A little piece of trivia you probably don’t know about me, I love to cook, and more specifically, I love to experiment with food. I like to consider myself a hobbyist foodie. (Foodie by hobby?) If there is a recipe out there that everyone says is the best, I see it as a challenge to make it better, or just make it my own.
My most recent kitchen challenge has been grain free, sugar free cooking. Grain free, sugar free living has transformed a lot of lives – one of them being my mother-in-law’s – by changing their health. One of my baby-prepping goals is to experiment with recipes to replace my favorite grain and sugar loaded foods. I want my children to grow up with better food choices and a different attitude when it comes to “real” food. It’s a real feel good moment when you find an alternative recipe for things like pancakes or chocolate chip cookies that you make yourself. It’s like a little personal victory, one with spoils.
So what does food and cooking have to do with writing? Believe it or not, a lot. Both take the basic know-how of what you are doing and creativity. Both can be over done and boring, or original and exciting. They both take time, patience, practice and even some editing. With alternative cooking, we are taking something everyone knows and changing it to make it better and surprise people with the results. In writing, we want to take our favorite genre and turn it into something new with surprises around every corner. Also, perhaps, we want to leave a better literary option for the next generation.
Cooking is an activity that inspires me. When I’m stuck in writing, I turn to the kitchen. Writing makes me want to cook, and cooking makes me want to write. They both challenge my skills and my creativity. Like in writing, when I play with a new recipe, I want it to be original, something I can be proud of and something other people will enjoy. But sometimes I doesn’t turn out the way I want it too. Sometimes it doesn’t work the first time and I have to go back, change a few things and start again. Sometimes I think it could be better, improved with this spice or that. Even though my husband has gone back for thirds, I’m still not satisfied.
It’s the same in writing. We want to be original, not cliche. We want to be proud of what we’ve done. We want readers to be hooked and fall in love with our characters. But there are those times when it just doesn’t work. You can’t find the write ingredient to fill that plot whole and it’s just a big non-cohesive mess. But then there are the times when it is where it needs to be. Others enjoy it, it works, but we want perfection and to us, it is still lacking. As writers we need to give ourselves permission to experiment, to write badly and not care. We need to learn to step back, put aside that critical inner editor and leave things be. That recipe is fine the way it is, could it be better? Probably, but to change it any further would ruin what it was meant to be in the first place.
So get in the kitchen, roll your sleeves up, make a mess, have fun and see what happens.
If you’re interesting in my food experimentation, follow me on Instagram!
A sneak peak at some of my creations.
Coconut flour breakfast crepe.
Almond meal/coconut flour chocolate chip cookies!