[poems + recipe] playing with pooh

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like ‘What about lunch?’” ~ A.A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh)

Why, hello . . . and brrrrrrrrrr!

Have you been hibernating? Must say your freshly brushed fur looks stunning!

Since we’re feeling quite bearish after our holiday break, today we’re serving up some tea, cookies, and huggable poems to help us get back into the swing of things.

All art by Ernest H. Shepard.

Our friend Pooh is joining us in remembrance of his creator A.A. Milne, born 140 years ago this week.

You probably know the world first “met” Pooh in Milne’s poem, “Teddy Bear” (initially published in Punch Magazine and then republished in his first book of verse, When We Were Very Young (1924)). 

“Teddy Bear” as it appeared in Punch with Shepard’s illustrations (1924).

Though he wasn’t yet named ‘Winnie-the-Pooh,’ there’s no doubt whom Milne was referring to. Though at first worried about his size, Edward Bear comes to embrace his adiposity after a chance meeting with the King of France, who’s not only stout but handsome!

They stood beneath the window there,
The King and Mr. Edward Bear,
And, handsome, if a trifle fat,
Talked carelessly of this and that . . . 

A bear, however hard he tries,
Grows tubby without exercise.
Our Teddy Bear is short and fat,
Which is not to be wondered at.
But do you think it worries him
To know that he is far from slim?
No, just the other way about --
He's proud of being short and stout.
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2021 Poetry Friday Archive

  1. “In Rhapsodic Praise of Biscuits” by Joan Leotta

2. “Still Delighting in Snow” by Richard Greene

3. “The Blue Room” by Brian Doyle

4. “The Toothbrush to the Bicycle Tire” by Sarah Kay

5. Two poems by Pat Schneider

6. “My Heart Cannot Accept it All” by Susan Kinsolving and “How Will This Pandemic Affect Poetry” by Julia Alvarez

7. “Yellow Butterflies Bring Happiness” by Sharon Lusk Munson

8. “Thesaurus” by Billy Collins

9. “9.” by E.E. Cummings and “Sonnet 12” by William Shakespeare

10. “Waters of March” by Tom Jobim

11. KIYOSHI’S WALK by Mark Karlins and Nicole Wong

12. “The Words of Poems” by Carol Ann Duffy + Poetry Friday Roundup

13. Three poems from MARROW OF SUMMER by Andrea Potos

14. Three poems from Make Me Rain by Nikki Giovanni

15. DELICIOUS!: Poems Celebrating Street Food Around the World by Julie Larios and Julie Paschkis

16. IF YOU GO DOWN TO THE WOODS TODAY by Rachel Piercey and Freya Hartas

17. Celebrating the Marvelous Mary Lee with two of her cake abecedarians

18. THE ABCs OF BLACK HISTORY by Rio Cortez and Lauren Semmer

19. “Permanently” by Kenneth Koch

20. “The Blue Garden” by Helen Dunmore

21. “Danny Boy”/A Song for Father’s Day

22. Mary Oliver dog poems

23. HOW TO HELP A PUMPKIN GROW by Ashley Wolff

24. Three Coffee Poems + Coffee Art

25. HARD-BOILED BUGS FOR BREAKFAST: And Other Tasty Poems by Jack Prelutsky and Ruth Chan

26. FOR EVERY LITTLE THING, edited by June Cotner and Nancy Tupper Ling, illustrated by Helen Cann

27. “Pomology” by Kim Roberts

28. “Kid, This is October” by Jeffrey Bean

29. “The Letter A” by Darren Sardelli

30. “Steps” by Frank O’Hara

31. WE LOVE PIZZA by Elenia Beretta

32. “Why I Changed My Name” by Phyllis Wax

33. “Soup Allure” by Nancy Dymond

34. DUMPLING DAY by Meera Sriram and Inés de Antuñano

35. “Bounty” by Robyn Sarah

36. Outlander Celebration: “Porridge” by Spike Milligan, “The Yule Days,” and “A Song for Kilts” by Robert Service

*A permalink to this archive can be found in the sidebar of this blog.

Outlandish Fun with Bannocks and Biscuits, Parritch and Kilts (+ a holiday blog break)

Don your kilts and pour yourself a wee dram.  Today we’re serving up a little festive cheer à la Outlander.

Sláinte Mhath! Cheers!

While others may be channeling elves, sugarplum fairies, and red-nosed reindeer, we in the Alphabet Soup kitchen are getting our Scots on. 

Je suis prest. Et vous?

Ever since experiencing a long Scot summer binge-watching the Outlander TV series and taking a deep dive into Diana Gabaldon’s novels, all we can think about is men in kilts fascinating Scottish history time traveling between the 18th and 20th centuries.

Central characters Claire (Caitriona Balfe) and Jamie (Sam Heughan) contemplate potatoes.

You can really work up an appetite falling through the stones and zipping around places like Boston, Inverness, Edinburgh, Paris, Jamaica, and North Carolina. Thank goodness for the fortifying recipes in Theresa Carle-Sanders’s Outlander Kitchen cookbooks

Based in Pender Island, Canada, chef and diehard Outlander fan Carle-Sanders has done a wonderful job of creating cookbooks true to the series with a blend of historical recipes adapted for modern palates, along with her own creative, period appropriate dishes that reflect two centuries and the cuisines of several different countries (no small feat!). 

Whenever whisky appears in this post, you must sip!

Suffice to say, Gabaldon’s generous bounty of culinary references in the series is a literary feast par excellence. Characters wet their whistles with ale, grog, tea, hot chocolate, brandy, wine, cider, and of course, lots and lots of whisky. 

The Fraser family at the Ridge, North Carolina.

They feast on pheasant, venison, beef, ham, oysters, hares, lamb, chickens, mussels, boar, fish, eels, and haggis, as well as Hershey bars with almonds, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruitcakes, crumblies, tatties, pasties, sausages, nightingales (!) and rolls stuffed with pigeon and truffles, to name a few.

Claire Fraser serves 20th century PBJ sandwiches to her 18th century family (via Outlander Cast).
Jamie eats his with a knife and fork (via Outlander Cast).

Whether a bowl of restorative cock-a-leekie soup cooked in a big kettle outdoors at Lallybroch, or an elaborate, multi-course supper at the Palace at Versailles, Outlander food is its own character, telling stories of people, places, history, culture and heritage. Truly sensory-rich and satisfying! 

Dining at Versailles.

So, are you up for a few poems, a nourishing breakfast, a modest afternoon tea? Relax, enjoy, and give your bagpipes a good squeeze!


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[delectable review] The Whole World Inside Nan’s Soup by Hunter Liguore and Vikki Zhang

A new soup book? Yes, please!

I hope you have a very big spoon, because you’ll need it to slurp up all the goodness. 🙂

The Whole World Inside Nan’s Soup by Hunter Liguore and Vikki Zhang (Yeehoo Press, 2021) takes place in a cozy kitchen, where a young girl asks her grandmother what’s inside the big metal pot she’s stirring.

“Seeds,” says Nanni, prompting the girl to ask, “How can seeds be inside the pot?”

Nanni explains that the seeds grew up to be vegetables, adding that there are also gardeners in the pot. This further arouses the girl’s curiosity; she can’t imagine how gardeners could also be inside the pot.

Winking, Nanni says, “Gardeners, with their gentle hands, planted the seeds that grew up to be vegetables and ended up inside the pot.” Of course Nanni then adds even more ingredients: “soil and rain.”

Their conversation continues in this cumulative tale fashion, as Nanni mentions how rain and sunlight helped the vegetables grow, with honeybees pollinating the flowers.

Then, of course, there are the farm workers who harvested the vegetables, as well as the delivery drivers who transported the veggies to market. They mustn’t forget roads, highways, traffic lights, bridges, waterways, or even the electricity that keeps the town running.

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“Bounty” by Robyn Sarah

“Be present in all things and thankful for all things.” ~ Maya Angelou

by Robyn Sarah

Make much of something small.
The pouring-out of tea,
a drying flower's shadow on the wall
from last week's sad bouquet.
A fact: it isn't summer any more.

Say that December sun
is pitiless, but crystalline
and strikes like a bell.
Say it plays colours like a glockenspiel.
It shows the dust as well,

the elemental sediment
your broom has missed,
and lights each grain of sugar spilled
upon the tabletop, beside
pistachio shells, peel of a clementine.

Slippers and morning papers on the floor,
and wafts of iron heat from rumbling rads,
can this be all? No, look — here comes the cat,
with one ear inside out.
Make much of something small.

~ from A Day's Grace (Porcupine's Quill, 2003)


This contemplative gem by Canadian poet Robyn Sarah is such a lovely meditation on gratitude.

What a beautiful reminder that despite lives often overwhelmed by rush and stress (especially during the holidays), we’re all blessed with a bounty of small miracles.

Focussing on the everyday, the ordinary, what often goes unnoticed — has been my default practice for many years. I enjoyed Robyn Sarah’s vivid images and sensory details (she began with “the pouring-out of tea”)! And how beautiful is that crystalline December sun that strikes like a bell? 

Now, in the spirit of the season, make much of something adorable: “Merry Christmas, Happy New Year” by Ingrid Michaelson and Zoey Deschanel (amazing felt creations by Andrea Love, set and character design by Phoebe Wahl). Stop motion animation at its finest. The entire team did a great job with this. So charming — see if you don’t feel like hugging yourself from all the cuteness. 🙂


Cathy Mere is hosting the Roundup at Merely Day by Day. Skip on over to check out the full menu of poetic goodness being shared around the blogosphere this week. See you next Friday for a big Outlander holiday celebration! 🙂


*Copyright © 2021 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.