orange crush!

*Especially for orange lovers Julia Denos and Sara Lewis Holmes.

Pippi by Meanest Indian/flickr


Sonia Luna/flickr

Thomas Hawk/flickr

Sofia Katariina/flickr

laura the artist/flickr

Orange Cream Dessert Squares recipe at

Orange Cream Soda Pop Cupcakes by vanessacontessa/flickr.




Cheers, Dahlings! Do you know I have a crush on you?

Hope you have a colorful adventure or two today ☺!

Carrot Soup by digiyesica/flickr.

the soup maker

**More Color posts here.

Copyright © 2010 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

friendly day soup recipe

“Let’s go and see everybody,” said Pooh. “Because when you have been walking in the wind for miles, and you suddenly go into somebody’s house, and he says, ‘Hallo, Pooh, you’re just in time for a little smackerel of something,’ and you are, then it’s what I call a Friendly Day.” ~ A.A. Milne, The House at Pooh Corner

Hallo, my windblown, winter-weary but eternally good-looking friends! Are you out of hibernation yet?

Just in case you’re in dire need of a little smackerel of something, I’ve cooked up a special batch of Pea-Bean Alphabet Soup, with a recipe from the new and revised Winnie-the-Pooh Cookbook (Dutton, 2010).

Is anyone familiar with older editions of this cookbook — one with recipes by Katie Stewart (Methuen, 1971) and the other with Virginia Ellison’s recipes (Dutton, 1969)? I have not seen Ellison’s older edition, and wondered whether the Pea-Bean Alphabet Soup recipe was in it, or if it was newly added this time around. Years ago, I purchased the Katie Stewart edition in London; looks like different culinary writers were used for the British and American versions. Cool, but a little confusing, since both books have the exact same cover.

In any case, the new Pooh Cookbook, just released in October 2010, is quite lovely, as it contains full color illustrations from Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner, as well as the eight original pen-and-ink drawings by Ernest H. Shephard commissioned by Dutton in 1966. Like its predecessors, the new cookbook is sprinkled throughout with excerpts from both Pooh books and features approximately 60 tasty recipes, all guaranteed to feel yummy in your tummy: Breakfasts, Smackerels, Elevenses & Teas, Provisions for Picnics & Expotitions, Lunches & Suppers, Desserts & Party Recipes, Winter Delights and Honey Sauces.

My Katie Stewart cookbook contains things like Chocolate Rock Cakes, Honey and Raisin Scones, Cottleston Pie, Bread and Butter Pudding and Watercress Sandwiches, etc., but it doesn’t have any soups! So I was tickled pink to find three soups in Ellison’s new book: Tomato, Corn and Shrimp Chowder, and the aforementioned Alphabet Soup, which got my full attention right away. ☺

I cheated a little on the recipe, making it in the crock pot rather than simmering it on the stove, so my finished product probably wasn’t as thick as the stove version. But that’s the beauty of soup — it’s hard to ruin, allows for all kinds of experimentation and variation in ingredients, and always hits the spot. The resident bears had fun adding the alphabet pasta and spelling out the characters’ names. Hope you’ll try this hearty soup sometime; while it’s cooking you can read a Pooh story, and once you’ve had some soup, you’ll be all set, tiddely-pom and tra-la-la, rum-tum-tiddle-um-tum.

(makes approx. 10 servings)

3 T each of dried beans, such as red, Great Northern, garbanzos, pintos, or black for a total of 15 tablespoons
5 T lentils
4 T split peas, green or yellow
2 quarts water
2 beef bones, marrow or shank, with a little meat on them
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cups canned tomatoes
6 sprigs parsley, chopped fine, leaves and stems
1/2 cup alphabet noodles
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cover the beans and peas in water and soak for 3 hours or longer.

2. Drain and rinse with fresh water.

3. In a pot with a tight-fitting lid, cover the beans, peas, and lentils with 2 quarts of water and add the meat bones, onion, and parsley. Bring to a boil.

4. Add the tomatoes, and simmer until the peas disappear and the beans are tender, about 2 hours.

5. During the last 10 minutes of simmering, add the alphabet noodles.

6. Put in plenty of P’s for Pooh and Piglet and the initials or letters of your own name.

7. Remove the bones and any meat that has cooked free of them. Dice the meat and return to the soup.


“Do you know what this is?”
“No,” said Piglet.
“It’s an A.”
“Oh,” said Piglet.
“Not O, A,” said Eeyore severely. “Can’t you hear, or do you think you have more education than Christopher Robin?” ~ The House at Pooh Corner

Oh! My favorite recipe in the whole book is, “A Recipe for Getting Thin.” You’ll have to get the book to see for yourself, says the newly thin soup maker. ☺

Copyright © 2011 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

i love me some babyberry pie by heather vogel frederick and amy schwartz

If I had to choose just one picture book that epitomizes the theme of “Comfort and Joy,” it would be Babyberry Pie by Heather Vogel Frederick and Amy Schwartz (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2010).

We’ve already established that babies are the ultimate bundles of joy, and that pie is the friendliest and most satisfying of comfort foods. Combine the two in a cozy story featuring mama, papa, and an impish baby, and you’ll wanna hug and kiss yourself all over, it’s just so deliciously adorable.

The making of a babyberry pie is actually a playful bedtime ritual:

When the moon goes dancing
Across the starry sky,
It’s time to bring the baby in
For babyberry pie!

First you pluck a baby
From the babyberry tree —
One who’s sweet,
A cuddly treat —
And bring him home to me.

The parents first pop the wee one into the tub, where he’s given a nice scrub and rub-a-dub-dub, which sets him to laughing amongst the toys and bubbles. But watch that little tyke — when his mom tries to towel him off, he makes a run for it, and has a messy encounter with a freshly baked pie cooling on the windowsill. That “little giggleberry, wiggleberry one” is finally caught, and it’s back into the tub for another scrub. Then he’s powdered from head to toe — “sugar” on his belly button, nose, fingertips and toes, and finally tucked into his warm “piecrust” (pillows and quilts) with a kiss goodnight. So sweet!


Heather’s rhyming text is pitch perfect in its musicality, as it bounces along with a sprinkling of wordplay and giggle-inducing terms of endearment (“sillyberry,” “messyberry”). Amy’s pen-and-ink and gouache illos, with their clean lines, round cuddly shapes, and tiny homespun patterns, amplify the love and joy. The predominantly lavender, blue, and purple palette reinforces the berry pie theme, making this charming visual feast even tastier. Babyberry Pie is a breath of fresh air and sheer delight; you can almost smell that freshly powdered baby with his smooth soft skin, hear his unrestrained giggling, and swear you’ve never seen a cuter pie.


In a summer 2010 blog post, Heather mentions how she got the idea for this book. One of her favorite things to do in July is visit her favorite berry farm to pick loganberries, boysenberries, raspberries and marionberries, among others:

Writers fool around with words in their heads a lot (if you ever notice a vacant expression on our faces, that’s what we’re doing), and that day I got to noodling around with the word “boysenberry” while my hands were busy picking.  Wouldn’t it be funny if there were girlsenberries? I thought.  Which of course led to, And wouldn’t it be funny if you could pick babyberries? That was it, I was off and running, and voila! Babyberry Pie was born.

This good time, goodnight recipe was born to be read aloud and will surely inspire many more babyberry pies as a fun, loving prelude to dreamland. Highly recommended! *claps hands*

by Heather Vogel Frederick
illustrated by Amy Schwartz
published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 2010
Full color picture book for ages 4-8, 32 pp.
Cool themes: Bedtime, families, babies, humor.

 In 2010, Heather ran a special series on her blog, “Pie of the Month Club,” to celebrate the publication of her two pie-related books — Babyberry Pie and Pies & Prejudice, the 4th installment in her popular Mother-Daughter Book Club Series. She interviewed eleven friends and colleagues, featured their new books, and asked them to share a favorite pie recipe. Ooh-la-la! Think Cynthia Leitich Smith, Lisa Schroeder, and Toni Buzzeo, among others, and such deliciousness as Rhubarb Custard, Melt-in-Your Mouth Apple, Blueberry, Southern Pecan, and Apricot pies! Well worth a taste, if you haven’t already sampled. ☺

Naturally, Heather interviewed Amy, who talked about illustrating Babyberry Pie, and she shared her mother’s recipe for Strawberry Chiffon Pie. Yum!


Have some boysenberry pie before you go!

*Spreads posted by permission, text copyright © 2010 Heather Vogel Frederick, illustrations © 2010 Amy Schwartz, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2011 Jama Rattigan of jama rattigan’s alphabet soup. All rights reserved.

wordless wednesday


the ultimate bundle of joy: picture book babies!

Vintage Baby by Pelagie Doane

We’ve got a special delivery today courtesy of the stork.

Yes, they’re here — lots of freshly-powdered, cooing, wriggling bundles of joy — just what we need to cheer us up in the depths of winter. Who doesn’t love chubby, dimpled hands and feet, the sweet smell of a baby’s head, the sound of little burps and giggles?

from Everywhere Babies

Babies are indeed a popular subject when it comes to picture books. A quick check at my local library revealed eight excellent titles published in 2010 alone, three of them about wanting a baby brother (what’s so bad about baby sisters, anyway?). I also reread a few of the classics, like Julius, The Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes, and Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers and Marla Frazee. Henkes’s book is long by today’s standards, but boy, does it hold up well against all competition. He really nailed the sibling rivalry/jealousy thing with emotions that ring so, so true. But then, Kevin Henkes is quite a genius.

I love the way Marla Frazee draws babies. She’s done quite a few baby-themed books; besides Everywhere Babies, there’s Walk On!: A Guide for Babies of All Ages, New Baby Train, Hush, Little Baby, and last year’s brilliant The Boss Baby. Marla’s babies are never bland or stereotypical; even a quick glance through Everywhere Babies will make you feel all cuddly and ready to tickle somebody’s bottom. You even kind of wish one of the little cutie pies would crawl into your life right now.

Wait, look who’s here! Our great-nephew Charlie, the cutest baby we know and already an avid book lover. Since he’s going to have a brand new baby brother soon, I imagine he’ll appreciate some of today’s stories ☺.

Okay, it’s feeding time.

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