[tasty review + recipe] Be More Vegan by Niki Webster

Whether you’re hoping to go full-tilt vegan, thinking about trying something new, or are just looking to cut back on meat and dairy, Niki Webster’s Be More Vegan: The Young Person’s Guide to Going (A Bit More) Plant-Based! (Welbeck, 2021) is the book for you.

The “young person” in the title suggests this book is just for teens, but adults will also find much to love in this upbeat introductory guide. Webster, a certified holistic health coach, food consultant, and acclaimed vegan food blogger, establishes from the outset that veganism doesn’t necessarily have to be an all-or- nothing choice. Being “more vegan” — regardless of how you choose to define “more” — is a positive step towards personal well being, animal welfare and a thriving planet.

Niki Webster photo by Katie Palmer Photography

The book opens with Webster introducing herself and explaining why she’s a vegan. As a child, she didn’t like meat and refused to eat it. She just felt eating animals was wrong. After developing a milk intolerance, her “fussy eater” diet became even more restrictive, so in her teens she began cooking for herself, experimenting with and discovering foods she liked to eat.

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poetry friday roundup is here!

Welcome to Poetry Friday at Alphabet Soup!

Please help yourself to a friendly cup of hot chocolate and a yummy cookie. If you’ve been extra good this week, take two. 🙂

I think many of you would agree that October is the best autumn month. September can be a little too warm, the vestiges of summer dragging its feet, while November can have its grey, gloomy moments, inviting melancholy. Once we’re past Thanksgiving and rushing headlong into December, we’ve switched into holiday shopping mode, which doesn’t feel autumnal at all.

But October? Peak color, chipper mornings, deep blue skies, the anticipation of Halloween. Kids are happy in October dunking for apples, carving pumpkins, and fulfilling their wishes to dress up as anyone or any thing as they go trick-or-treating.

This month I was happy to discover Jeffrey Bean, a new-to-me Michigan poet who’s written a series of direct address poems beginning with “Kid, this is . . . “

Try this one on for size.


“Autumn’s Window” by Loré Pemberton

you can make the maples blaze
just by stopping to look,
you can set your clock to the barks
of geese. Somewhere the grandfathers
who own this town lean down to iron
crisp blue shirts, their faces bathing
in steam, and blackbirds
clamor in packs,
make plans behind corn.

You know this,
you were born whistling
at crackling stars, you snap
your fingers and big turtles
slide out of rivers to answer.

You can swim one more time
in the puddle of sun
in your water glass, taste icicles
already in the white crunch
of your lunch apple. Go
to sleep. I’ll put on my silver suit
and chase the sky into the moon.

~ from The Missouri Review, February 2016
via Madison Safer

About this poem, Jeffrey says:

One thing I love about being a parent is the way it wakes me up to the sensory details of the world. As a father of a five-year-old, I find myself trying to see through my daughter’s eyes, and in doing so I pay even more attention than usual to corn, turtles, flocks of blackbirds, maples, apples, water, etc., noticing the beauty as well as the strangeness in these things. In the series of “kid” poems from which “Kid, this is October” comes, I like the way the mode of direct address allows the father-speaker to catalog many such details in the form of advice, encouragement, pseudo-fables, or, in the case of this poem, as a kind of lullaby. He wants the kid to open up to the world as much as possible and he also wants the kid to go to sleep, which pretty much sums up my experiences with parenthood so far. What has been most interesting to me in writing these poems is the way it puts me in touch with my own childhood. It has made me realize how crucial imagination has been in my life as a kid and how crucial it continues to be in my life as a father.

~ from The Missouri Review, February 2016

It’s the same world, but we all see, hear, and feel it differently thanks to the mind’s eye. That’s our human super power, but often we need children to remind us of it.

And now, Kid, This is Mr. Linky. Feed him your poetic goodness. 🙂



Enjoy your meanderings around the blogosphere, engage in a little fall folderol this weekend, and have a Happy Halloween next Sunday.

Help yourself to a treat.
Caramel, anyone?
Thanks for joining us!

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

karen hoepting’s whimsical world

Go ahead. Reach for a pretty cuppa. I’m sure the butterflies won’t mind. Which one is your favorite? 

What a treat to be able to drink in Canadian artist Karen Hoepting’s rich, vibrant colors and inventive compositions!

Karen was born on a farm in rural Ontario, where, from a young age, she and her siblings wiled away the hours drawing and painting. Living in the country, it’s no surprise that Karen’s favorite subjects were animals, which she tried to draw as realistically as possible.

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a tasty bite of “Pomology” by Kim Roberts

Have you ever received a cryptic message, only to spend the next few minutes trying to figure out what it actually means?

D.C. area poet Kim Roberts received a text from her housemate that inspired her to write this witty, intriguing poem. So much depends on the sender . . . and what the receiver wants to hear. 🙂

“Still Life with Apple II” by Jos Van Riswick (oil on panel)
by Kim Roberts

I will eat the apple
read Stephen’s note this morning.
He is volunteering to play Eve.

He wrote, I will eat the apple
—but there are no apples in the house.
We have no lascivious Honeycrisp,

no bonny Braeburn, no upright Baldwin.
We’re out of spry Granny Smiths,
the skulking Northern Spy,

or the mysterious Pink Lady.
Stephen does have an Adam’s apple
and I have an Apple computer,

but you can’t compare apples and oranges.
The note said, I will eat the apple.
Perhaps Stephen’s chasing out the doctors.

Perhaps he’s not falling far from the tree.
Or he’s already eaten from the tree of knowledge:
in Latin, malum means both apple

and evil. I think Stephen is sending a warning.
He means, I will protect you.
He writes, I will eat the apple.

~ Originally published in Poem-a-Day, August 2017 by the Academy of American Poets
“Adam and Eve” by Edvard Munch (1909)


“Apples in a Basket” by Levi Wells Prentice (oil on canvas)

This is just to say, I’m happy Kim figured out what Stephen was trying to tell her, but . . . what if the sender had been one of my poet friends? What were they really trying to tell me?

I will eat the apple (we seem to be out of plums) ~ William Carlos Williams

I will eat the apple (I have had too much of apple-picking) ~ Robert Frost

I will eat the apple (peaches are too risky) ~ T.S. Eliot

I will eat the apple (that is all ye need to know) ~ John Keats

I will eat the apple (to peel or not to peel, that is the question) ~ Shakespeare

I will eat the apple (judge tenderly of me) ~ Emily Dickinson

I will eat the apple (a man and a woman and an apple are one) ~ Wallace Stevens

I will eat the apple (a strain of the Earth’s sweet being in the beginning in Eden’s garden) ~ Gerard Manley Hopkins

I will eat the apple (be astonished and tell about it) ~ Mary Oliver

I will eat the apple (to follow my inner moonlight) ~ Allen Ginsberg

I will eat the apple (like a complete unknown)~ Bob Dylan

I will (not only)eat (but hold in my heart) the apple – E. E. Cummings

Now, when Mr Cornelius writes, I will eat the apple,

I know he actually means, I will eat the apple galette.

Want one? 🙂


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nine cool things on a tuesday

1. October, October, how we love October! This week we’re basking in some of Loré Pemberton’s autumnal art.

We featured Loré on a Cool Things Roundup last year, but since we love her work so much, we couldn’t wait to share more. You may remember she’s based in Cold Hollow, Vermont, where she creates her warm and homey acrylic and gouache paintings in the northern woods.

I love the rich detail in her pieces and her earthy palette, just perfect for this time of year. Everything gold, brown, rustic and woodsy. Mr Cornelius would like to visit all the places and meet all the animals she features in her pictures.

For lots more, visit Loré’s Official Website and Etsy Shop.


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