RSS Feed

Why Poets Make The Best Cooks

alphabet soup kids pastaIn January, I set what I considered a very realistic goal of one blog post per week. I have been slacking in recent weeks, due to added work…

Like many, I picked the blog format for its aspect of community that encourages lots of active writing and reading, an exchange of ideas, a way for me to overcome the impulse to constantly revise and post something regularly. It’s also cool (and a little scary) that the blog format allows so much transparency about the writing process, allowing you to see your and others’ thought process unfold over time.

What I read about “how to blog” has to do with frequent posts of limited length, emphasizing the social nature of blogging. I know that all writing is a social endeavor. In teaching, the social aspect of publishing, reading, and peer editing is seen as highly effective way to motivate students. But if writing in the traditional sense is inherently social, the blogosphere is like a cocktail party full of highly caffeinated people. When I look at people’s “blogrolls” I think, wow, this is incredible! And my enthusiasm is tempered by a desire to shut off my computer and pluck an actual book off the shelf.

One such book is called Not For Bread Alone: Writers on Food, Wine, and the Art of Eating. I typically have lukewarm feelings at best toward “food writing.” Excuse me for sounding elitist, but it often seems like cheat writing. (Which may seem ironic, considering the culinary and literary emphasis of this blog, but to me they occupy separate camps.) Or at least I personally want to sink my teeth into something beautiful and cathartic if I’m going to read a book. Likewise, I’d rather experience food firsthand 🙂

In this book, Joyce Carol Oates writes a provocative and impressively unsentimental food essay called “Food Mysteries” in which she articulates food impressions and memories that point to the kind of sly, penetrating truths at the heart of her short stories and novels. One such “food mystery” is that

“For the writer, the writing offered to other people is a kind of food. Thus the writer’s peculiar vulnerability, risking rebuff, misunderstanding. What nourishment! some may exclaim. What garbage! others may exclaim.

Which is why, for sheer delight, writers turn to real food. Poets make the best cooks. Prose writers, the most appreciate friends of poets.”

Even for the half-hearted, trepid writer in me, real food has indeed been a source of sheer delight in these past few weeks of procrastination. In my preoccupation with other work, I’ve happily neglected writing to turn out herb baked eggs, sautéed kale flavored with mushrooms, onions, and cranberries, mini pies, a large, quickly consumed casserole dish of homemade mac and cheese…

However, I am resolutely abandoning my excuses, putting a hold on popping things out of the oven to recommit to that other kind of nourishment, the self-discovery and clarity of mind that comes from writing. I am still trying to figure out what I am writing about exactly, how to integrate writing into my life, whether it is worth doing… you get the idea.

In challenging myself to answer these questions, I’ve come to the conclusion that “doing what you love” is an overused, misunderstood phrase. Do I love cooking? Yes, given the amount of time I can spend making mini pies or chopping vegetables. Do I love writing? No. I wouldn’t call it love. But I feel compelled to do it, and this tells me that I need to stick with it. It’s a mysterious thing, figuring out what we want, questioning ourselves and managing our time accordingly. In “Food Mysteries,” Joyce Carol Oates writes that

“Appetite is a kind of passion… Borne along irresistibly by the momentum of both, we never question our destination, still less its mysterious source. Nor should we.”

Advertisements

18 responses »

  1. have faith in your art, your ability to matter, and tomorrow. oh, and bring your appetite. tony

    Reply
  2. Pingback: Midnight Pasta + American Nostalgia | Muse Foods

  3. I know this web site provides quality dependent
    articles or reviews and extra material, is there any other web page which
    presents these information in quality?

    Reply
  4. Since the admin of this web page is working, no doubt
    very soon it will be famous, due to its quality contents.

    Reply
  5. It’s very simple to find out any matter on web as
    compared to books, as I found this post at this web page.

    Reply
  6. I have fun with, lead to I discovered exactly what I was taking a look for.
    You’ve ended my four day long hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day.
    Bye

    Reply
  7. You will then choose the repair it needs such as i – Phone screen repairs and you will
    be given a price for the repairs. We stay in contact
    with you and alter our development based mostly on your feedback throughout the process.
    If you love to avail attractive i – Phone 4 Offers available in the
    market, you need to search over the internet.

    Reply
  8. Here in this case Tagore is referring to the halo of Lord Krishna.

    How often have we seen caged animals pacing their cages
    in futile attempts to escape. If you don’t like having them after six
    weeks or so, sell them on or give them to a new home.

    Reply
  9. An oversized pump may cause noise in your filter valve due to excessive flow.
    One way they have found is by choosing to purchase a low octane fuel
    rather than the mid-grade or premium option. For a November 8 evening event
    in Los Angeles, he and the Grammy Museum’s Executive Director, Bob Santelli, discuss his career and the process of writing scores
    for films and television.

    Reply
  10. Excellent blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring
    writers? I’m planning to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or
    go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m completely overwhelmed ..
    Any tips? Kudos!

    Reply
  11. Rakkaus ymjalkapalloilija etuus tarhaoikeudellinenkuunnelma veli-pekka.

    Reply
  12. Woah! I’m really loving the template/theme of this website.
    It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s
    very hard to get that “perfect balance” between usability
    and appearance. I must say you’ve done a very good
    job with this. Also, the blog loads very quick for me on Chrome.
    Excellent Blog!

    Reply
  13. If you are going for finest contents like I do, only go to see this website every day because it provides feature contents, thanks

    Reply
  14. Bridgeport Conservatories, a new CKH Companies company, happily
    comes with a remarkable SunSuites Sunroom product
    of which resolves this restrictions connected with standard veranda box
    fabrication.

    Reply
  15. This is very interesting, You are an overly skilled blogger.
    I’ve joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful
    post. Also, I’ve shared your web site in my social networks

    Reply
  16. Thanks to my father who informed me on the topic of this webpage,
    this blog is genuinely remarkable.

    Reply
  17. Hola! I’ve been following your website for a while now
    and finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a shout
    out from Lubbock Texas! Just wanted to mention keep up the
    good job!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: