Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Star Power

Garrison Keillor is a host and writer of Prairie Home Companion and Writer's Almanac that is broadcast on public radio. He is the editor of two poetry anthologies and author of over two dozen books. So it more than fitting Keillor would host for the Grand Opening night of his new bookstore in St. Paul, MN,  A Spring Poetry free-for-all. One hundred poems about spring will be written out and stuck to the wall. Those in attendance are encouraged to grab a poem, step up to the mike and read. 
Jessica Allba, an actress, with a dozen or more celebrities are lending to their voices to National Poetry Month. They are helping raise awareness of the art form by recording poetry. The readings will be aired on Disney and Disney Jr. channels this month. 

Almost every evening Emily Dickinson sent a note, and often a poem to her brother Austin's wife Sue, who lived next door to their family. Sue very much appreciated Emily's work. When Emily died at the age of 55, a box of little books, each sewn together by hand, were found in the bottom of a dresser drawer. There were 879 poems written in these little books. Later more poems were found totaling more than 1,700 poems Dickinson had written in her short life time. 
Only six of her poems were published when she was alive. Dickinson's poems were unusual in the sense that poetry in her era was serious and used flowery language. Her poems were light and airy. The poems often had stanzas of four lines. 
Not only did she write about hope but about flowers, birds, people life and death. Dickinson had a vivid imagination and wanted to look at things in a different way.

Hope is a thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words,
And never stops at all,

And sweetest in the gale is heard ;
And sore must be the storm
That could abash the little bird
That kept so many warm.

I've heard it in the chillest land,
And on the strangest sea;
Yet, never, in extremity,
It asked a crumb of me.  

by Emily Dickinson

Make Ahead Eggnog French Toast
Cook’s note: this is a good recipe for serving a large group that can be made the day before-baking in an oven on a cookie sheet makes a nice alternative to using the griddle 
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 cups half and half
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ tsp. nutmeg
  • 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 tsp. vanilla
  • 16 slices of firm bread (I found sourdough works well)
  • melted butter
  • In blender or food processor mix all ingredients except bread
  • Pour into a large bowl
  • Line a cookie sheet with wax paper
  • Dip each slice into egg mixture and make sure both sides are covered
  • Place 8 slices on wax paper lined cookie sheet then place another layer of wax paper on top of those slices ending with rest of bread slices and a layer of wax paper
  • Cover entire cookie sheet with foil sealing edges and place in freezer 2-3 hours
  • Remove wax paper and slices
  • To store bread slices in freezer till ready to use-start with a large piece of foil and stack 4 slices-then cover with wax paper-add 4 more slices–wax paper till all 16 slices are stacked-cover all with foil and place back in freezer
  • Remove slices an hour before cooking
  • To cook brush 1 side of bread slice with melted butter and place buttered side down on griddle to cook-turn and repeat melted butter on other side
Cooking option: heat oven to 425 brush each slice with melted butter and place buttered side down on cookie sheet and bake 10 minutes-turn slices and brush other side with melted butter
To Serve: use syrup or powdered sugar adding sliced strawberries on top


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