*enters kitchen, eats three pieces of chocolate, then takes out the soup pot. . . *
Hello, Cutie Pies!
Yes, we’re finally back. 🙂
It’s so good to know I can type a few words, find you here, and share this small, safe space with you — cause things in this world seem to be getting scarier and more tumultuous with each passing day.
It’s heartbreaking to see what’s happening to our country with everyone fighting and on edge all the time.
We’re exhausted, frustrated, demoralized, fearful. We feel broken and powerless in the face of unmitigated hate, corruption, and greed.
And then there’s the profound sadness — three recent mass shootings, and the loss of Toni Morrison and Lee Bennett Hopkins last month.
What to do? How to cope?
Toni Morrison’s words inspire, ground, and uplift:
This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.
I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence. Like failure, chaos contains information that can lead to knowledge — even wisdom. Like art.
When things feel broken, it’s important to make and create. That’s how to go on. From time immemorial, we’ve depended on artists to interpret the human condition — to show us all the ugliness as well as beauty in the world, and more importantly, to present a vision of what is possible for the future.
So whatever your artist hat — writer, author, editor, poet, painter, illustrator, musician — know that your work is more important than ever. We need you to champion the pure and noble heart of humanity, our invincible hope, and the sustaining power of truth! Know that life itself is a work of art, so make your life the best it can be, in every way, large and small. Whether you’re a teacher, librarian, craftsman, butcher, baker, candlestick maker 🙂 , there’s an art to a job well done. Thanks for what you bring to the table each and every day — especially when the going gets tough!
Here in our cozy kitchen, we’re looking forward to Fall (our favorite season) — with its new books, cooler days, gorgeous colors, and ‘chance to start fresh’ feeling.
Good things this month:
- Alphabet Soup’s 12th Blog Birthday
- September 2: our 41st Wedding Anniversary (I was a child bride) 😀
- September 3: Official release of Read This Book If You Don’t Want a Story by Richard Phillips and Eric Zelz
- September 10: Colin Firth’s 59th birthday (eat crème brûlée)
- September 10: Vole and Troll by Iza Trapani hits shelves
- September 10: Mary Oliver’s birthday (contemplate your one wild and precious life)
- September 17: Mr Cornelius’s bearthday (he’s forever 6, but actually 31)
- September 17: Wild in the Streets: 20 Poems of City Animals by Marilyn Singer and Gordy Wright releases (review coming soon)
- September 17: Finding Treasure by Michelle Schaub and Carmen Saldaña officially out (review coming soon)
- September 20: Downton Abbey movie opens in the U.S. (channel Daisy and Mrs Patmore)
- September 30: What would have been author Alvin Tresselt’s 103rd Birthday (celebrate with a new edition of his 1959 classic, The Smallest Elephant in the World, illustrated by Milton Glaser)
- September 30: Truman Capote’s birthday (watch “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”)
As you can see, Mr Cornelius and the Alphabet Soup kitchen helpers are back to their usual shenanigans — only too happy to play new games, pose for photos, nosh on snacks, and revel in mischief.
They were especially pleased when their new friend Kamala recently dropped by. She loves to cook and enjoys korma and chicken masala — and she’s so smart. We loved hearing stories about when she was little and her mom, Shyamala, baked Special-K cereal cookies for her and her younger sister Maya. Of course the “K” stood for Kamala. 🙂
These days, despite her busy schedule, Kamala makes it a point to cook dinner with her family every Sunday. Her husband Doug wears goggles when he chops onions, and her stepdaughter Ella (who calls her “Momala”), makes fabulous desserts.
Listening to her, we were also reminded that America is a one-of-a-kind soup, an original recipe made from scratch with lots of different flavors and ingredients from many cultures. It’s been simmering for centuries and sometimes boils over, but its essential goodness remains. We just need to remember that it wouldn’t taste the same if certain things were left out.
So, here’s to soup! You can always count on it no matter what. Dip your spoons deep into bowls of wisdom, enlightenment, and memory. Life at its finest is yours for the slurping.
by Timothy Walsh
If enlightenment were a soup,
it would have lentils in it,
lots of lentils and garlic,
slow-cooked with carrots and tomatoes,
with a garnish of fresh parsley.
If pumpkin soup with ginger and nutmeg were a story,
it would tell a tale of olden times
where people lived amid burnished autumn light,
caught up in bittersweet loves and losses,
never fully realizing how quaint and beautiful
were the lives they led.
Other things that could be soups
are memory, music, Christmas and twilight,
For nostalgia, onion soup is best,
since root crops remember.
Can you see how we slurp up enlightenment in spoons?
Can you taste the story in your soup bowl —
the characters, the landscape, and all that happens?
Spoons are shaped to both fit a mouth and carry soup
the way our minds are shaped to anticipate and remember.
In September, if we all put up a few quarts of potato-leek,
it may carry us through till spring.
In honor of his bearthday, Mr Cornelius wants you to have some of this (he loves creating recipes):
Cornelius's Bear Hug Soup
- unconditional love
- 251 cups of kindness
- 28 naps
- 34,013 bars of dark chocolate
- 23 Paddington bear stories (with marmalade)
- 560 fruit pies, warm and flaky
- 89 episodes of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood
- 157 Beatles songs
- 45 polka dot bowties
- 19 pairs of shiny tap shoes
- a baton or two
- 88 dapper top hats
- 72 neatly trimmed mustaches
- Look in the mirror. If you don’t already have a mustache growing on your face, stick one on. Share the other 71 mustaches with grouchy people in the grocery store.
- Eat dark chocolate at hourly intervals, pausing to savor how divine it is.
- Put on a dapper top hat and polka dot bowtie, pick up a baton, and tap dance to an upbeat Beatles tune (e.g., “When I’m Sixty Four,” “For You Blue”).
- Invite Colin Firth, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Roger Federer, Mayor Pete, and James Corden over for tea. Serve warm fruit pies, and ask Colin to read Paddington stories aloud. If Dylan doesn’t talk to you, don’t take it personally.
- Take blissful naps whenever you fancy them.
- If you sense the slightest amount of distress, watch an episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. When you feel calmer, eat more pie.
- Share generous servings of love and kindness whenever possible, remembering what Juliet said to Romeo: “The more I give to thee, the more I have.”
- Feel free to add additional ingredients at any time, as long as they make you or someone else happy.
- Wear an extra large bib while eating this soup. Best served at room temperature with amiable spoons.
- This soup doesn’t freeze well, but magically won’t spoil, no matter how long you leave it out. It will taste just as good whenever you decide to eat some more.
- Optional garnishes: a jigger of Dylan’s Heaven’s Door Tennessee Bourbon, James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke with Paul McCartney, 3 of Anderson Cooper’s giggles, men in tuxedos.
~ Copyright 2019 Cornelius Rattigan, as posted at Jama’s Alphabet Soup.
Mr Cornelius hopes you slurp up his Bear Hug Soup whenever you need a pick-me-up.
Be a light in the darkness, and let’s continue to do what we do best: “We speak, we write, we do language.”
Before you go, please have some cake. Don’t be surprised if you turn into a handsome bear. 🙂
THANK YOU, BLOG READERS!
Poetry Goddesses Janet Wong and Sylvia Vardell are hosting the Roundup at Poetry for Children. Tap dance on over and check out the full menu of poetic goodness being shared around the bloggy world this week. Enjoy your weekend!
This post is also being linked to Beth Fish Reads Weekend Cooking, where all are invited to share their food-related posts. Put on your best bibs and aprons, and come join the feast!
Copyright © 2019 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.