What a Trip!

December 21, 2016

“Every tree and plant in the meadow seemed to be dancing, those which average eyes would see as fixed and still.”
~ Rumi

Ever since I can remember, I have felt an awareness of a living presence within every animal, plant, tree, flower or rock.  Even pieces of furniture, books, dishes, toys, appliances, automobiles or street signs have always seemed to me to be very much alive and just doing their thing, like the rest of us.  As I grew up, I quickly realized that this was not a common world view.  As an adult, seeing the expression of the Soul of the World in all things, and honoring that presence, is such an integral part of my being, I have come to accept it as not simply a personality quirk but, rather, as the center of my spiritual purpose.

So, imagine my delight at discovering Pimpa, an Italian cartoon character who exists inside a world in which everything talks, from the bed she sleeps in to the sack of flour in her kitchen cupboard.  Pimpa lives with a human man called Armando; he’s kind of her adopted dad.

I often watch Italian children’s cartoons in order to improve my language skills.  The pace and vocabulary is much easier for a non-native speaker like me to follow.  The Pimpa character originated in the mid 1970s and continues today, with books, games and cartoons starring the polka-dotted dog.

I’m guessing that we all could use a little escapism this Holiday season, so I decided to share Pimpa’s magical world with you, my Philosopher’s Spoon readers, by posting two of my favorite episodes.

The first, “A Trip to the Sea” (“Una gita al mare” – located at the top of this post), finds Pimpa sound asleep, as her bed and alarm clock decide to go to the beach for the day and bring her, still snoozing in the bed, along with them.  The second, “The Homemade Bread” (“Il Pane fatto in casa” – scroll down below), follows Pimpa and a friendly bag of flour, as they attempt to make bread together while stuck inside the house on a rainy day.

I hope you enjoy the surrealistic charm of these short cartoons as much as I have.  Although they are in Italian, they are pretty easy to follow.  So that you can fully appreciate the humor and the charm of Pimpa’s world, I have translated both stories below:


Una gita al mare (A Trip to the Sea)

Pimpa is sleeping.  Her bed, alarm clock and lamp are also sound asleep.  The clock is the first to awaken, stretch and yawn.  She hops across the bed to the window, saying:

“Pimp! Wake up!”

Pimpa still sleeps, but her bed opens his eyes and asks the clock, “What is it?”

The clock answers, “It’s a beautiful day!”  She pulls back the curtain to reveal a shining sun, blue sky and green landscape.  “Look! Let’s go to the beach!”

The bed replies, “First, we have to wake Pimpa.”

The alarm clock rings loudly and the bed shakes up and down, but Pimpa continues to snooze.

The alarm clock throws up her hands, “There’s nothing we can do!”

The bed shrugs and says, “Let’s go anyway, and take the flippers!”

In the next scene, we see the bed ambling down the hill with Pimpa still sleeping under the covers and the clock riding on top.  He’s wearing a flipper at the base of each of his four posts, as they head to the shore.  The bed enters the water’s edge and swims out into the ocean.  The clock, perched atop one of the posts, announces:

“I’m diving in now!”

Pimpa finally opens her eyes, half asleep.  Intending to head to the kitchen, she slides out of bed and into the water.  She wakes up on her way down and swims back to the surface, asking the bed:

“But…. where did we end up?”

“The sea. Great idea, right?” answers the bed.

“Yahoo!” exclaims Pimpa, as she dives off the bed into the water.

Pimpa and the clock swim around the bed for a bit, then Pimpa swims off by herself.  As she frolics in and out of the ocean, we see a shark swim by in the foreground, barking like a dog (the Italian word for shark is “pescecane” or “dog-fish”, so, of course, it makes sense that a “dog fish” would be barking; at least, in Pimpa’s world it makes sense).

The shark comes face to face with Pimpa and barks loudly at her

“How scary!” exclaims Pimpa.  She asks, “But, what are you?”

He keeps barking aggressively at her and Pimpa scolds him for making such scary faces.

The shark confesses, “I was joking,” and asks her, “What are you doing in the middle of the ocean?”

“I was swimming” answers Pimpa.

“Ah, the shore is far away,” says the shark, “Will you be going back?”

“Why don’t you take me?” asks Pimpa.  “Come on, let’s go!” she tells him, as she climbs on his back, holding onto his fin.

She and the shark are having so much fun, they cruise right past the bed and the clock, who are not happy at being forgotten.  The clock rings her alarm to get their attention and Pimpa and the shark stop and turn around.  The clock swings a lasso around the shark’s fin and he tows them all to shore.

When Pimpa hops onto the sand, she turns back to the shark, says goodbye and gives him some friendly advice, “Bye..and don’t go around scaring the people, understand?”

“O.k. beautiful,” says the shark, “Bow wow!”

The bed takes Pimpa and the clock back to the house.

Pimpa’s dad, Armando, comes home later on to find her in bed.  He wakes her up, saying:

“Still in bed, lazybones?!”

Pimpa replies, “But I spent the whole day at the beach, swimming.”

“I don’t believe you” scolds Armando.

“Look, then.” Pimpa tells him, and shows him her sunburned back.

“A shark brought me back home!” she adds.

“Are you sure it wasn’t, maybe, a dolphin?” asks Armando.

“Uh, no!” she replies, “He had big teeth, like this.” and she makes a frightening grimace.

“Mmmmama mia, I believe you; I believe you!” he replies.

Pimpa smiles and winks at the audience.

The End


Il Pane fatto in casa (The Homemade Bread)

The rain falls outside Pimpa’s house.  She groans with bored frustration, as she walks around the living room.  Rain is everywhere she looks.  It’s even the only program on TV.

She opens the door and looks out.  A tree is holding an umbrella and advises her, “Stay in the house; out here it’s raining.”

“Yes, I know; I know,” replies Pimpa, “But I’m tired of being closed up inside the house.”

“Me too!” pleads a voice in the background, knocking, “Open me, please!”

Pimpa walks to the cupboard and opens it.  A bag of flour stares out at her.

“Hi” she says.

“Hi” he replies,  “Listen, do you want to make something together? What d’ya say?”

“O.k.” she answers, “What do you know how to make?”

“Ask the cookbook,” says the bag of flour, “He knows everything.”

The cookbook jumps down from off the shelf announcing, “Here I am! What would you guys like to know?”

Pimpa asks, “What can I make with him?” pointing to the bag.

“My name is Flour” adds the bag, “I don’t care [what we make].”

The cookbook flips through his pages, “A, B, C, D, E, F… with flour you can make bread.”

“Thanks!” Pimpa tells the cookbook.

“Just doing my job, dear.” he replies, hopping back onto the shelf.

Now Pimpa holds a bowl of water as she tells Flour, “You need some water. Do you know how to swim?”

“And how!” Flour replies, “I’m diving in; yahoo!” and he empties himself into the bowl.

Now Flour has become a little blob in the bowl of water, doing the backstroke.

Pimpa tells him she is adding salt, as Flour Blob remarks, “This seems just like seawater!” and swims around.

She stirs him into the water until he becomes a nice ball of dough.  She asks, “Would you like a bit of leavening?” and offers him a packet of yeast.

“Definitely! I like it. Give me a lot!” he tells her, and opens his mouth wide.

Pimpa pours some yeast into his mouth and he urges her to give him “More, more!”  The leavening is already causing him to grow bigger.

Pimpa announces, “And now, a nice massage!”

She kneads Dough Ball as he chuckles and tells her, “You’re making me ticklish!”

Now they both sit on the edge of the kitchen table, worn out and panting.  Dough Ball tells Pimpa, “I’m a bit tired.”

“Better take a little rest.” she advises, and they fall back to nap.

Dough Ball, now much bigger, wakes up shivering. “I’m cold” he tells her.

Pimpa remarks, “Do you have any idea how much you’ve grown?”

“I’m cold!” he repeats, “Could I rest in the oven?”

“But, of course” she answers.  They walk to the oven and she opens the door, saying, “Please, make yourself comfortable.”

Unfortunately, Dough Ball has grown too big to fit in the oven.  He tries and tries and tries and finally gives up, saying, “I can’t get in. I must have eaten too much leavening.”

“You need a warm bed” she tells Dough Ball, “Here, come with me” and she takes him to her dad’s room.

“This is Armando’s bed,” she tells him, “But he’s not here right now.”

The dough happily hops under the covers and begins to snooze.

Later that night, Armando comes home from work to find a stranger in his bed.  “Look at that!” He exclaims, and goes to Pimpa’s room to wake her.  He pokes her with his finger:

“Could somebody tell me what that thing is in my bed?”

“It’s a bread roll” answers Pimpa.

“What bread roll?” asks Armando, adding, “It’s gigantic and soggy.”

“It’s an uncooked bread roll” she replies.

“And why is it in my bed?” he asks.

“Because he couldn’t fit inside the oven” she answers.

“O.k., then” sighs Armando, “Make some room for me, please.”

Pimpa scoots over as Armando puts on his night cap and settles into her bed, his large frame leaving no room for Pimpa.

She throws up her hands and shrugs.  All the beds are taken.


Happy Holidays to all creatures great and small!


Cranberry Pistachio Christmas Bread requires no yeast, so it will definitely fit into your oven and fill your house with the smell of Christmas as it bakes.  It’s also a wonderful way to use up leftover eggnog.

Cranberry Pistachio Christmas Bread
Use good quality, organic, full fat eggnog for the best results.  I like to support happy cows and hens by using pastured butter and Vital Farms Backyard Eggs (available at Whole Foods).

2/3 cup organic sugar
2 large eggs
1 & 1/4 cups organic eggnog
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Scant 1/4 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg
Rounded 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup roasted, unsalted pistachio nuts


Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C).  Grease bottom and partially up sides of a 9″ round cake pan, a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan or three 3″ x 5″ mini loaf pans.

In a large bowl, beat eggs with sugar until well blended, bubbly and lightened in color.

Beat in eggnog, butter and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg.  Add to eggnog mixture and stir until just combined (do not overbeat).  Fold in cranberries and pistachios.

Spoon into prepared pan(s).

Bake cake pan for 50 to 60 minutes, large loaf pan for 55 to 65 minutes or 3 small loaf pans for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in center(s) comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan, then move to a rack to cool completely.  Wrap loaf to give as a gift from your kitchen, or slice and store in an airtight container in refrigerator.

Serves 8


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