Writing Can Be Murder

January 8, 2008

Cooking and writing

Filed under: Uncategorized — jenniferelbaum @ 9:48 am

Yesterday it occurred to me that I cook the way I write.

 I know what most of my ingredients are when I start out, and I know what I want the final product to be.

 I’m not a recipe follower. I’m a pantser. 

So sometimes I use a little more of this, or a little less that, or occasionally I’ll have an epiphany and think to add the magic ingredient while I’m cooking, instead of after I’ve eaten the food. (Sort of like when you figure out how to improve a pivotal scene/sentence/chapter AFTER you’ve sent out a submission.)

 Take yesterday. I decided to make some soup. I took some of the unstrained chicken stock I’d made over the wknd and started tossing in whatever I had at hand — a can of chick peas, some tomato paste, cumin, frozen collard greens, and some elbow macaroni. I’d never put those things together before, but I was curious as to how they’d work together.

Writing is like that too. It’s a weird melding of ingredients that are never measured out ahead of time. You never quite know what you’ll end up with. At least I don’t.



  1. Good analogy. Writing and food go hand in hand, I’ve always said. So, how did the soup turn out?

    Comment by bgardner — January 8, 2008 @ 3:42 pm

  2. Soup turned out more like a stew, but was good. I’ll try to make it again.

    Comment by jenniferelbaum — January 9, 2008 @ 12:33 pm

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