friday feast: legume loving ladies

Well, we’re really in the thick of things now. When I first extended my invitation for peanut butter poems, little did I realize just how many of you nuts were actually out there! Nice to know I’m not the only one who likes to munch, crunch, slather and rhapsodize about America’s favorite spread!

Before we get to today’s poems, wanted to congratulate the one and only Joyce Sidman for receiving the 2013 NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children!!! WooHoo! So well deserved. Love love love her work and it was such an honor to serve as a Cybils Final Round Judge the year we selected Red Sings from Treetops (Houghton Mifflin, 2009), still one of my favorite poetry picture books of all time.


You probably know Joyce’s most recent book, Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature (Houghton Mifflin, 2011), has earned a galaxy of *starred reviews* among many other cool accolades. Let’s all have a Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl cupcake in Joyce’s honor! (Just for today, you may twirl as you swirl.)

Georgetown Cupcake Peanut Butter Swirls

Since Joyce is extra special, let’s have TWO . . . or THREE! . . . or . . . .

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thanks, diane mayr!

The lovely Diane Mayr (she of the Poetry Potluck Almond Bars), sent me this cool haiga on my blog birthday Thursday. Wonderful how old photos can spark a few poetic lines, or inspire a new story. Just look at those faces! *wheels turning*

Circa 1913, Library of Congress

Check out more of Diane’s haiku and haiga at Random Noodling.

Thanks, Diane!

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


diane mayr, the cat’s meow

#6 in the Poetry Potluck Series, celebrating National Poetry Month 2011.

Meow, meow, purrrrrrrrrrrr . . .

The one and only Diane Mayr, Kurious Kitty herself, has just padded into the kitchen! Lithe and sleek in her silken coat, this fastidious feline, who loves a good haiga as much as prime albacore tuna, is treating us to a mini feast — a little sweet, a little piquant.

Her poem was written during the football season in the fall of 2009. You know how sometimes you’re suddenly reminded of something from the past you thought (or wished) you’d long forgotten? Yeah, that. There all along, whether you like it or not, popping up when you least expect it.

Diane’s high school yearbook photo — what a beauty!

by Diane Mayr

I know I wrote a poem about that
thing that happened back when I
was in high school, you know —
“that thing.” I’m sure it happened
to you, too, some comparable
humiliation, violation, embarrassment,
which has stuck with you for more
decades than you’d care to admit.

I’ll find that poem and share
it with you if you’ll share your
poem with me. What, you don’t
have a poem? Oh, I bet it’s there.
Just like a girl in a birthday cake
who waits for the right moment
to jump out and yell “Surprise!”
Think of yourself as the cake.

© 2009 Diane Mayr. All rights reserved.

Diane: High school was a long time ago, and yet, I can still feel that hand, from under the bleachers, that grabbed a part of my anatomy. ‘Nuf’ said.

Oh, the joys of high school! Personally, I would not like to repeat it, but embedded memories (especially unpleasant or painful ones), trigger poems or stories that prove especially cathartic for the writer and quite often, reassuring for the reader.

Now that she’s closed her yearbook, Diane is happy to share the recipe for those yummy cookies pictured in the haiga. They’re her favorite!

Diane: The recipe originally came from a local cookbook. I changed it from cake-like to chewy, so I guess it’s been mine for the past 20 years. Sometimes I use brown sugar for half the sugar, vanilla extract instead of almond extract, and chopped pecans instead of almonds for more of a butterscotch bar. Other times I mix in mini chips and some coconut. It’s so very versatile, super simple, yet good!


2-1/2 cups flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 eggs
1 cup unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp. almond extract
1 cup almonds (slivered, chopped, or sliced), divided

Mix together the first 6 ingredients (batter will be very thick). Mix in half the almonds. Spread evenly in a 9 x 13 inch, lightly greased pan. Press remaining almonds into the top. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Cool and cut into bars.

And just because she’s a totally kool kitty, Diane made another haiga:

Well, I can’t very well let that go without serving up these. Don’t you just love the word, “snickerdoodle”?

Pinch My Salt/flickr


Kool Kat tidbits: Diane’s parents owned an ice cream store, so she scooped a lot of ice cream and made a lot of shakes growing up. Yum! And, how much do I love that her favorite childhood book is
Eloise in Paris? Très bien! Diane and her cats, Smudge and Skippy, also like Millions of Cats. Purrfect!

Thanks, Diane. It was fun having a random noodler snickerdoodling with us today!

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