writing in the kitchen

i’ve always heard that in order to be a complete athlete, you need to cross-train: ballet will help the football players’ footwork, yoga will improve the lacrosse players’ flexibility, swimming will increase the runners’ lung capacity, and so on and so forth and yet armed with that knowledge, i was surprised to find spending time in the kitchen benefited my writing skills.

let me clarify i was NOT the one cooking. adriana was and then my friend L’s hubby was which is why (a) the food tasted so good and (b) i was able to spectate and speculate.

watching adriana chop and saute and measure and stir and season a vast variety of raw ingredients which then turned into one of the most delicious stews i’ve ever eaten was a lesson in word play. as a writer, it’s my job to mix and whip and shape and pound and sift the words to combine them into the best image you’ve never thought of.

watching my friend L’s hubby present us with a chicken cacciatore dish served over polenta was a lesson in trial and error. that entree is usually served with pasta, but the thin sauce doesn’t work so well with the pasta he’d found out. he decided to try to pouring it over polenta, and what a good decision that was! the flavors and textures melded together and formed a plate of awesome. as a writer, i may think description is best right there when in fact, it’s a bit thin and if i was to use dialogue instead, the characters would mingle and clash and play off each other turning the scene into a page of awesome. it’s important to keep trying new scenes and perspectives and words because just like my taste buds, my brain will know when it’s a page of awesome.

now if only i could flip this lesson on its head and use my time in front of word document to turn myself into a master chef.