summertime mixed plate

by Marjorie Mayes via They Draw and Cook (click to enlarge)

Feeling a little peckish for you don’t know what?

For your nibbling and noshing pleasure:

1. “How to Eat Like Your Favorite Authors” from Flavorwire. Fitzgerald’s suggestions for turkey leftovers are hee-larious. Gotta make Emily Dickinson’s Coconut Cake sometime.

F. Scott Fitzgerald via Flavorwire

2. Three cool new-to-me blogs that have got me drooling and thinking, thinking and drooling:

  • Paper and Salt: “Part historical discussion, part food and recipe blog, part literary fangirl-ing, Paper and Salt attempts to recreate and reinterpret the dishes that iconic authors discuss in their letters, diaries, essays, and fiction.”
  • Eat This Poem: “Eat This Poem is a collection of recipes inspired by poetry (and occasionally, a pinch of prose) . . . In just a few lines, poetry can illuminate the seemingly small and insignificant moments in our lives and remind us that all the little things matter.”
  • Fictional Food: ” Fictional Food is a blog dedicated to both cooking fictional food and posting about fictional food around the internet. While books are the primary focus, television, game, and movie foods are also featured.”

3. Alimentum: The Literature of Food has discontinued its print journal, but in early July launched a completely revamped website. I’ve subscribed to this unique publication in the past and am happy that I’ll be able to read all their great content (fiction, nonfiction, poetry, book reviews, art) online. The Art Gallery currently features the work of Damon Belanger, who created this neato tarot card:

4. I’m always up for an England fix, and really enjoyed the series of posts Susan Branch wrote about her recent trip. She’s a fellow teapot, Beatrix Potter, and English garden lover and her posts are full of beautiful photographs, watercolors, and heartfelt descriptions of all the wonders that inspire her life and work. This time around she toured the Bridgewater Pottery factory as well as Potter’s Hill Top Farm in the Lake District.

5. Good news for children’s poetry lovers: Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong have edited another ebook collection called, The Poetry Friday Anthology. The book includes a poem a week for the whole school year (K-5) with curriculum connections provided for each poem, each week, each grade level — 218 poems by 75 poets. Available September 1, 2012 — just in time for the 2012-13 school year!

6. Heads up! Happy to see two brand new awards championing cultural diversity in children’s and young adult literature:

*Tu Books, the fantasy, science fiction, and mystery imprint of LEE & LOW BOOKS, award-winning publisher of children’s books, is pleased to announce the first annual NEW VISIONS AWARD. The NEW VISIONS AWARD will be given for a middle grade or young adult fantasy, science fiction, or mystery novel by a writer of color. The Award winner receives a cash grant of $1000 and their standard publication contract, including their basic advance and royalties for a first time author. An Honor Award winner will receive a cash grant of $500. Click here for all the details. Submission deadline: October 30, 2012.

**Just announced August 5th is the ON-THE-VERGE EMERGING VOICES AWARD, sponsored by the SCBWI with funding from Martin and Sue Schmitt of the 455 Foundation. The grant was created to foster the emergence of diverse voices in children’s books, and will be given to two writers or illustrators who are from an ethnic and/or cultural background that is traditionally under-represented in children’s literature in America.

The two winners will each receive an all-expenses paid trip to the SCBWI Winter Conference in NYC to meet with editors and agents, a press release to publishers, a year of free membership to the SCBWI, and an SCBWI mentor for a year. Deadline for submissions: November 15, 2012. Complete manuscripts only via email. More details here.

7. Just in case you’re suffering from a little Downton Abbey withdrawal, check out these lovely on-set photos from Season 3 filming in the Oxfordshire countryside via Marie Claire. Those of us in the U.S. have to wait until January 6, 2013 to see the new series. Sigh. That’s a long time to wait.

In the meantime, we can plan a little Downton Abbey Emmy Party. Did you hear DA earned 16 Emmy noms? Pamela at Downton Abbey Cooks offers some great suggestions for DA-inspired entertaining. Which recipe should I try? The Emmys will air on September 23rd.

8. Want:

Publisher’s description:

“In 1784, Thomas Jefferson struck a deal with one of his slaves, 19-year-old James Hemings. The founding Father was traveling to Paris and wanted to bring James along “for a particular purpose” – to master the art of French cooking. In exchange for James’s cooperation, Jefferson would grant his freedom.

Thus began one of the strangest partnerships in U.S. history. As James apprenticed under master French chefs, Jefferson studied the cultivation of French crops (especially grapes for winemaking) so they might be replicated in American agriculture. The two men returned home with such marvels as pasta, French fries, champagne, macaroni and cheese, crème brûlée, and a host of other treats. This narrative nonfiction book tells the fascinating story behind their remarkable adventure – and includes 12 of their original recipes!”

Read this interesting post about the book at Food and Think,

Coming September 18, 2012!

* * *

Okey dokey. That should give you somethin’ to chew on for awhile. Oh, alright. Have some of my peach almond tart. I’ve noticed that you’re always hungry. Yes I have.


Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

we have a winner (i think)!

So, I was very excited to see who would win a copy of Jo Knowles’s  fabulous new book, See You at Harry’s (Candlewick, 2012).

But a strange thing happened when I entered the kitchen.

“Greetings! Mr. Generator at your service, Miss.”

As you may know, recently I’ve called upon the very reliable, ever steady Mr. Random Integer Generator to pick giveaway winners to avoid any jealousy riots strikes ugly kerfuffles involving the furry kitchen helpers. They all love giveaways and they all want to pick the winners.

Calling upon Mr. Generator therefore makes perfect sense. He is perfectly objective and does not wear fur, nor does he ever hold a grudge. Usually it is easy to spot him in his meticulously groomed mustache and stylish bowler hat.

But I don’t recall Mr. Generator ever sporting moose antlers (I did like that he called me, “Miss,” ever so polite). Before I could question him further, I was confronted with this:

“Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Generator reporting for duty!”

And then this:

“Don’t listen to those imposters. I’m the real Mr. Generator!”
“No, I am!”

Mr. Generators crawling out of the woodwork!

Wait! (I came to my senses.)

If any of you really are Mr. Generator, where are your bowler hats??!!

“We took them off. It’s impolite to wear hats indoors.”

Hmmmmm. Good point.

Then one of them tried to bribe me with this:

“Strawberry sundae?”

He looked strangely familiar. Excellent mustache.

I decided to ponder further while eating the bribe.

I knew that if I singled out any one of these rascals I’d have a riot on my hands for sure. Oh, Mr. Generator, the real Mr. Generator, please give me a sign!

Knock knock!

Why, hello. Yes, a nice mustache AND a bowler hat. Thank goodness you’re here at last, Mr. Generator!

I gave our wayward guest the names of all the entrants and their ice cream flavors. The information was processed with an extra helping of panache. After precisely 4 minutes and 28 seconds, one lucky commenter was selected.

*Drum roll, please!*

I’m happy to announce that the winner of a brand new copy of See You at Harry’s is —


Please send your snail mail address to: readermail (at) jamakimrattigan (dot) com, so we can get your prize out to you.

A BIG THANKS to everyone for entering the giveaway. Great choice of ice cream flavors — I imagine all of them are available at Harry’s. ☺

“Hey, wait a minute! That’s not Mr. Generator. That looks like my Aunt Lucy!”

Oh no, here we go . . .


*Drum Roll copyright © 2009 Lisa Slavid, via Peadoodles.

Copyright © 2012 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

poetry friday roundup schedule (september-december 2011)

Join us for Poetry Friday!

Share anything poetry related — original or favorite poems by others, poetry book reviews, musings, teaching ideas, videos, even song lyrics! Read Susan Thomsen’s article at the Poetry Foundation to learn more. Leave your link with the designated host each week.

Here’s the Roundup Schedule for the rest of 2011:

16 Amy at The Poem Farm
23 Anastasia at Picture Book of the Day
7 Mary Ann at Great Kid Books
14 david elzey at FOMAGRAMS
21 Jama at alphabet soup
28 Diane at Random Noodling
11 April Halprin Wayland at Teaching Authors
2 Carol at Carol’s Corner
16 Kate at Book Aunt
23 Dori at Dori Reads
30 Julie at The Drift Record

these libraries need your help!

We were very lucky not to have experienced any flood damage from Hurricane Irene here in our part of Virginia, but there are libraries in upstate New York and Vermont who’ve suffered devastating damage and still need lots of help.

Author Kate Messner has done a fantastic job of keeping everyone updated on the relief efforts for the Wells Memorial Library in Upper Jay, New York, and the West Hartford Library in Vermont, which lost its entire children’s collection. There are many ways to help, including sending a check directly to the libraries involved, contributing to a library gift card at The Bookstore Plus, or, if you are an author or illustrator, contributing a signed book for a fundraiser to be held in October.

So far, the response has been terrific, with donations coming in from all over the world. I was about to send a box of books to Upper Jay, but have decided to hold off for now, as they are worried about storage space and the potential for more flooding. As Kate mentions in this update, the best way to help right now is by sending a check or by calling the bookstore to order a recommended book or by contributing to the library gift card. If you haven’t already done so, please click here to read Kate’s posts about the libraries, with full details about how to help.

cooking 4 kids recipe contest

Have you entered the Cooking 4 Kids Recipe Contest yet? Nate and Salli at They Draw and Cook (a very cool website featuring illustrated recipes from all over the world) with, are accepting entries of illustrated kid-friendly recipes until September 12, 2011. That’s right! Think of something kids love to eat and put your artsy spin on it. First Prize is $500, a copy of the forthcoming  They Draw and Cook book, and an Supporting Membership. Top 25 entries will be showcased at and uploaded to greatbigcanvas where they’ll be available for purchase.

Here’s one of my favorites (click on image for larger view):

Raspberry Jam by Alison Kolesar

Isn’t it great? Can’t wait for the new book to come out in October, which features 107 illustrated recipes from all over the world. Click on the image to pre-order:

For full details about the Cooking 4 Kids Contest, click here.

Have a delicious week!

♥ read ♥ write ♥ cook ♥ smile ♥ eat ♥ sing ♥ dance ♥ doodle ♥ paint ♥