I've just finished making a pan of lasagne for my son's birthday dinner tomorrow. (Brief aside: on Twitter, the spell check wanted me to spell it lasagne, which I thought was correct. Here on Typepad, the spelling gods insist it is lasagna. But I sticking to my e ending. I like e endings.)
I'm sort of famous for my dislike of cooking, but lately I've been trying out new recipes (cooked pineapple and cheese–thank you, Candace), making old favorites I'd forgotten about (apple, celery, and walnut salad), and creating new dishes (brown rice, black beans, burger, onion garlic, other interesting things I can't remember. My Mom would call this Icebox Cleanup.) Fall is in the air and it makes me want to cook.
I've always seen cooking as one more thing that is taking me away from writing, one more thing to rush through so I can get back to what I'm working on. I've been known to set a pan of some slapped-together concoction on the stovetop and wander away to get back to my work–only to return to find the food a burned mess.
Ah, the writing gods are harsh masters, demanding such fealty that we scribes have time for nothing else. Certainly not for cooking, or any other hobbies. Alright, I do knit–but it is a rare occasion when I actually finish something. Writing always beckons before I have a chance. And then there's the fact that it is difficult to knit or cook while reading, and let's face it, reading is a critical aspect of writing.
But I'm starting to think I've been missing out. People always yammer on about how grounding and relaxing cooking is and I roll my eyes and tell them cooking bores me, implying, of course, that I have way better and more important things to do. And the thing is I admire people who cook. Deeply admire them. I think that people who cook are very likeable. They cook to feed others, to please others, to make others happy, right? So most cooks are very good people, except those snotty ones who will only use a certain kind of cheese from France and the finest olive oil and all that crappery.
My point in all of this is a confession of sorts. Part of the reason I've started cooking is that the heroine of my novel is cooking. Emma Jean has recently informed me that she loves to bake (pineapple-upside down cake and cookies to present at her readings) and cook (I don't know what yet). I'm happy that Emma Jean has told me this because she is a kick-ass, larger than life character, and kick-ass, larger than life characters are sometimes difficult to write in a sympathetic manner. But because Emma Jean loves to cook, particularly for others, this will make her more likeable. Right? Right?
And so I have some catching up to do in the cooking department. Hence the lasagne–everything from scratch–for Lewis. Try as I might, however, I could not convince him that he needed to choose pineapple-upside down cake for his birthday dessert. I'll just have to bake it another time, seeing as how it is Emma Jean's specialty.
Photo of Pineapple-upside down cake by Mark Pellegrini, used under Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike 2.5 license.