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Posts Tagged ‘bruschetta’

Cooking is like writing. Just ask anyone who has watched me create bruschetta. It is long, repetitive work as I chop the basil, the garlic, and the tomatoes. Out of memory and with frequent tasting, I mix in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese as, nearby, the bread toasts in olive oil or butter. From all this we can gain several lessons applicable to writing…

Lesson #1: Don’t give up before the end!

It would be fairly easy in the midst of Michael Buble’s serenading of my tomato slicing to stop. About a half an hour in it seems the task will never be completed. Excuses like, “Company will be here soon,” slip to the tip of my tongue. Yet, if I surrender to the fatigue, it would all be for naught. Writing is much the same. Many would-be authors never finish. Their tales are consumed by the daunting work they fear they could not complete. Just remember: without an ending, your story is only a bunch of chopped tomatoes.

Lesson #2: Revise.

Mere chopped tomatoes no longer, the bruschetta now has all its ingredients. Yet it does not taste quite right. I recoil as I put it to my lips and add a bit more of an ingredient. This is the time for tweaks, fixes, and revisions. This phase takes a pile of bruschetta that could never be served to company and turns it into the masterpiece guests will be talking about for weeks. In writing, revisions are the necessary tweaks that fill the novel with aroma, spice, and color. It is a common mistake to think the first draft is publishable. Chances are, it isn’t.

Lesson #3: At some point, stop second-guessing.

All this revising is well and good. Until, that is, I begin to fix parts of the recipe that were never broken. A chef is his/her own greatest critic. Eventually, well-enough has to be just that. It is time to add the bruschetta topping to the French bread. This is a magical moment, when criticism fades and taste buds rule. When writing, it is perfectly just to spend a long time fixing, reshaping, and editing a story. Nevertheless, an end to the perpetual changes must come. Know when to be satisfied with your work. Consciously choose to experience the thrill of a finished story, instead of always second-guessing yourself.

Keep writing and dreaming, friends,

Jessie Mae

 

 

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So my cooking exploits continue. Smoothies stay at the top of my favorites list, but coconut chicken and molten lava cakes are pretty good too. My sweet nephews made me an emerald green, adorable apron. It definitely makes cooking more fun.

As I was making bruschetta last night I was listening to the classic Frank Sinatra songs redone by Michael Buble’. My father came in the kitchen and said, “I’d hate to eat what you cooked if you were listening to rock music.” Oh how little does he know that much of what he has eaten has come about by Christian rock!

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My mom grew up in Pittsburgh, exposed to good spicy food. My dad grew up in Maine, spending his weekends on a farm where fresh-baked bread could best any spice. And so it was that Dad’s idea of spice became salt and Mom had to strive to find a new method of cooking. So I was around some spice, but not very brave in that area. And then I went off to college, where you needed the blends of spices to keep yourself from realizing what it was exactly that you were eating. Since then, I have challenged myself whenever I am out of state to try most of the different things I am around. And, surprise, surprise I have been liking them.

The next natural step, of course, is to begin to cook for myself. You should have seen the odd looks I got from my mom and sister when I started picking up random fruits and spices in the store yesterday. Of course, they weren’t so random to me–not that I had actually tried a lot of them. Never having chopped anything harder than a banana I set up in the crowded with groceries kitchen to cook bruschetta under a time crunch. And you know, we all liked it better than Olive Gardens! My hands smelled like basil all night, but hey–that’s just pretty cool. This morning’s challenge was to make my first smoothie. (I know, I’m twenty, I should have done this before). And once I figured out that coconut milk was the missing ingredient it came out great. Two successful cooking missions accomplished. Will my taste buds’ bravery last? Check back later to find out!

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