Chicken Soup With Rice!

Among the many amazing people I have been lucky enough to know, two of the most amazing are my friend Toni Markiet, and the extraordinary Maurice Sendak.  So much as already been said about Maurice that I will only add that in addition to creating some of the most brilliant books the world has ever seen, he made it impossible for me to ever have a bowl of chicken soup with rice and not think about him and smile.  As you may know, we lost him just about a year ago, and it’s still hard for me to believe he’s not out there, sitting at his kitchen table with his faithful German Shepherd at his feet.  I asked his dear friend Toni, who knew him so very well, if she would share some of her delicious memories with us.  And so in Toni’s words…

June 10, 2013 would have been Maurice Sendak’s 85th birthday, so let’s talk about food because Maurice loved food with a deep and abiding love. 

You are not surprised, are you?  This is the man who brought us In the Night Kitchen with its warm cake and cool milk; and remember “mix it once, mix it twice, mix that Chicken Soup With Rice?  And of course, after the rumpus and the roars and the sailing across a day and weeks, what does Max come home to in Where The Wild Things Are but his supper, waiting for him, still hot!  Maurice firmly believed that food = love.

In the thirty years we were friends, many of our visits together centered around food. 

My first meal with him was at Lutece.  I don’t remember much except that the waiter was intimidating and we had Grand Marnier Chocolate Souffle for dessert.  But it wasn’t always that grand.  There were tuna salad sandwiches scarfed down on the 30 block walk to the Met and the long trek down to the Flat Iron area to get pastry-wrapped Kosher hot dogs and knishes.  Maurice loved roast chicken, pasta with arugula and lemon, apple cinnamon pound cake, and Leonidas chocolates for any occasion—he was happy to make one up if need be.

Food is how we show care and attention and trust without having to say a word.  As far as Maurice was concerned, the food could be fancy, it could be plain, it could be sweet or sour…it just had to be good and as often as possible, shared with the people who matter to you.  You are not surprised, are you?  I’ll leave you with this note from the end of Higglety-Pigglety Pop!


As you probably noticed, I went away forever.  I am very experienced now and very famous.  I am even a star.  Every day I eat a mop, twice on Saturday.  It is made of salami and that is my favorite.  I get plenty to drink too, so don’t worry.  I can’t tell you how to get to the Castle Yonder because I don’t know where it is.  But if you ever come this way, look for me.”  


So, happy birthday, dear Maurice.  We’ll celebrate with chocolates, cake, Chicken Soup with Rice and good friends.  But I can’t promise you a salami mop.  You’re on your own there!

Beautiful words from my dear friend Toni, and to celebrate Maurice’s birthday I’m giving away three sets of some of the most delicious books he created: Where The Wild Things Are, In The Night Kitchen, Higglety-Pigglety Pop! and of course, Chicken Soup With Rice.  Just leave me a comment telling me your favorite children’s book (and I know there will be some Sendak classics mentioned) and in a week I will randomly pick three lucky winners.

In the meantime, with love and gratitude to  the extraordinary Maurice, here is some sprinkle once, sprinkle twice, sprinkle chicken soup with rice.

This giveaway is now closed.


Chicken Soup With Rice
Serves: 4 servings
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 leek, cleaned and chopped (light green and white part only)
  • 2 celery stalks, sliced thinly
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cups chicken broth (I like the boxed Pacific and Imagine brands)
  • ½ cup rice
  • 2 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
  1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium high heat. Add leek, carrots and celery and stir until the leek is softened, about 3-5 minutes.
  2. Add rice to the pot and stir for another 2 minutes.
  3. Pour in chicken broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, cover the pot and cook until the rice is done, about 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in chicken and season to taste with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls, garnish with parsley and serve.


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  1. says

    My favorite book as a child…and I have read it more than once as an adult is The Little Prince.
    Its wonderment and vision always key into my brain. Of course, Sendak isn’t chopped liver!

  2. Suzanne Barker says

    The Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum. My very first journey (of many) escaping my family in second grade.

  3. says

    What a special post.
    Now that I have children of my own, my favorite book, hands down, is called The Gardener, by Sarah Stewart and it’s amazingly and beautifully illustrated by David Small.

  4. Nancy McGourty says

    Oh, there are so, so many, but here is one of the best. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. It gets me every single time.

  5. Rachel says

    A book series I knew as a kid and appreciated more as a mother is Little Bear, illustrated by Sendak.

  6. Rachel says

    A book series I knew as a kid and appreciated more as a mother, Little Bear, illustrated by Sendak.

    This is a repeat entry due to the auto correct typo on my email.

  7. says

    I will probably always be amazed that you actually KNEW Maurice Sendak as he was a staple in my childhood and will be in my future children’s. Amazing.

  8. Pam Seipp says

    Of course I have many favorites, including Sendak’s.

    However, one of my favorite that I share with young and old is a children’s book based on the short story of Leo tolstoy entitled The Three Questions. Illustrated by Jon Muth, the book comes alive with the words and illustrations and encourages any reader to “do the right thing.”

    Thanks for remembering M. Sendak with this post and give-away.

  9. Rachel A says

    This post made my heart happy! I grew up absolutely adoring many of the books you spoke of, Where the Wild Things Are being my absolute favorite (likely because it was my mom’s favorite to read and oh those illustrations!). As for Chicken Soup with Rice, I remember the tape recording of it I listened to more times than I can remember! Such great memories, thanks for the excuse to head down memory lane!

  10. Elizabeth says

    I still go back and read The Little Prince; it’s remained my favorite childhood book into my now advanced age.

    Thank you for this post.

  11. says

    As I am probably much older than most of you….I remember The “Little Engine That Could” as one of my favorites although I have read many great children’s books since. Google did a nice tribute to Maurice today. Everyone should take a look at it.

  12. ColleenB. says

    Gosh, I read mostly comic books but guess my all time favorite books to read where the……………Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

  13. Elizabeth Fitzmaurice says

    I have a 3″ boxed set of four Maurice Sendak books, given to me by my Mom some years ago. She said that when I was little, I adored all his books.

    As an adult, so many favorites but these two had the most impact on my life: “Chronicles of Narnia” by C.S. Lewis and “The Princess and the Goblin” by George MacDonald.

  14. says

    My favorite children’s book as a kid was Rikki Tikki Tembo. My parents read it to me many times and I read it on my own many, many more. It’s about a kid who falls down a well, but his rescue is compromised by his very long name. I can still remember his whole name too: Tikki Tikki Tembo no Sa Rembo chari Bari Ruchi pip Peri Pembo. Loved that book so much!

  15. Elizabeth Murray says

    Where the Wild Things Are will always be in the top 3 along with Peter Rabbit. The third keeps changing as new and wonderful books are written and illustrated every month. Interrupting Chicken is a favorite lately. This is Not My Hat is great. Knuffle Bunny is a hit as are all Mo Willems. The most worn book in my collection for the 6 grandchildren is My Friend Rabbit.

  16. Sarah says

    “Goodnight Moon” was an every-day event at our house. Also “The Monster at the End of This Book” had to be read two or three times per sitting. (Check out the iPad interactive version of this–it’s awesome–definitely worth the $$$).

  17. Lydia Kaufmann says

    When I was a kid, I remember my mother reading the Peter Rabbit books to us. My Poppop would read the adventures of Brer Rabbit. I loved those so much so that I would beg him to tell me more stories, even if he had to make them up. My kids loved Goodnight Moon. I had that book memorized and so did my oldest daughter. I would recite a page and she would dig through her book bin until she found it. It still amazes me. Currently, my girls love the poems of Shel Silverstein and The Wind in the Willows.

  18. Anne Delaney says

    I remember studying Maurice Sendak in my college children’s literature class while studying early childhood education. I thought how extraordinary his work was. Some of my favorites for smaller children are of course all stories by Beatrix Potter and AA Milne’s Winnie the Pooh. But also very dear to my heart are the works by Elsa Beskow, Swedish author. Her works are preserved with their original art.

  19. Carol Bleistine says

    I love the book How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long, with illustrations by David Shannon. If you keep looking long enough at the illustrations you’ll see many subtle funny things.

  20. Chelle says

    My very fave book as a little girl was Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein, but my mom’s to read to me at night was Where The Wild Things Are.

  21. Amelia says

    Little Women, Heidi, and Black Beauty. I cannot remember how many times I dragged these books out to re-read.

  22. Andreabw says

    Great post. Thank you for sharing a little personal information aobut the terrific Mr. Sendak. I love anyone who makes up an excuse to have chocolate! My kind of guy.

    My favorite book as a kid was The Silver Spoon Mystery by Dorothy Sterling, but I read lots of Sendak to my now grown daughter!

  23. Bad Kitten On A Rampage says

    That’s so cool that you knew Maurice Sendak and that you featured “Higglety-Pigglety Pop!”, as that is one of my all-time favorite books (of any kind, not just Children’s) and Jennie is one of my favorite heroines! Thanks for highlighting one of his lesser-known works!!

  24. says

    I have very distinct memories of Dr. Seuss’ Go Do Go, and all of his books. Also Corduroy, Goodnight Moon, The Little Engine That Could, and definitely Where the Wild Things Are.

    Thank you for sharing this with us :)

  25. Souzie says

    I can’t believe it! I was just talking about children’s books the other day and how my father introduced me to the wonderful world of literature with Oscar Wilde’s books for children. The most memorable ones for me are: “The Happy Prince” and “The Selfish Giant”. All wonderful stories with a philosophy and moral behind them.


  26. Mrs. Z says

    Where The Sidewalk Ends, Where the Wild things Are, Abiyoyo, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom…I am sure I could go on listing not only the ones I liked, but the ones I loved reading to my nephew, whom I raised. :)

  27. Brittany Francis says

    It is really hard for me to pick just one because I loved reading as a kid. I suppose I would have to pick Corduroy.

  28. Kel Morris says

    What a lovely post! We read so many wonderful, memorable books — including those of Mr. Sendak but my favorites as a child were the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander.

  29. Maria says

    My youngest memorized Chicken Soup with Rice when she was in elementary school. Still make the soup every winter and she proudly recites the entire book as a HS student (now.) My personal favorite is Charlotte’s Web.

  30. Roxanne says

    My son loved “Chicken Soup With Rice” when he was little and I look forward to sharing it with my new grandson, Will! When I was little I read anything by Lois Lenski. My favoirtes were “Strawberry Girl” and “Cotton In My Sack”.

  31. Barbara C says

    Love this post!! It brought back wonderful memories. As homeschoolers, we did a lot of reading together. Hands down, our daughters favorite early on was anything by Mercer Mayer. Just Grandma and Me was top of the list. I still have a stack of those books waiting for future grandchildren. Our daughter is getting married at the end of the year, so maybe I won’t have to wait too much longer!!

  32. Linda says

    My personal favorite was Pinocchio, but my daughter was (and still is at 33 and a librarian)totally in love with anything by Maurice Sendak.

  33. says

    One of my favorite’s was Simon’s Book… the book within a book concept was fresh and inspiring. “Meta” before “meta” was cool.

  34. Margot C says

    So hard to say and ‘Where the Wild things Are’ rates VERY high, but my favorite is probably ‘Eloise’.

  35. Theresa M says

    Loved all the Little House on the Prairie books, Charlotte’s Web, Are you my Mother? and lots of the other Dr. Seuss books. Where the Wild Things Are was also on our bedtime reading list.

  36. Jacquie says

    I am a late comer to Maurice Sendak. I can only guess that it is because no one ever read him to me, therefore I did not share him with my children either. Who knew what I was missing? All was not lost, my children discovered him on their own, and shared him with Me!
    That you for this lovely soup!

  37. Sylvan says

    One Was Johnny. Something about the book always makes me smile. And Alligators All Around, those two books keep me happy.


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