A Mellow, Sweet Taste Unfurled

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I was recently in Singapore for six days and it’s taken me more than a week to catch up with life and start blogging again.

Whenever I’m in Singapore I eat dry fishball noodles or mince pork noodles. It tastes much better there than it does here. (I’m sure this declaration will send most Malaysians into a rage, but, on the whole, I prefer Singaporean food to Malaysian food. Or maybe it’s my home state, Johor’s food I remember and love, and Singapore is close enough to Johor for its food to be similar, while KL is a totally different world.)

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When in Singapore I also try to have coffee and kaya toast at Yakun. It’s a chain, but the toast is consistently well made at all its outlets, as far as I can tell. This time round, my best friend Jenny (She’s Singaporean) and I had Saturday breakfast at the Yakun at Fortune Centre on Middle Road. We had kaya and butter toast as well as buttered toast sprinkled with sugar. We drank kopi C kosong, which is sugarless coffee with evaporated milk.

I haven’t had good kaya toast in KL so I look forward to my visits to Yakun in Singapore. I wonder if anyone has described this traditional kopi tiam breakfast (coffee and kaya toast) in a book.Read More »

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Caturday: Katie Cat

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Kate wakes one moonlit night and is invited, by a white-furred, blue-eyed cat, to join him on an adventure in dreamland.

 

The best part of this escapade is that Kate experiences it as a pretty grey-striped cat! Even the moon morphs into a beautiful feline and joins Kate and her new friend on their journey, through the dream-filled skies.

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This book is very like Lane Smith’s The Big Pets in its magical, dreamy feel, and the glowing illustrations that look like they’ve been dipped in milk!

 

 

 

 

Caturday: King of the Cats

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‘You may call me Carbonel. That is my name.’

This haughty black cat is the star of Barbara Sleigh’s books Carbonel: The King of the Cats; The Kingdom of Carbonel; and Carbonel and Calidor.

 

Caturday: Jennie Baldrin

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Jennie Baldrin is the kind and brave little cat who looks after the boy Peter when, following being knocked down by a car, he finds himself transformed into a cat!

Jennie, who has been abandoned by her humans (when they move to the States), takes Peter under her furry wing and shows him the ways of cats.

Jennie, the novel, is by Paul Gallico. My secondhand copy [picture] was given to me by a Scottish friend who, I’m sad to say, I’ve lost touch with. It is a 1967 Penguin edition with its price on the cover (only 3/6!) and a lovely handwritten inscription on the dedication page: ‘8.8.68, Grandma and Aunty, With best wishes from one “cat” household to another.’

There have been many editions of Jennie, each with a quite different cat on its cover, but this is the sweet face I think of when I think of Jennie, even though she’s supposed to be tabby, not ginger.

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Art by David Gentleman

Apple-and-Condensed-Milk Sandwiches

chunky coverToday’s delicious excerpts are from The Adventures of Chunky by Leila Berg, with illustrations by George Downs.

The book was first published in 1950, but it was a 1965 Oxford Children’s Library hardback edition that my father rescued (from his school library’s garbage heap) and brought home for me. Unfortunately, I lost that copy, but I managed to replace it in the late 90s.

Chunky’s real name is Joseph but he’s called Chunky because he enjoys food, like chocolate and bread and toffee, in chunks rather than neat slices or squares.

Chunky’s parents are scientists. They are always off experimenting on something or other so Chunky gets left to fend for himself quite a bit. However, he has his best friend Mike, the widow Mrs Spriggs and her niece Tangie to keep him company.

More than thirty years after I had first read this book, I still remembered many of Chunky’s adventures, like the time he taught a pig to be a music conductor, and when he found himself being followed by hordes of stray cats. I also remembered that when Chunky’s parents are off on one of their working trips, they always leave Chunky the most yummy-sounding packed lunches, teas and dinners.

Here are three excerpts describing meals from the book:Read More »