The Kitchening: Delicious Mistakes

One of the things I find difficult about writing is making progress.  I know that sounds strange because I’ve obviously finished projects.  Most of them are on my website at: edenroyce.com

However, I make progress in fits and starts.  I tend to go back to correct the mistakes I make as I’m writing instead of writing forward and worrying about mistakes later.

Several people in my writing group have expressed the same concern. Slow progress because of writing while editing. As assistant organizer of a local writer’s group, I discourage this practice, but I admit to engaging in it. Too often.

I attribute it to detesting seeing my mistakes. Being face-to-face with them. It’s like a white glove to the face and I have to answer the challenge immediately by destroying all evidence of the error. So I edit while I write. And make slow progress.

Recently, I’ve discovered being in my kitchen helps my writing. So on Thanksgiving, while my mother slept upstairs, (I don’t allow her into the kitchen while I’m baking, anyway.) I was once again baking.

The result of my efforts:

2 sweet potato pies (Which I took to my cousin’s place for Thanksgiving dinner)

2 dozen vanilla buttermilk cupcakes with Tuaca buttercream  (If you’re not familiar with Tuaca, find out about its deliciousness here.)

When baking, I’m fearless. I don’t worry about mistakes in the kitchen for three reasons:

–       I can fix the mistake

–       If I can’t, it’s probably delicious anyway

–       A mistake doesn’t mean I’m not a good cook (baker)

So when I’m spooning batter into the cupcake liners and see some of the ingredients didn’t fully combine, I scoop it into the pan anyway. (Some of the brown sugar and butter didn’t fully mix with the flour and baking powder and other ingredients.)

And so began my experiment. In two of the cupcake liners, I spooned dark swirls of brown sugar mixed with a lighter whipped honey-colored batter.  They were beautifully marbled in their individual cups.

They imploded.

Or exploded, I wasn’t looking in the oven at the time. But I did hear a noise.

Once I looked, I had to make a decision: take out the entire pan to remove the not-so-perfect cakes, at the risk of hindering the baking of the ones I knew were right.

I’ve been baking since I was a little girl. My grandmother would have said I was “knee-high to a duck”. (Yes, I’m a Southerner.) So I knew not to remove the pans. Let the ones that are imperfect finish their time in the oven and deal with the unsuccessful ones later.

So I did.

The cupcakes finished baking and I took them out of the oven to cool. As for the exploded cakes, I scraped off the caramelly sugar-butter crust on the edge of the pan and removed those two cakes.

They’re below:

Mmmmm… mistakes…

The rest of the cupcakes were gorgeous frosted. I took them to the dinner along with the requested pies. And the mistakes? Fluffy, sugar-crusted, buttery, melty goodness.  They were the first ones to disappear.

So don’t fear your mistakes. Don’t edit your writing as you go or you might sacrifice losing your vision for the whole work.  Or get stuck in an endless editing loop.

Fix it later.

Or don’t.

It might be delicious.

The Kitchening: Food as Inspiration

I’ll admit it. My creativity has been waning lately.  Possibly due to my job draining my energy.  My day job, that is.

It’s the one where my manager sends me an email on Friday approving a letter to send to a client, then follows that up with another email today complete with edits to the same letter. The letter I mailed out yesterday.

Grrrr…

Yeah, it’s that kind of party.

So my writing has slowed. I’ve tried to motivate myself by plunging into other artistic mediums. (Painting– no poetry– was the worst. I still shudder at the results from that attempt. )

None worked. Then I saw a picture of this:

Golden cupcakes: eat one and you will be forced to tell the truth…

And I knew I had to bake something.

To me, baking is scientifically creative. It is an art form that touches all of the senses. (Yes, even the sound of a mixer is pleasing to me.)

So I took to my kitchen (After two trips to the store because I forgot one thing…), churned out two white chocolate pound cakes, a pan of crunchy peanut bars, and some almond milk chocolate mousse.

Hours later, almost too exhausted to hold my glass of shiraz, I headed to the computer. While the pictures I took of the entire process downloaded, I realized that I knew the next step in my novel.

Being successful in one thing can carry over into another. My kitchening helped me move past a significant stumbling block in my writing process. Between spoonfuls of dark chocolate mousse, I wrote. And wrote.

My protagonist now has multiple hurdles to cross. There’s someone he wants to help, but there are numerous reasons he shouldn’t. His best friend has started to show his dark side. And the dead are talking to him.

Again.

It’s good to be back on the page.