nine cool things on a tuesday

1. So of course the first cool thing for 2018 is a teapot. January is National Hot Tea Month, after all, and there are those who simply cannot resist handpainted pottery (who me?). ūüôā

This beauty is made by Ceramika¬†Artystyczna in Boleslawiec, Poland, and sold via Slavica Polish Pottery. They have a brick and mortar store in Prague, but you can also purchase their pieces online. They have a full range of tableware and bakeware — teapots, plates, bowls, mugs, serving dishes, etc.

Everything is hand decorated and microwave, freezer, dishwasher safe, chip resistant and lead and cadmium free.

And so pretty! Love their patterns.

Enjoy this video showing how their pieces are decorated.

Check out all their offerings here.


2. Look what’s officially out today: Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen: The Story of Six Novels, Three Notebooks, a Writing Box, and One Clever Girl by Deborah Hopkinson and Qin Leng (Balzer & Bray, 2018)!

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen is one of our greatest writers.

But before that, she was just an ordinary girl.

In fact, young Jane was a bit quiet and shy; if you had met her back then, you might not have noticed her at all. But she would have noticed you.

Jane watched and listened to all the things people around her did and said, and locked those observations away for safekeeping.

Jane also loved to read. She devoured everything in her father‚Äôs massive library and before long, she began creating her own stories. In her time, the most popular books were grand adventures and romances, but Jane wanted to go her own way…and went on to invent an entirely new kind of novel.

Ordinary, Extraordinary Jane Austen includes a timeline and quotes from Austen’s most popular novels.

Art © 2018 Qin Leng

Who can resist a lovely new picture book biography about the incomparable Jane Austen? I’m a big fan of both Deborah Hopkinson (Fannie in the Kitchen, Independence Cake) and Qin Leng (Happy Birthday, Alice Babette). So happy they teamed up for this one!


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peeking into tina davis’s look and cook

The second I spotted this cookbook on the Laughing Elephant website a few years ago, I knew I had to have it.

I’m a sucker for vintage illustrations and culinary ephemera, and this wonderful collection of 50+ classic recipes¬†is chock full of charming old cookbook clippings from the 1900’s to the 1960’s.

Aside from its obvious appeal to nostalgia buffs like me, it’s a great kid-friendly first cookbook¬†containing almost every¬†standard comfort food dish you can think of: ¬†meat loaf, mac and cheese, spaghetti and meatballs, gingerbread men, griddle cakes, waffles, biscuits, chocolate pudding, apple pie, and scalloped potatoes. And what about soup, you ask (please do)?

Well, the Soup Section begins with this adorable illo from The School Lunch (Postum Company, 1928),

and there are recipes for Split Pea, Vegetable, Cream of Tomato and Chicken Noodle Soup. Nothing you haven’t seen before, but we’re talking about all-time classics, remember? And if you’re a budding child chef, working in the kitchen with a grown-up, you’d probably¬†want to make something familiar and satisfying.

I like how the book begins with illustrated tables of cooking¬†tools, explains how to measure ingredients, and then offers some all-important safety tips. The book is very sturdy, spiral bound with thick grease-proof pages (lays flat), and will definitely stand up to repeated use. There’s even a diagram showing the proper way to set a table and blank pages for recording favorite recipes. Definitely makes a nice gift for young foodies and¬†cookbook collectors of all ages.


Thought you might like to read Tina Davis’s lovely intro, “The Best Meal I Ever Ate”:

The best meal I ever ate is one I ate often. It was made by my mother for my school lunch. Most days, I had the same lunch as my classmates, but sometimes my mother would put a hot dog in my thermos, cover it with boiling water, and screw the cap on tight. She spread mustard on a hot dog bun, wrapped it in waxed paper, and put everything in my lunch box. At lunchtime, I opened the thermos, took out the amazingly hot hot dog, and put it on the bun. I was always the envy of everyone around me. Other times she made my sandwiches on pieces of frozen bread so that by the time I ate them, the bread had thawed and was very soft. But these sandwiches weren’t nearly as good or amazing as the hot dog.

¬†Doesn’t that make you just want to hug yourself and eat a¬†grilled cheese sandwich with a bowl of tomato soup — after you’ve eaten a hot dog or two or three?‚ėļ

LOOK AND COOK: A Cookbook for Children
by Tina Davis

published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang, 2004
Ages 8+, 160 pages
*All recipes kid tested; has received very positive customer reviews

Better get two, just in case ‚ėļ. . .

**Really like that big bowl and spoon, yes I do.

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

i could eat this up: the little big book of comfort food


Here’s a little book that’s bound to make you squeal with delight.

Seriously. I try to avoid using the word, “cute,” but this cookbook is cute and then some — let’s say, charming, adorable, cuddle-worthy, friendly, cozy, and totally yummy —¬†everything a cookbook featuring Comfort Foods should be.

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