Don your kilts and pour yourself a wee dram. Today we’re serving up a little festive cheer à la Outlander.
While others may be channeling elves, sugarplum fairies, and red-nosed reindeer, we in the Alphabet Soup kitchen are getting our Scots on.
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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!
So, are you up for a few poems, a nourishing breakfast, a modest afternoon tea? Relax, enjoy, and give your bagpipes a good squeeze!
“I like my name pronounced by your lips in a grateful, happy accent.” ~ Charlotte Brontë
WHY I CHANGED MY NAME
by Phyllis Wax
My father-in-law calls me Lois,
his other son’s wife.
Mail comes addressed to
Phyllis R. or Phyllis M. Wax.
I don’t have a middle initial.
My daughters call me Mom,
my sons-in-law Mother.
To my grandchildren I’m Meme.
To the waitress at the diner
I’m Honey or Dear.
Some people confuse me
with my good friend. To them
Today the mailman brought
some coupons for Yolanda Wax.
I kind of like that.
Please call me Yolanda.
~ as posted at Your Daily Poem, October 2021
Had a good laugh reading Phyllis’s Yolanda’s poem. Talk about being able to relate!
Who hasn’t been called all kinds of different names? Maybe we’ve been given special nicknames by family or friends (Auntie Ella called me “Jade,” Lindsay called me “Eloise,” Tanita calls me “jama-j”). Perhaps our significant others use pet names or terms of endearment (Len calls me “Lulu,” “Curly Top,” “Cutie,” or “Shirley” — I call him “Digby”).
Of course many names are shortened for ease or familiarity: “Bob/Bobby” for Robert, “Dick” for Richard, “Liz/Betty/Betsy” for Elizabeth, “Sam” for Samantha. I’ll never understand “Jack” for John or “Harry” for Henry, though. Why not name him Jack to begin with?
To whet your appetite, wrap your lips around the title poem:
Hard-Boiled Bugs for Breakfast
Hard-boiled bugs for breakfast,
Hard-boiled bugs for lunch,
Hard-boiled bugs at suppertime,
Crunchy! Crunchy! Crunch!
Hard-boiled bugs are tastier
Than spiders, flies, or slugs.
There’s not a doubt about it --
I love those hard-boiled bugs.
Pretty tasty as long as you don’t get bug legs stuck in your teeth. 😀
Whether you’re a seasoned Prelutsky fan or a curious nibbler with an uncanny appetite for riotous rhymes, inventive wordplay, and preposterously punny poems, this chewy collection of over 100 verses is for you.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not all about food. Though there’s a respectable smorgasbord of kooky cuisine, kids will find oodles of other subjects infused with Prelutsky’s signature whackadoodle humor to get them giggling and nodding their heads in recognition — poems about faking illness to skip school, lamenting homework, growing light bulbs in a garden, being allergic to your pets, being forgetful or a chronic complainer, even cautionary quips about squeezing electric eels or being carried away by giant bubble gum (there’s a giant Easter Bunny too).
Animals, real and imaginary, also get their fair share of the spotlight. Consider a lizard who can play the mandolin, an inch-tall, pink-tinted purple-dotted elephant who can tie her trunk in knots and play the violin with her tail, a giraffe that gives voice lessons, or a horse that floats in the air. Who wouldn’t love to have any of these pets?
“We begin in infancy by establishing correspondence of eyes with eyes.” ~ Robert Frost
FRAGMENTARY BLUE by Robert Frost
Why make so much of fragmentary blue In here and there a bird, or butterfly, Or flower, or wearing-stone, or open eye, When heaven presents in sheets the solid hue?
Since earth is earth, perhaps, not heaven (as yet) — Though some savants make earth include the sky; And blue so far above us comes so high, It only gives our wish for blue a whet.
Most days I can’t decide what to worry about most: Coronavirus? Evil President and his cohorts? Economic collapse? Climate change? Gun violence? The total dismantling of our democracy?
As the old saying goes, when things get tough, the tough gaze at blue eyes . . . 😀
Recently I’ve been peering at pretty peepers, relishing the fragmentary blue of the “open eye.” Therein lies history, mystery, emotion. Wishes held, secrets kept. Sometimes the weight and joy of humanity.
Wider than the sky, deeper than the sea, lost in soulful windows of blueness is where I want to be.
One could say Blue Eyes are my drug of choice. I like making much of those glimpses of heaven.
My infatuation with iridescent indigo irises dates back to childhood. When I was around five, my father tested out his new tape recorder by asking me a few questions. I didn’t know how tall I was, but was certain of one thing:
“I have blue eyes.”
Well, now. You must understand that when you’re Asian, blue eyes are quite the novelty. Everybody I knew had brown eyes. Pretty boring. Maybe I had seen someone with blue eyes in one of my Golden Books. I wanted those, and saying I had them made it so.