Thursday, November 8, 2007

Preface to My Upcoming E-Book

A Cooking Companion for Creative Souls

I divide my mornings between cooking and writing. The carrots may get diced and thrown into a poem, and the poems peeled and tossed into the soup. The trick is how not to burn the rice if I get busy in making that last paragraph of a story just right.

The writing and the cooking benefit from each other—their pathways of creativity intersect, run parallel, and even merge. My writing room is next to the kitchen, and I’m not one to follow strict recipes on either front.

Some might believe that a recipe is engraved in stone, but not so. It goes against the very grain of the creative soul to repeatedly follow directions to the last letter and produce the same success again and again. There has to be some variation, improvement, or twist to make a difference.

We are not only here in the kitchen to prepare supper, we’re also here to taste of innovation and insight, experiment, and play. And take risks as we eagerly wait to see what comes out of the oven and what happens when peppers are added instead of tomatoes. Or when we flick cranberries into the stuffed cabbage.

As one might expect from an unrepentant creative personality, my cookbook is not simply a collection of recipes. It does happen to have a few recipes tucked into personal recollections, reflections, legends, and lore on the subject of cooking and eating. As well as other diversions and a sprinkling of poems. Actually, most of my cookbook is a diversion into other areas where the art of cooking naturally leads—to the art of being grateful, the art of sharing, the art of loving, and the art of celebrating.

This cooking companion roams through my incarnations as daughter of one of the first heath food Moms, as connoisseur of solitary meals in Bar Harbor, Maine, and as chief cook and nurturing presence to my tribe of children and grandchildren in Jerusalem.

It’s been quite a journey from the natural beauty of the Maine Coast where inspiration came built in to the landscape to the spiritual intensity of Jerusalem and the challenge of cooking creatively for a multitude of teenage girls, toddlers, and hungry sons-in-law.

As I form little balls of cookie dough and discover that I can fit six rows this time instead of the usual five or flatten them with a pecan on center instead of using a moistened fork, I am also cooking on my writing and art work. At the end of a row of cookie shapes, I may suddenly discover the inspiration for my next collage or the climax of a story that eluded me when I put my mind squarely in front of the task.

The kitchen transforms into a creative “zone” much like the runner’s zone where solutions can arise effortlessly while washing the dishes or stirring the soup.

My hope is that these creative cooking excursions will lead you to transform your kitchen into a place for relaxation, tranquility, and fun, a fertile ground for breakthrough insights to emerge. And when all that creativity and happiness spill over into the food, it is guaranteed to be more nourishing and taste even better.

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