. And there are many great soup picture books to feast on too!


  4. Not sure what I like the most, the soup and those child-ish recipes look delightful, but love the paper doll cookies-amazing, & the ghoulish delights are just the thing for middle school craziness. This is certainly JAM-A-packed! Thanks!


  5. Oh, what a feast. But now I want a macaroon, too. Thank you for the plate at the end of the post. I’ll pass on the zombie cupcakes. And Julie Paschkis on Apple Cake! There’s a treat to look forward to. Apples are so good munched plain right now, but I’m promising us an apple cake when I get done revising — soon!


  6. Oh my goodness, Jama, your blog is always full of foodie surprises! I adore the paper doll cookies (indeed, who would believe those were cookies?!) and the macaron trinket boxes. I love how you highlight being creative with displaying food, without dropping right into the bento corner. These are wonderful on their own 🙂


  7. I think this post is scrumptious to the last dot (period). I have to have a copy of they Draw & Cook as well as Funky Lunch plus bookmarked the first site. I’m going to find a way to get some of those book dishes too. Every book lover would want a set. Thanks for all this fun!


    1. Those book dish people are teasing and taunting us — putting the stuff out there and not allowing us regular folk to purchase any of it. Well, we *could* open a restaurant — and then they’d sell to us wholesale :).

      The They Draw & Cook book is nicely done — printed on thick stock and opening to double page spreads that are just like what you see on the website. (I haven’t seen the Kids eBook yet.) I should review the original book sometime :).


  8. Yum, Jama – that was way more than nine cool things – so many package deals!! Love that Mona Lisa and of course the book tableware. And what a great fall of fulsome posts you have planned!


    1. Yes, I guess I can’t count all that well. Title says, “nine,” and the total is actually 10. Maybe I counted the first two They Draw and Cook items as part of the same thing or something. 🙂 But package deals are good, right?


  9. Oh gosh. I want to draw and cook! Then I want to play with potato head cookies and Willy cookies and cookie dolls and then eat them. Once again, you have tickled more fancies than I knew I had. Thank you, Jama, for feeding us so generously! (She said, coveting a teeny ceramic macaroon box…)


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