StoryThyme: On Top of Spaghetti (The Meatballs are the Best Part)

StoryThyme is a celebration of Mother Goose poems, fairy tales, and children’s stories.  In true Hungry Bookworm tradition, I create a foods inspired by these magical texts.

Today’s poem is “On Top of Spaghetti,” made famous by Tom Glazer, who recorded this song on an album in 1963.

On top of spaghetti,
All covered with cheese,
I lost my poor meatball
When somebody sneezed.

It rolled off the table
And onto the floor,
And then my poor meatball
Rolled right out the door!

It rolled in a garden
And under a bush
Now my poor meatball
Was nothing but mush

The mush was as tasty
As tasty could be
Early next summer
It grew into a tree

The tree was all covered
With beautiful moss
It grew lovely meatballs
In a tomato sauce

So if you like spaghetti
All covered with cheese
Hold on to your meatballs


Origin:  After doing some searching around on the internet, the main story that keeps coming up is that children at a camp in 1963 invented the lyrics, basing them off of the song, “On Top of Old Smokey.”

Thoughts:  I always thought that the concept of losing a meatball by sneezing was dangerous.  You see, I like my meatballs and I take them very seriously.  If sneezing would make a meatball roll away, well, gosh darn it, I was not going to sneeze at the dinner table.

At the same time, I was fascinated with the adventures of the meatball once it left it’s plate.  If Disney or Pixar wanted to come out with a movie about the adventures of a meatball, I would totally watch it.  In fact, I would wait in line with all of the 5-year-olds to see it in theaters.

Meatballs You Won’t Want to Lose

Now, these are not your traditional meatball, nor to I stick with this recipe every time I make meatballs.  At the same time, they are delicious.  Even the most beef-centric members of your household will like them. 


  • A big pot of tomato sauce
  • 1.5 lbs of ground turkey meat (I used 99% lean)
  • .5 lbs of italian style turkey sausage
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 tbsp garlic
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper
  • 2 tbsp fresh cut basil
  • 1 tbsp fresh cut thyme
  • 1/2 cup of chopped grilled vegetables (I had these on hand as leftovers and thought they would add more flavor and nutrition to the meatballs.  You do not have to add these in, but if you have leftovers, chop some up)


  • Get your sauce bubbling away on the stove.
  • Dump every other ingredient into a bowl.
  • Mix together (preferably with your hands).
  • Form in meatballs, however large you want them.
  • Place into sauce to cook.  Because the mixture is so lean, it does not release much fat into the sauce and the meat will practically melt in your mouth once cooked.
  • Place a cover on the pot and cook at medium-low heat for at least 1 hour.
  • Eat, on top of spaghetti, on a sandwich, or with your hands


Please visit Beth Fish Reads for more weekend cooking.

Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend.


StoryThyme: The Queen of Hearts (and a Scrumptious Summer Tart)

StoryThyme is a celebration of Mother Goose poems, fairy tales, and children’s stories.  In true Hungry Bookworm tradition, I create a foods inspired by these magical texts.

Today’s poem “Queen of Hearts” is almost always included in compilations of Mother Goose nursery rhymes.

The Queen of Hearts she made some tarts all on a summer’s day;
The Knave of Hearts he stole the tarts and took them clean away.
The King of Hearts called for the tarts and beat the Knave full sore
The Knave of Hearts brought back the tarts and
vowed he’d steal no more.

Origin: This poem’s origin can be found in Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, first published in 1805. The Queen of Hearts, while being one of my favorite characters, is certainly not a woman who inspires much sympathy from the reader. She terrifies Alice and rules through power and fear. This poem demonstrates the use of power, showing that a good beating keeps the knave from stealing the delicious tart.

Thoughts: Don’t mess with the Queen of Hearts. Apparently, her tarts are so delicious that that are steal-worthy, but don’t let that fool you. I think that translates pretty well to real life. Isn’t it the people who try to seem nicest on the outside the meanest on the inside? Watch out for people who smile to much.

Cherry-Vanilla Tart

Cherries don’t have a season; they have about a minute when everything comes together and they are perfect. That minute happens around this time of year, and I intend to make full use of it. I always associate the Queen of Hearts with the color red, so it makes since that she would make a cherry tart.


  • Puff pastry (you can find this in the freezer section of your grocery store)- You only need one sheet
  • 2 quarts of cherries-pitted- I’m sure you could use frozen cherries too- really, use as many cherries as you would like to go on the tart
  • 12 oz Mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 cup confectioner’s sugar
  • the zest of one lemon
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk


  •  Roll out puff pastry sheet to 15×5 inches or 12×12 inches. Place on a baking sheet. Fold the edges over to form a border. Prick bottom of pasty with tines of a fork. Chill for 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400°F. Use a pastry brush to brush on egg wash (the egg yolk beaten with some water) over exposed surfaces. Place in hot oven and cook until nicely browned all over, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven to a rack, let cool completely.
  • Place pitted cherries in a baking dish and put in the oven at 400°F  for 20 minutes.  You can do this while the puff pastry is cooking.  Take them out and cool completely.
  • Mix together the mascarpone cheese, confectioner’s sugar, the lemon juice, and the vanilla in a medium bowl until well combined. Refrigerate until needed.
  • Assemble the tart. Spread the mascarpone mixture over the bottom of the tart shell. Arrange the cherries on top of the mascarpone mixture.

This post is part of Weekend Cooking, hosted At Beth Fish Reads. Stop in and see what else is cooking this weekend.

StoryThyme: Curly Locks (and Strawberries with Cream)

Welcome to a new feature here called StoryThyme, a celebration of Mother Goose poems, fairy tales, and children’s stories.  In true Hungry Bookworm tradition, I am going to create a food inspired by these magical texts.

Today’s poem “Curly Locks” is almost always included in compilations of Mother Goose nursery rhymes.

Curly Locks, Curly Locks,
Will you be mine?
You shall not wash dishes,
Nor feed the swine,
But sit on a cushion

And sew a fine seam,

And sup upon strawberries,

Sugar, and cream.

Origin:  This rhyme has no set origin, but it seems to be linked to the Victorian era.  During that period, curly hair was so in demand that having it could determine your life’s social status.  If you didn’t naturally have curly locks, you sought to acquire them, either through curling or wigs, as soon as possible.

Thoughts: You know, as a straight-haired person, I’m not sure whether I should feel offended or not!  Does this mean that I am going to have to feed the swine?  And **gasp** wash dishes?!!!  That seems like hair discrimination to me.

What, am I forbidden strawberries too?

Maybe I just need to go out and get my hair curled…

Except for the fact that the last time that happened, I was in third grade and it made me look like a poodle.

Do poodles, then, get strawberries and cream? Is that good for them?

Dulce de Leche Strawberries

In defiance of Mother Goose, I decided to sup upon strawberries, sugar and cream anyway.  In a gesture of solidarity, I suggest that all of you straight, wavy, spiked, and bald-headed people (oh and heck, come along curly-haired people) make this recipe as soon as possible.  With a tiny bit of preparation, we can all enjoy Dulce de Leche Strawberries, thank you very much.

You may be wondering, what is Dulce de Leche.  Basically, it is milk and sugar that is cooked until it thickens and caramelizes.  It is a very popular around the world and it seems to have originated in Argentina and Mexico (correct me if I’m wrong).  There are many ways to make this delicacy (that you will just start eating by the spoonful), and I decided to follow the advice of David Lebovitz since I trust him in all food matters.  This will take 1.5 hours of almost-completely passive time and will give you a whole lot of joy, especially when you dip strawberries in it, or put it on your tea, or spread it on your toast, or…you get the picture.


  • 14 oz of sweetened, condensed milk (I used skim)
  • As many strawberries as you can eat


  • Preheat the oven to 425° F.
  • Pour condensed milk  into a shallow baking dish.
  • Set the dish within a larger pan, such as a roasting pan, and add hot water until it reaches halfway up the side of the pie plate.
  • Cover the pie plate  with aluminum foil and bake for 1 to 1¼ hours. (Check a few times during baking and add more water to the roasting pan as necessary).
  • Once the Dulce de Leche is nicely browned and caramelized, remove from the oven and let cool. Once cool, whisk until smooth.
  • Dip strawberries in this heavenly concoction and eat.  Then grab a spoon and just dig in.  Swoon.
  • Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Warm gently in a warm water bath or microwave oven before using.