cornelius meets hillary: of cookies, chiles, and scrambled eggs

Some of you may know we love talking about Presidential Food here in the Alphabet Soup kitchen.

Whether it’s polishing off a bowl of JFK’s clam chowder, whipping up a batch of George Washington’s hoecakes, or wrapping our lips around Barack Obama’s homemade chili, learning about our leaders’ favorite foods makes them more human and accessible.

I like associating Ronald Reagan with jelly beans, George Bush with pork rinds, Jimmy Carter with peanuts. But what of the first female presidential nominee?

I guess Hillary Rodham Clinton can be summed up this way: she’s a hot pepper and a smart cookie.🙂

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summer blog break

“Garden Soup” by Jane Dyer (Limited Edition print available from R. Michelson Galleries)


It’s time to put our soup on the back burner while we step out of the kitchen for a summer blog break.

Whether you’re planning a vacation or staycation, have fun, stay safe, and eat lots of GOOD FOOD.🙂

Mr Cornelius, the Alphabet Soup kitchen helpers, the 50-something Paddingtons and I wish you a very Happy Summer!



via The Wheatfield

Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

hotTEAs of Children’s Poetry: Guadalupe Garcia McCall

I am a wife and mother of three grown men who will always be my boys! I love to read anything and everything! I have three books out, UNDER THE MESQUITE (Lee & Low Books, 2011) is a contemporary novel-in-verse, SUMMER OF THE MARIPOSAS (Tu Books, 2012), is a fantasy featuring creatures from Mexican mythology, and the upcoming SHAME THE STARS (Tu Books, 2016) is a historical set in 1915 Texas during the Mexican Revolution.


☕ CUPPA OF CHOICE: A good cup of instant Mexican coffee, not too strong, not too mild. With sprinkle of sweetener and a bit of cream. It will wake me up and give me the fortitude to sit down and write!

☕ HOT OFF THE PRESSES: Summer of the Mariposas (Tu Books, 2012); Under the Mesquite (Lee & Low Books, 2011); The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong (Pomelo Books, 2014). Forthcoming: My new book, SHAME THE STARS, is due for publication in September 2016 from Tu Books and I couldn’t be more excited!


☕ FAVE FOODIE CHILDREN’S BOOK: Sip, Slurp, Soup, Soup, Caldo, Caldo, Caldo! by Diane Gonzalez Bertrand and Alex Pardo Delange (Piñata Books, 2008) is my favorite food related book because I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE a good bowl of caldo. Caldo has the power to warm even the coldest heart!

☕ Visit Guadalupe Garcia McCall’s Official Website.

☕☕ JUST ONE MORE SIP: Check out this student video of Guadalupe’s poem “Cicada” from The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science:


☕☕☕ CAN’T GET ENOUGH: Book Trailer for Summer of the Mariposas!


☕☕☕☕ STILL THIRSTY: Wonderful video of Guadalupe discussing the genesis and development of Summer of the Mariposas, which was selected for the 2015 Spirit of Texas Reading Program:



Copyright © 2016 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

loving katrin moye’s beautiful ceramics


In my many years of scoping out flea markets, craft fairs, juried art exhibitions and gift shops, I’ve encountered a lot of ho-hum pottery and ceramics. You’ve probably seen them too — pieces that are nice enough but not distinctive in design or color, pieces that lack a certain je ne sais quoi that makes you stop and take a second look (ho-hum, yawn, moving right along . . . ).

So when I do stumble upon truly exquisite work that sets my heart aflutter, prompting numerous sighs and pangs of longing, it’s cause for celebration. Enter award-winning UK artist-designer-ceramicist Katrin Moye!

Katrin lives and works in Nottingham.


An English and Art History major, Katrin is largely self taught in ceramics. She’s inspired by mid-century decorative art, Scandinavian and Eastern European folk art, and 1970’s childhood memories growing up in England and Germany (mainly textiles, book illustrations, soft furnishings and other domestic paraphernalia). Literary influences include Hans Christian Andersen, Astrid Lindgren, Johanna Spyri’s Heidi, and Alf Proysen.




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a fond farewell to downton abbey

“All this unbridled joy has given me quite an appetite.” ~ Violet


The soufflés are sinking, the puddings are pouting, the meringues have taken to incessant weeping.

I fear much of our “unbridled joy” is rapidly dissipating — Downton Abbey is ending its 6-year run on PBS with the series finale on March 6!

Only one more episode to go. No!😦😦😦

Treated myself to a Crawley family Spode Stafford White cup and saucer just to drown my sorrows.

I’ve been hooked since Season One, Episode 1, only too willing to spend my Sunday evenings with the entire Crawley family at their opulent digs in Yorkshire. Not since the original “Upstairs, Downstairs” (1971-1975) have I been so emotionally invested in the lives of an aristocratic British family and their servants. I find the entire class system fascinating, rooting for those who would dare defy the established social order, sympathetic to characters grappling with changes beyond their control.

Today serving Mrs. Patmore’s Pudding Tea: “This decadent dessert tea has the homemade flavors of vanilla cake drizzled with rich caramel sauce.” Good afternoon tea, a perfect pairing with puddings, scones, and shortbread.

Indeed, when I first started watching Downton, I was instantly reminded of “Upstairs, Downstairs.” The time periods somewhat overlapped, with UD beginning about a decade before the sinking of the Titanic and ending in 1930. Both series revealed interesting aspects of post-Edwardian social life set against significant historical events. Instead of Mrs Patmore there was Mrs Bridges, instead of Daisy, there was kitchen maid Ruby. Bellamy son James marries his secretary Hazel as Crawley daughter Sybil marries chauffeur Tom Branson — both compelling, frowned-upon liaisons championing the triumph of true love over all impediments.

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