beatrix part two: of guinea pigs, nursery rhymes and cupcakes

Today we are honored to welcome a very special guest to Alphabet Soup: the one and only Amiable Guinea-pig!

After reading and reviewing Beatrix Potter and the Unfortunate Tale of a Borrowed Guinea Pig by Deborah Hopkinson and Charlotte Voake (Schwartz & Wade, 2016), we felt a tasty homage to this dapper little fellow was definitely in order.

Peter Rabbit gets a lot of attention, as does Miss Tiggy-Winkle, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Jeremy Fisher, Tom Kitten and Squirrel Nutkin. In fact, they all have their own little books written about them. But not the Amiable one, who was actually the first guinea pig in Miss Potter’s work. She wrote a clever limerick about him that appeared in Appley Dapply’s Nursery Rhymes (1917).

But one limerick does not a book make. Wouldn’t you feel a little slighted? To add insult to injury, initially Miss Potter’s publisher Frederick Warne & Co. wasn’t that keen on the Appley Dapply rhyme collection, which she had hoped to publish following the release of The Tale of Peter Rabbit in 1902.

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foodie field trip: sprinkles cupcakes in georgetown

Let’s talk cupcakes!

This past weekend, I tried six, count ’em, six, different cupcake flavors at the new Sprinkles in Georgetown. I’d been wanting to try them ever since the Spring of 2010, when I first began pigging out researching cupcakes and learned Sprinkles was the first shop of its kind in the world.

Before Sprinkles opened in the DC area in March (first one on the East Coast), I’d read about how Candace and Charles Nelson gave up their high power investment banking careers to open their original cupcake-only boutique bakery in Beverly Hills. Of course, seeing Candace as a judge on Food Network’s Cupcake Wars just made me curiouser and curiouser.

Just how good could her cupcakes be, that the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Katie Holmes and Barbra Streisand just can’t get enough of them? And, to sweeten the batter a bit more, how would Sprinkles fare and compare, plunking themselves smack dab in the middle of  Georgetown Cupcake territory?

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a little cupcake fix

Look what’s coming out in November!

Seems like there’s no stopping Sophie and Katherine of  Georgetown Cupcake. The sisters who left the corporate world to open “a little cupcake shop” are publishing a book about their meteoric rise to fame and success.

I remember well visiting their tiny jewel box cupcakery shortly after it opened on W. Potomac Street in 2008. Since then, their signature cupcakes have been buzzed and blitzed by the national media, they’ve moved to a larger location in Georgetown, opened a second shop in Bethesda, launched a nationwide shipping operation, and landed a TLC reality series called “DC Cupcakes,” which premiered in the summer of 2010. The show was so popular, the 2011 series featured twice as many episodes. Not bad for two girls who learned to bake from their Greek grandmother and hoped to sell about 100 cupcakes a day (they now sell about 5,000).

Can’t wait to read The Cupcake Diaries!

Meanwhile, I wanted to tell you about the DC Cupcakes mug I got this past Spring. When I first saw it on Georgetown Cupcake’s Facebook Page, I thought, “Just what I need, another mug.” We have a gazillion mugs in this house, with no place to store them. But the cupcake pattern looked so cute (it features all 18 of Georgetown Cupcake’s flavors), and I couldn’t resist.

Well, now it’s my favorite mug — very nicely made, good size (holds about 12 oz., I think), the colors are crisp and the glaze is beautifully smooth. Most important, the cup is comfortable in my hand, and whatever I drink out of it tastes even better ☺.

There’s more! After checking the TLC Store, I noted some other DC Cupcakes merchandise (aprons, t-shirts, bookpacks, etc.) and decided to order some of these spiral notebooks:

The perfect place to record sweet thoughts and foodie story ideas, no? Don’t worry, I plan to give some away as gifts, too.

Well, just thought you might enjoy this little cupcake fix. BTW, I haven’t been back to Georgetown Cupcake in about a year because it’s so crowded — there’s always a long, long line snaking down the street. Enjoy Part 1 of  “Mardi Gras,” from the TLC Series and have an extra sweet day:


Copyright © 2011 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

lisa schroeder is having fun with cupcakes!

Okay, this has got to be the cutest book promo idea we’ve seen in a long time. Children’s/YA author Lisa Schroeder is posting “fun with cupcakes” videos on her website every Tuesday and Thursday leading up to the September 20th release of her new middle grade novel, Sprinkles and Secrets, the much awaited sequel to the utterly delicious It’s Raining Cupcakes (which we celebrated here).

Where she got the adorable cupcake costume we’ll never know, but she sure looks cute in it. Check out her antics in the first two videos — and don’t forget to keep checking her website every week for more!




Have a sweet day!! ♥



♥ macarons: love at first bite ♥

      Nelle coveting the box.

I’d been hearing people rave about macarons on food blogs for months on end.

I read about the intense passion, the pilgrimmages to Paris pâtisseries, the unprecedented cultish status of this French sandwich cookie, and I thought, "how good could it possibly be?"

Well, now I know.

Look at me! Yesterday, an innocent child chasing cupcakes. Today, a sophisticated mademoiselle of meringue! My eyelids are fluttering, my pulse ever quickens, my face flushes at the thought of yet another sweet encounter.

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