I should be writing. Instead…a culinary escape

Better yet, just pour yourself some coffee/tea, snag a treat, and follow the links below…
I have watched these shows multiple times and inevitably dream of a pastry/bread-driven road trip. Note: The people are just as appealing as the treats.
No interest or time? At least fast forward to 15:17 of  A Few Great Bakeries to meet my culinary ‘hero’. This guy is classic.

And for those writers who choose to just sit back and enjoy, how about a couple of rationalizations for your productivity hiatus?
The Holstee Manifesto My favorite nugget: “When you eat, appreciate every last bite.” Glad I found this.

I should be writing. Instead…expanding my vocabulary.

brain and its traits

Mentalfloss.com comes through again.

38 Wonderful Words with No English Equivalent

Such as, from the nation of Georgia, shemomedjamo–the inability to stop eating a food item or meal. Usage: He reached for the unopened bag of kettle corn, knowing full well that shemomedjamo was inevitable.

Or, from Ghana, pelinti–to move hot food around in your mouth. Usage: Viewers were subjected to a full minute of pelinti when Guy Fieri chose to dive right into the queso that came straight from the oven. 

I dare you…weave a few of these gems into a conversation this week.

I should be writing. Instead…facing food fears**

Anxiety lurks around every corner.
War ain’t great.
Ditto nuclear devastation.
**And painful alliteration? The worst.
But that all pales compared to…

cinnamon roll

cinnamon rolls without the ooze.

And there it sat, taunting me…Do I have enough cinnamon/sugar/butter goo coursing through my folds and crevices? Or am I just a lifeless, arid mass of flour and yeast?
Taunt away, dough boy! I’m ready for you!

Thank you, Ree Drummond. [And thank you foodie friend, L.O., for the recommendation.]
To quote the Food Network star: “It really should be called ‘Brown Sugar Sauce’.”
Not one to quibble over semantics, I share with you, The Pioneer Woman’s Easy Caramel Sauce.
• 1 cup Brown Sugar
• 1/2 stick Butter (4 Tablespoons)
• 1/2 cup Half-and-half Or cream (Cream will make it thicker.)
• 1 Tablespoon Vanilla
• Pinch Of Salt
— Mix everything in over medium heat. Whisk gently for about six minutes.
— Stop when you’ve reached a desired thickness.
— Serve warm or cold.

Added musings:

  • I’ll be mixing in cinnamon to a portion of the remaining sauce before reheating.
  • I may well add a little maple syrup to another portion.
  • Well, gee, how about some pre-reduced brandy or amaretto to another portion?

Conclusion: Whether it’s straight or doctored caramel, dry, disappointing cinnamon rolls are now a thing of the past.

Two other relevant photos:

cinnamon roll cross section
Question 1: Did this roll’s interior call for the sauce? I say, yes. I give it a C-. Where’s the cinnamon?
My first attempt a month ago had a richer, darker tone, but a certain someone ran out of brown sugar.

Lest you think I’m leaving without another little morsel on writing…

Nine Authors on What They Eat While Writing

I should be writing. Instead, bird watching…

bird-feeding apple
I spent time watching the robins attack the golden delicious that still dot the tree. All kinds of questions arose, like…

  • If the apple the bird is eating falls to the ground, does the bird follow it?

  • Do the birds ever fly away with apple flivel left on their face, thus opening themselves up to all kinds of avian verbal abuse?

  • Do some birds prefer to dive into partially consumed apples while others opt for unsullied ones?

  • Do the robins send just one robin ahead to conduct a recon before the others decide to swoop in?

Amazing how curious and creative we can be when we probably should be doing other stuff. [I can see now why my students were ever more inventive when I had other plans for the day.]

An interesting parallel thought on the intersection of writing and bird-watching…

“Until I went out looking for birds, I did not understand how much I hungered to leave the self-consciousness of the writer behind.”

–Katherine Towler [Why Do Writers Love Birding So Much?]


Speaking of other stuff…managed to dodge the Cyber Monday craze.

Black Friday was another story, as we ‘treated’ ourselves to a new clothes washer.

I guess it was time. Neighbors fled as I approached. On Allied Waste pick-up day, some looked away as I walked by, choosing to linger over their open trash barrels. Subtle…but I finally got the hint. ;-]

Speaking of other-other stuff…

https://retirerenew.com/

https://ednotions.com/

I should be writing. Duuuhhh, I AM writing.

National Novel Writing MonthAt midnight of Nov. 1, fueled by a mug of strong Winter Blend, I started National Novel Writing Month.

I decided this would be the time I would use it to my advantage rather than snag some idea out of midair and dive in.

Some observations:

  1. The weather is not at all cooperating. It’s been gorgeous and clear and beckoning me to soak up the rays. It’s not easy to peck away at the laptop when the shafts of sunlight provide the enticement of ‘C’mo-o-on, T, you’d better get out here because you know what kind of cold and gray and dark and wet awaits you any day now.’
  2. I tried some voice-to-text to crank out the words a little faster, but it’s going to take a little practice. The character’s voice doesn’t come out nearly as readily when I’m having to assume the role via my own voice.
  3. I have a whole box of books of ideas at the ready to fuel my plot, [One of my favorites from my teaching days [If You’re Trying to Teach Kids How to Write, You’ve Gotta Have This Book!  by Marjorie Frank], but I just found that keeping a ‘sharpening the saw’ file on my computer is more helpful.
  4. The doubts are there, as usual. ‘Geez, the action is dragging along.’  And ‘You need to make the main character’s pace more urgent, more manic, more frantic.’  But I am trying to plow past those doubts. So far, I’m at 8000 words, so I’m decently ahead of pace and I’m having enough fun to keep it going.
  5. To keep in touch with my character’s voice, I read excerpts from Ellen Degeneres’ book, Seriously, I’m Kidding.

I should be writing. Instead, celebrating an important holiday.

Buddy is almost always camped out wherever I’m writing…honest, he has a bed in this room! Why he chose this spot is beyond me.

National Make a Dog’s Day…

Essentials for the day:

Order him a new toy.

–Donate to Senior Dog Rescue of Oregon.

–Follow through on the three daily walks.

–Hide treats around the house beneath stuffed animals or under well-worn yogurt containers. [Not exactly Martha Stewart Living material, but it keeps him entertained.]

And finally, give his highness time on his throne.

And let’s tie in the importance of dogs to writers with this post from Writer Unboxed.

I should be writing. Instead, prototyping cinnamon bun alternatives…

cinnamon buns
They ain’t pretty. Thus, the ‘prototyping’ label.

October 4 was National Cinnamon Bun Day in Sweden and clearly I had no choice but to honor the good folks from the way-up-north.

But ssshhhh, don’t tell them, I was too time-strapped [I.e. impatient, lazy, and disorganized] to use a yeast-based recipe.

And there it was–a lonely, neglected sheet of puff pastry in the freezer.

Time to experiment.

1. Thaw that baby out**.

2. Make up my own filling.

  • Hydrated raisins
  • Allspice
  • Gobs of cinnamon [the appropriate unit for my favorite spice]
  • Softened butter/vanilla shmear
  • Chopped almonds

3. Use the Pepperidge Farm baking instructions for a cheese-and-spinach something-or-other as a general guide and hover.

Nope, not pretty. But the ratio of pastry-to-filling–goooood stuff.

I’ll try it again…and maybe even work on the aesthetics.

True, not exactly buns

Will I be adopted by the Swedes anytime soon? Probably not. But I thank them for their special day.


**Writers and grammar-wonks, I probably should have juxtaposed ‘thaw’ and ‘out’, but it just wasn’t as pleasing to the ear. Sorry.

I should be writing. Instead, delivering comfort…

bowl of soup

…in the form of Wor Wonton Soup.

L has been going toe-to-toe with a virus and nothing fortifies her better than this.

1. Shortcut:  I didn’t actually make the won tons. I just cut the wrappers into strips and added them late in the process. [Okay, okay, it’s actually ‘wor wonton wrapper strips soup’.]

2. What’s the difference between wonton soup and wor wonton soup?

3. One definition of ‘wor’ in the Chinese language is ‘everything’. Works for me. Think ’empty the fridge and cupboards’.

4. One of my favorite parts of making soup: watching it grow…and grow…until “we’re gonna need a bigger pot”. Leftovers? Absolutely.

5. This recipe https://noshingwiththenolands.com/wor-won-ton-soup/ outclasses the broth from the local Chinese restaurants. It’s the ginger, I’d say, though the early addition of Chinese five-spice and elephant garlic in the sesame oil-infused heat didn’t hurt.

6. Why do I keep weaving cooking into my writing?

This piece https://writingcooperative.com/want-to-write-better-try-cooking-b918272b7025   helps explain.