Sunny Room Studio and read about the Prairie Cook. So lovely.
Next week: I start pairing food I love with books I love, so pop in, have a bite and read along. My good friend and great writer, Michelle Zinc, The Guardian of the Gate will be here.
My Great Tomato Saga
by June I had sprouts . . . lots of sprouts.
By July I had bushes . . . way too many.
August came and so did round green, juicy fruit . . . more than I’d expected.
Last week I harvested of twenty pounds of tomatoes with the promise of more to come. How many ways can you eat a tomato? As of today my count is 1,342.
What we couldn’t eat went into jars. I’ll love having these pre-seasoned veggies come mid-winter when soup sounds like the best idea for dinner, or I have a stew craving and I have to go to a book signing for some wonderful writer I adore.
While I was peeling, slicing, and preparing the tomatoes I couldn’t let my writer’s brain sleep. I kept thinking how much this process reminded me of writing a story.
Two years ago I wrote this. “What would happen to an affluent, happy family if they lost everything?” That was the seed for my second book, The Princess of Las Pulgas. In the first year I didn’t match my tomatoes’ success. I had one huge dud of a rough draft. The book didn’t start in the right place, it sort of sagged in the middle, and who would even care about the end? Back I went to that seed stage again.
I kept asking myself that “what if” question I’d first written, and finally the answers started to come. Fruit set this time around, so that at least the book started where it should and the middle got me to the end and at last readers actually cared what happened to my poor characters. Still this story wasn’t growing the way I wanted it to, so hew, hack, cultivate and . . . rewrite.
Three drafts later I got it. Three drafts later my editor liked it. Three drafts later I went back to cooking comfort food. Mine happens to be Chicken Paprika–a simple dish that you can assemble and leave to simmer. There’s only one drawback. It doesn’t require tomatoes. Here’s the recipe anyway, just in case you’re hungry, and really need some time to write that scene that finally has settled into your head.
1/8 lb. sweet butter
3 chopped onions
1broiler chicken, cut into serving pieces
Salt and pepper
Brown the onions in butter. Add the chicken and brown about 4-5 each side. Add salt, pepper to taste and the paprika until the chicken has reddish color. Cover. Set timer and return to desk to write for 45 minutes. You should be able to create a great first draft of that scene you’ve just been inspired to write while you added the seasoning. Remove chicken and add a pint of sweet cream to liquid and onions in pan. Stir to blend. Serve over rice. Sit down and reread that scene while you savor your chicken.
Does anyone know how to say Buen Provecho in Hungarian?