Monday, November 23, 2009

Neatness Doesn't Always Count

Cricket McRae
Yesterday I cooked.

I made beer-cheese soup. Brown the sausage, drain. Brown carrots, onion, celery. Add chicken stock. Simmer. Add grated raw milk cheddar dredged in flour, salt, pepper, Worchestershire, dry mustard, sausage and a bottle of Sierra Nevada pale ale.

Kind of made a mess.

I made bread. Easy peasy if you use the method in Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, which I highly recommend. But I mixed enough starter to last for two weeks. In a bucket. With my hands.


Then there was the butter. Call me weird, but I like cultured butter but I don't like to pay eight dollars a pound for it at Whole Foods. So I mix piima culture into a jar of local cream and two days later let the standing mixer beat it to death until I get butter. And buttermilk. The real stuff. Salad dressings, pancakes ... mmmm.

Simple, but it can get a little messy.

This weekend I worked on a new writing project. First draft stuff. Notes all over my desk, stacks of books with post-its poking out, character's names changing from page to page, a notebook full of clustered plot ideas.

A real mess.

Lengthy descriptions here, not enough detail there, so many adverbs I'm surprised they didn't spill off the computer screen. Too many of the qualifying words that are my weakness -- just, only, sometimes, quite.

Blech. Such a mess.

This weekend I cleaned the kitchen. Wiped down the counters and the cupboards, scrubbed the sink, swept and mopped the floor. I did the dishes and scoured pans and shined up the appliances.

And this weekend I edited some work I wrote last week. Trimmed words, clarified dialog, rearranged awkward grammar, added sensory detail, eliminated an entire scene and sketched out a new one.

Last night I ended up with good food, and hopefully good prose. And watched the Broncos game, recorded from earlier in the day. Which was a real mess.


Mason Canyon said...

It may have been a "messy" weekend, but the beer-cheese soup sounds interesting.

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

Wonderful and totally on point analogy between cooking and writing. I also find that right after I finish a book, I have to deep clean my desk area because it's a total disaster.

Do you really do all that from scratch???? I'm excited if I grill a fresh chicken breast instead of nuke a frozen dinner. And I'd love a sample of that soup!

JournoMich said...

Another case of art imitating life! : )
Great analogy.


Julia Buckley said...

Wow. I am impressed by your devotion to the idea of finding the best food. I, sadly, am devoted to the lowest price. :)

But that butter sounds delicious!

Cricket McRae said...

Mason, the soup's based on a recipe in my old Frugal Gourmet cookbook.

Sue Ann, I definitely have to do the same deep clean on my desk after a book's done. And the ol' nuker is the best time saver ever!

Hi Michele -- thanks!

Julia, the lower price is why I make the butter ; - ) Well, that and the fact that I'm kinda sorta a control freak (shh).

Deborah Sharp said...

You??? The woman who makes her own soap, spins, knits, cans her own food, and probably can rebuild the transmission on a 1978 Camaro ... a control freak?
Nah .....
Cute post, Cricket. Happy T-giving, chica!

G.M. Malliet said...

Reading this made me hungry. Thanks. I think.