November 30th already? I’ve been having so much sticky fun, I hate to see the party end (sniff)!
This has definitely been the nuttiest November on record here at Alphabet Soup. So glad all you giddy goober peas emerged from your solitary shells, sent in poems, and feasted with us every Friday. At first I wasn’t quite sure whether I’d be spreading it on thick or thin, but thanks to all the generous Peanut Butter Poets, we had just the right amount of food to savor and digest each week. I’m so glad Father Goose Charles Ghigna initially suggested a Peanut Butter Poets Poll. It was the perfect excuse inspiration to turn a singles poll dance into a month-long poetry party.
We’re topping things off today with another lipsmacking menu that brings to mind Santa and his elves. Actually, Santa never had it so good with this bevy of beauties: Linda Baie, Cathy Ballou Mealey, Betsy Hubbard, Mary Lee Hahn, and Renée LaTulippe. And Santa himself? None other than our brilliant, beloved (and oh so cuddly) Children’s Poet Laureate, J. Patrick Lewis (who, BTW, is also this week’s Eye Candy)! No, we don’t mess around here. We serve up only THE BEST.
I would be terribly remiss if I didn’t serve up an extra special peanut butter recipe this month. With winter nipping at our heels and holiday stress rearing its ugly head, only one thing will do: SOUP! Hearty, comforting peanut soup!
I had my first bowl of peanut soup at King’s Arms Tavern in Colonial Williamsburg back in the early 80’s. For our first Christmas in Virginia, it was positively magical savoring spoonfuls of rich creamy broth in a firelit 18th century dining room. I remember thinking it was odd to have soup made from peanuts, then being pleasantly surprised at the marvelous flavor.
I just learned this Southern favorite probably wouldn’t have been on the menu back in the 18th century. Peanut soups, mushes and stews were likely part of the slave diet, but peanuts would not gain national acceptance as something more than animal feed or simple fare until after the Civil War. Still, Jefferson did raise peanuts at Monticello, and Washington liked peanut soup enough to eat it daily as a first course.
The earliest peanut soups prepared in this country were probably more stew-like; slave recipes may have been styled after tomato-based soups popular in central Africa or a Sudanese soup made with lamb bones, garlic and rice. Sarah Rutledge’s version (CarolinaHousewife, 1847) included oysters.
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.)
Since Joyce is extra special, let’s have TWO . . . or THREE! . . . or . . . .
You know what they say. It takes one to know one. And I know you’re nuts nuts nuts!
Nuts about peanut butter, that is. You look hungry. Please help yourself to one of these beautiful Buckeyes, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen.
That’s it, wrap your lips around that perfect little ball of cream cheese, butter, smoother than smooth peanut butter, graham cracker crumbs and deep, dark chocolate. *swoons*
Now, where was I?
Oh, yes, back to the party! We’ve got four more Peanut Butter Poets on today’s menu: Douglas Florian, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Irene Latham and Charles Waters. Nothing finer than having grown men go gaga for goobers with such purty poems of praise! And leave it to the ladies to serve up a giggle and a growl! Never know what you’ll get when you crack these nuts wide open.
The guys all love peanut butter but Marilyn doesn’t (gasp!). Don’t worry — what she doesn’t eat, she makes up for with fancy footwork and sassy swaying to that crazy Latin beat.
I call Charles and Matt the Peter Pan twins; they’re both into creamy and are oh-so-smooth with their rhythm and rhyme (get a grip; they may slide off your screen). David calls himself a “Jiffy chunky man.” See what happens when you have a choosy mom? You grow up to be a chunky hunk who knows how to cowboy up. I wonder if he’s found his elusive jelly yet?
Enjoy Our Daily Spread. Okay to read aloud with your mouth full.