happy 4th birthday, alphabet soup . . .

And Hello, Shiny New Blog!

Welcome, new readers, and thank you, old friends, for following us here (I imagine you were lured by the aroma of sugary buttercream, decadent dark chocolate and shy strawberry). I’ve always admired your incomparably keen olfactories. ☺

Can’t think of a better way to celebrate a blog birthday than by moving into a brand new cyber kitchen. The fur-clad sous chefs and I are having fun practice-cooking and sniffing out all the shiny new buttons and toys features here on WordPress. As much as we loved our LiveJournal kitchen, things over there were getting a little too hairy, so we decided it was time to find a new place to play.

Hard to believe that since 2007, I’ve written over 1000 posts, uploaded over 7000 images, and consumed 3,457 a few cupcakes. Yes, many sacrifices were made along the way — visiting bakeries and restaurants, trying out poetic recipes, stalking meeting cookbook authors, and scientifically analyzing the correlation between dark chocolate and writing productivity.

Ah, but it was worth it, every last guzzle and crumb, because it was all for YOU — the best looking, hungriest smartest, most congenial readers in the entire blogosphere. Thank you for everything you’ve taught me. Writing for a blog audience is quite different from anything I’ve ever done before. It’s an ongoing challenge to maintain the discipline needed to cook up palatable content on a regular basis, and I’ve learned the importance of trusting one’s instincts. In the end, you have to simply be yourself, be honest, and have faith that it will be enough.

Only through blogging could one encounter dancing chickens, discover teddy bear bento, taste Olivia Walton’s applesauce cake (there’s booze in the frosting!), and ponder those intriguing bumps on the surface of French macarons. I still get a little giddy thinking about interviewing rock star children’s lit people like Lee Bennett Hopkins and Marla Frazee, and continue to marvel at the untold generosity of the kidlit community.

It’s been a blast meeting some of you in person — food was always part of the plan, of course! The world’s best baker made a lemon cake in the alphabet soup kitchen last year, while his wife, a notable Coretta Scott King Honor author, pranced about with reckless abandon in teddy bear slippers. Recently I shared some mini carrot cake cupcakes with a brilliant author/poet in the beautiful Connecticut River Valley, and had dinner with another dear writer friend in the 18th century tavern where Thomas Jefferson held his inaugural ball.

Food, history, books, people — ingredients that continually spice up my life soup. Blogging has piqued my passion for seeking out more food in fiction. What are those characters eating and why? (I don’t fully trust a character who never eats anything.) And what was the author eating while he/she was writing the book? A simple bowl of porridge, with its socio-economic, cultural overtones, tells a story all its own, and I love tracking down each and every spoonful through time and space.

An enthusiastic observer, chronicler, fledgling food historian and detective, I am lucky to be so well fed, but will always hunger for more. And how I love to dish it up! The table is set and I see you’re wearing a killer bib. Have as many cupcakes as you like, thanks again for the company, and bring on the 5th course of alphabet soup!


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