Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Ah, recipes.

Six or seven years ago, I would’ve told you that I can’t cook and I’d never be a writer. Pizza, only interrupted by a brief interlude of boxed spaghetti, was the main staple of my diet. Cooking, although I was dying to start, just seemed like too much work, tons of effort and my brain couldn’t quite wrap my mind around the idea of meal-planning.

It was the same with writing. I knew it was something I wanted, but it seemed too big a concept, too scary, too…much. So, just as I dreamed about someday cooking the perfect pot roast or lasagna, I relegated my writing passions into dreaming about walking into a bookstore and seeing my name on the spine of a book.

But then, about three years ago, something happened. It was like I woke up. I started writing, without even really knowing where I was going or what I was writing about. My book started off as stream-of-consciousness humor; a collection of words that cracked me up. I didn’t care if it was good or not—I was doing it for myself. For my own catharsis.

Right around the same time, I started cooking. I would watch the food network with sponge-like absorption, salivate at Rachael Ray’s creations and then attempt to recreate them in my little apartment. I didn’t worry much about the quality at first, I was just proud to be experimenting. (Not to mention, it was just my husband and I, and I’m pretty sure he was just as sick of pizza and spaghetti and ramen noodles as me.)

Over the course of that same year, my book began to take form. It became an actual manuscript, with layers of subplots, character quirks and emotional depth. And my cooking did the same. I branched out from written recipes and added my own twists to dishes. It was in that year that I realized just how much I love to cook and how much I desperately wanted to be published.

Now, I come home from work each day and head straight into the kitchen. Cooking is my time to decompress from the work day and allows me to express my creativity in a whole different way. Then, when my son is tucked into his crib, I open up my laptop and write. Cooking and writing have become not just a hazy part of my life, but in the forefront. An essential piece to my sanity and mental clarity.

This topic is particularly relevant to me this month. After those years of fumbling through recipes and manuscripts, of screwing around with subplots and tweaking spices, I feel like I’ve reached an important peak: My book is coming out next year and this Thanksgiving, for the first time, I’m hosting my family.

I’m either reaching a fantastic, symbolic culmination in my life…or writing has officially made me insane!


Lesley Livingston said...

I think it's kind of neat the way these two creative endeavors have seemed to dovetail in your life.

Me? I over-cook boiling water. But we'll discuss that on Friday!

Jillian Cantor said...

I love this post!! How interesting that your cooking and writing talents both blossomed at once. I know how to cook, but for me it's more like a chore, whereas writing never quite feels like work :-).

Tracy Madison said...

What a great post! I love how these two "loves" grew in importance at the same time. What a terrific story! I love to cook, also, but find very little time for anything but throwing something together that the masses will like. Ah...maybe someday!