[tasty poem + recipe] From My Mother’s Kitchen: An Alphabet Poem by Pat Brisson

#57 in an ongoing series of posts celebrating the alphabet

By now, most of you know I’m a big fan of abecedarian poems.

Of course I like the foodie ones best. But food that mom used to make? Even better!

Many of the foods in Pat Brisson’s poem kindled fond childhood memories — times when “homemade,” “family,” and “love” flavored each delectable mouthful and provided enough nourishment to last a lifetime.


Cinnamon Tapioca Pudding via Thinking Outside the Sandbox (click for recipe)


by Pat Brisson

Food my mother made for us
Food from A to Zed;
Food she baked and cooked and boiled
To keep her family fed.

Apple pie with a flaky crust made from Crisco,
Beef stew (with too much gristle),
Chocolate chip cookies from the Tollhouse recipe,
Dates stuffed with walnuts and coated with sugar,
Eggnog at Christmas time,
French toast with butter and cinnamon sugar,
Ginger ale (stirred until flat) for upset stomachs,
Hamburgers and hot dogs on the 4th of July,
Ice cream? Breyer’s coffee for her and Neapolitan for us,
Junket rennet custard, a slippery, slidey treat,
Ketchup on our meatloaf,
Ladyfingers with fresh strawberries and whipped cream,
Mincemeat pies at the holidays, (eaten only by the grown-ups),
Noodles, broad and buttery,
Oatmeal cookies flavored with lemon,
Potatoes, usually boiled,
Quick bread, mostly date and nut,
Ravioli from Chef Boyardee,
Spaghetti with meat sauce,
Tapioca pudding with cinnamon on top,
Upside down peach cake,
Vanilla pudding made from scratch, served over steamed apples and yellow cake,
Watermelon slices with too many seeds,
10X confectioners sugar dusted on top of lemon pound cake,
Yeast bread warm from the oven with butter melting into it,
Zwieback when we were very young.

Food my mother made for us
Food from A to Zed;
Food she baked and cooked and boiled
To keep her family fed.

~ posted by permission of the author, copyright © Pat Brisson; first appeared at Your Daily Poem, where you can find more of Pat’s poetry.

Strawberry Lady Shortcake via I’m Not a Cook


Pat: I wrote [the poem] in response to a poetry prompt to write an abecedarian. Readers of a certain age say it takes them right back to the 1950’s. I was recently contacted by a museum in South Carolina for permission to use it in an upcoming exhibit, so I’m excited to see what they do with it.

Pat’s poem made me crave my mother’s beef stew, meatloaf, and spaghetti sauce. None required a recipe; each time she made these dishes they turned out a little differently. Still, they were always distinctively hers. I’m thinking most of us could recognize our moms’ food blindfolded.

We thank Pat for permission to share her lipsmacking poem. As an extra treat, she sent along her mother’s recipe for the aforementioned lemon pound cake dusted with 10X confectioner’s sugar. Get busy and make it this weekend! 🙂


Jane McDonough's Pound Cake

  • Servings: 8 to 10
  • Difficulty: average
  • Print


  • 1/2 pound butter
  • 1 lb. box of confectioner’s sugar + a little extra for dusting
  • 4 eggs
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon lemon extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease and flour a 10-inch tube pan.

Cream together the butter and box of confectioner’s sugar until light and fluffy.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating at medium speed after each addition.

Add the flour alternately with the milk, blending well without overbeating.

Add the baking powder and lemon extract. Pour batter into prepared tube pan and bake for 45 minutes or until done.

Dust with confectioner’s sugar when cooled.


Pat Brisson is a children’s book author, primarily of picture books. The Summer My Father Was Ten, won the Christopher Award, given to books which “affirm the highest values of the human spirit” (Boyds Mills Press, 1998, Andrea Shine, illustrator). Her most recent picture book, with gorgeous illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Mary Azarian, is Before We Eat: from farm to table (Tilbury House, Publishers, 2014; 2nd edition, 2018). It is a secular grace before meals, thanking the many people, from farm workers to truck drivers and grocery store clerks, who are involved in getting food to our tables. Her next book from Tilbury will be Common Critters, poems and facts about the bugs, birds and animals we can find in our own backyards (2019). Find out more about Pat’s books at her website www.patbrisson.com.



*rubs hands together*

Excited to have two lucky winners today. Thanks to all who left comments on both posts. 🙂

First, we are very pleased to announce that the winner of a signed copy of Maira Kalman’s CAKE is


And the winner of a signed copy of MONSTER SCHOOL by Kate Coombs and Lee Gatlin is



Please send along your snail mail addresses so we can get the books to you lickety split.

Thanks again to everyone for entering!




The clever and talented Brenda Harsham is hosting the Roundup at Friendly Fairy Tales. Be sure to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being served up in the blogosphere this week. Enjoy your weekend!



Certified authentic alphabetica. Handmade just for you with love and mama’s home cooking.

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**Copyright © 2018 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

36 thoughts on “[tasty poem + recipe] From My Mother’s Kitchen: An Alphabet Poem by Pat Brisson

  1. Ah, Jama….this is a delicious post. Do you ever get tired of reading that? I love Pat’s poem and I like the challenge of using this form for memory. I think I might give it a try. And, that photo of Lady Strawberry Shortcake is simply….well, I have just swallowed about six times looking at it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I echo Linda’s question – do you ever get tired of hearing how delicious your posts are? Well, this one is especially so. 🙂 Ruth, thereisnosuchthingasagodforsakentown.blogspot.com

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I could put a check by every line in Pat’s poem, makes me want to run make tapioca pudding right now! It was a favorite. Thanks, Jama. Perhaps it’s time to make a new grocery list?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As the others have said, delicious! I have never had homemade vanilla pudding over apples and cake, but that sounds like something I want to try. I’m not sure what junket rennet custard is (I’d better go look it up!).

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Congratulations to Pat on this tasty new book! I am loving the 10x confectioner’s sugar… X’s are always the hardest in an abc poem! And that pound cake recipe reminds me of my grandmother’s… very dense and delicious with that splash of lemon…thank you, Jama. xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When it comes to alphabet books or poems, it’s all about the q, x, and z. If the author’s nailed those three letters, the rest usually passes muster.


  6. Love my sister’s poems. This one brought back more then food memories. I could see us all sitting around the supper table in our kitchen eating the simple meal of the day and enjoying dessert. Then there was the dishwashing and drying, no dishwasher in those days, just kids that helped with the clean up. Good poetry, like good food, nourishes body, mind and spirit.Thank you, Pat for the memories and Jama for posting.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So nice of you to read and comment, Mary Beth. I like picturing you and your siblings washing and drying dishes. Your sister is very talented!!


  7. Jama, I really got into Pat’s foodie poem. Memories came flooding back except for ravioli in the can. My grandmother made her own pasta and sauce so we turned our noses up to Chef Boyardee. Thanks for the yummy recipe and the walk down memory lane.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s funny what we all remember — when I was growing up, we rarely had Chef Boyardee or TV dinners — so when we did, it was a special treat. Living in Hawaii, we did eat our share of canned foods, though — mostly Spam, vienna sausage, corned beef, and soup.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Yum! So many delightful comfort foods in this poem. Perfect for the change to chilly weather. I also enjoy writing abecedarians. They allow you to be creative within an imposed structure. I always have trouble with X and Z, though. I like Pat’s creative solutions. Zwieback, of course!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What a delicious poem! And apparently my mom was not the only ladyfinger baker. She would line a springform pan with ladyfingers on the bottom and marching along the sides, fill it with fruit, and top with whipped cream (from a can, of course) and then stick it in the refrigerator. Thanks for taking me back to the time of ladyfingers and crisco…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know — the good old days of Crisco — when we were blissfully uninformed about the dangers of trans fats . . . still makes good pie crust, though.


  10. I just salivated after reading your post. And isn’t that Alphabet Poem just absolutely perfect for your blog, dearest Jama? I will message you soonest on FB, need your advice about something. 🙂


  11. I love abecedarians, too! This one is a yummy trip down memory lane: I’ve inherited my mom’s love of excessive rum in my holiday eggnog, our meatloaf had BACON on the top, we ate cottage cheese with dark Karo syrup and tomato slices with sugar. (I think I need to go make a list of my own…)

    Liked by 1 person

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