Sunday Dinner (Re-posted from June 25, 2012)

The Doxology is barely off of my tongue

Shoulders still ablaze from the sizzling streams of daylight pouring through the car windows

Darting from the backseat of the old, yellow Dodge

and scampering to the first clanking, then squeaking gate

racing up the sidewalk and the cracked concrete stairs

Porch.  Living room.  Dining room.

How innocently this banquet lies in waiting

though it has been teasing my mind and palate since the onset of the sermon

Table spilling over with home-cooked devotion

Platters placed purposefully by the experienced hands of the Patriarch and Matriarch

Round chargers layered with ripened, ruby red tomatoes

salted and peppered to perfection

Purple onions, similarly arranged and vying for recognition

Steaming bowls of the garden’s bounty

Sunny squash mingled with bacon and onions that were minced on the striped, wooden cutting board

Pepper-sprinkled, creamy alabaster potatoes

dripping with a russet-hued elixir that was birthed in the worn iron skillet

Golden cornbread with a touch of sugar spooned in

Creamed butter whipped till it curls like a wisp of smoke

Plastic lids removed from blue tubs, revealing faux butter for those who insist upon it

Roasted beef disguised by a mountain of scallions and candied carrots

Fried chicken forming a mountain on a cookie sheet (We are proud Southerners, after all)

Pink roses on a glass canvas

a glass canvas that is filled with iced tea

its sweetness strengthening

as the saccharin tablets are secretly plopped in by tricky tribesmen

unaware of each other’s imbibing intentions

Clunky rectangular hunks of ice stacked upon one another in diverse drinking glasses

Bubbly, flaky peach cobbler

no box in sight (Mrs. Smith is never invited)

No “how-to” booklets or stained pieces of paper needed

They know it all by heart

Chairs of wood and metal congregated in a tight round

Houstonphonebooks stacked high for the diminutive members of the clan

Mismatched plates, glasses, and flatware

but never the mugs

always pale green, Fire King mugs

filled with sugary, beige coffee

brewed in a clear glass percolator

Tell Mel Tormé to scat away

the hi-fi only broadcasts our laughter

The Doxology carries on, everlasting

I lift my pale green, Fire King mug of sugary, beige coffee

and breathe the scent in, deeply

Reminiscing.   Musing.  Evoking those flashes of memory

and satisfaction

and home-cooked devotion

and hunger for that same old repast

BookWalk: The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah (Revisited in Honor of the Upcoming Passover Celebration)

This BookWalk will focus on an outstanding multicultural selection, The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah.  This book was authored by Leslie Kimmelman.  Kimmelman has written several children’s books that celebrate Jewish culture and holidays and has a fun way of presenting the unique traditions that go along with them.

The story begins with the little red hen looking at her calendar and realizing that Passover is coming soon.  From there, it follows her classic tale and her repeated requests for her friends to help her with the Seder cooking chores.

You probably remember the basics of the story from this point.  Her friends scoff at her requests for help, so she has to do all of the work on her own.  She gathers the grain, plants it, harvests it, schlepps it to and from the mill, cleans the house, bakes the matzah, cooks the meal, and I guess I’ll leave the rest for your own reading pleasure.

Paul Meisel has worked with numerous authors to bring their stories to life through his illustrations and he’s done a fine job with this one.  He’s used vivid colors and created fanciful pictures that are engaging for young readers and plain fun for older ones.  I particularly like the simple way that he has demonstrated emotional expression in the eyes of all the animals.

The multicultural fun doesn’t end with the story.  Kimmelman has also included an explanation of the Passover celebration, a recipe for making matzah, and a Yiddish glossary.

Don’t stop with this Kimmelman prize.  Check out her website at www.lesliekimmelman.net and be sure to look at her latest work, The Shabbat Puppy.

As always, leave a comment below and feel free to make some BookWalk suggestions.

The Little Red Hen and the Passover Matzah

Leslie Kimmelman, author

Paul Meisel, illustrator

Holiday House, Inc.

ISBN:  978-0-8234-1952-4

BookWalk: Yum! Mmmm! Que Rico! Americas’ Sproutings

yum 1

I fell in love with this book at my school’s recent book fair and knew that it would be a perfect choice for a BookWalk.  It’s Yum! MmMm! Que Rico! Americas’ Sproutings.  Does this cover excite you as much as it does me?

yum 2

Pat Mora has written 14 delectable haiku about some of the most popular foods found in the Americas.  They include blueberries, chile peppers, chocolate, corn, cranberries, papayas,  peanuts, pecans, pineapples, potatoes, prickly pears, pumpkins, tomatoes, and vanilla.

yum 3

Rafael Lopez translated Mora’s words into equally tasty visions.  Lopez is known for his fabulous murals often located in large urban areas.  He has managed to bring that same wide-open freedom and bliss to the pages of this book.

yum 4

In addition to the haiku and joyous artwork, this book gives some additional information about each of the foods named.  The regional origins and histories open up perfect opportunities for further discussions.  As a matter of fact, this selection is a superb vehicle for teaching about food, history, poetry, art, and multiculturalism.

yum 5

Rush out and find this book!  I’m sure you’ll fall in love with it, too.  You might also check out the websites of the author and illustrator.  Pat Mora can be found at patmora.com and Rafael Lopez is at rafaellopez.com.

Yum! MmMm! Que Rico! Americas’ Sproutings

Haiku by Pat Mora

Pictures by Rafael Lopez

Lee and Low Books Inc.

ISBN:  978-1-58430-271-1