Friday, May 4, 2018

Kat Apel

In addition to 21 states and the District of Columbia in the U.S., IMPERFECT poets also live in Australia, Haiti, and Italy. Here is a historical mini mistake-maker poem from one of our Australian poets, Kat Apel:

A patron decried
the potato; ‘Not fried!’ –
so I sliced it in strips,
’cause I was spitting chips!*

Kat explains: There are different versions of the first potato chip story - but this is one of them, attributing the first chips to George (Crum) Speck, after someone complained (multiple times) that his fried potatoes were soggy.

* spitting chips is an Aussie slang meaning angry/annoyed.

George Speck with "Aunt Kate" Wicks

When I was looking up photos of George (Crum) Speck, I discovered that he named a restaurant after a mistake! One of Speck's customers was Cornelius Vanderbilt (founder of the university in Nashville). Vanderbilt, who had trouble remembering Speck's name, mistakenly called him "Crum." Speck liked "Crum" because he thought "a crumb is bigger than a speck," so he ended up calling his next restaurant "Crum's"!


Kat also spotted something that reminded her of kintsugi: beautiful manuscript repair.

KATHRYN APEL is a born-and-bred farm girl who’s scared of cows. She lives among the gum trees, cattle and kangaroos on an Australian grazing property. Kat has five published books, including a rhyming picture book (about a cow stuck in the mud) and three verse novels.


  1. I spotted that too, Tabatha. (In fact, for a minute there, I thought I must have included that name explanation with my poem. :) ) Such a great mistake-riddled story. George (Crum) Speck had spunk!

  2. Fun to learn a little something this morning Kat and Tabatha!

  3. Hahaha - "spitting chips!" I love that so much. And the illustration included - the thread-art in the midst of a manuscript is a lovely, lovely thing indeed. May all of our mistakes be so beautifully... accepted.

  4. I do like this George Speck fellow, sounds like he must've been quite an interesting man!

  5. Love Kat's mini Potato chip poem–the spitting chips story is great, as is how he named his next restaurant. Beautiful way to repair a page too, thanks Kat and Tabatha for all these wonderful mistakes!

  6. Have you read Mr. Crum's Potato Predicament by Anne Renaud & Felicita Sala? It is a delightful picture book biography that tells how he invented the potato chip! You can read about it on my blog here.

    1. Oh, thanks for sharing, Cheriee! One to look out for.

  7. "Spitting chips" is a great phrase! I also enjoyed Kat's poetic version of Mr. Speck's story. The manuscript repair is a beautiful example of a "Beautiful Oops!" Oh--I just realized that that book, by Barney Saltzberg, is a perfect accompaniment to IMPERFECT.

  8. Great poem and back story. I love the Aussie slang.

  9. The book repair looks like sock one does either anymore. Great little mistake poem with a great story.

  10. Thank-you for the lovely comments. I'm so glad you enjoyed a small serving of sass and slang. :) (Btw, the mended page was parchment made from animal hide - hence the strength to hold stitching - in case you were wondering.)

  11. Fascinating -- both the birth of potato chips (NOM) and the gorgeous manuscript fix. Donna, I beg to differ -- I still darn the holes in my socks. Not nearly so artfully, but still.

  12. I know about the PBB George Crum and the Saratoga Chip - but this is new to me. Thanks for sharing!