Confessions of a Reluctant Cook
But besides filling my tummy (so much so that I’m having to watch my weight for the first time!), her cooking has done something else for me. It has impacted my writing.
I’m sure you are scratching your head about now, but, like I said, I have a story to tell. My current work-in-progress is a novel set in 1918. On a farm. They cooked three meals a day, so any story of a woman in that time and place would indeed encompass scenes in the kitchen. A few months before my daughter graduated from high school, my mother’s cousin gave her a graduation gift—The White House Cookbook, circa 1900. My daughter found it amazingly cool. And so did I. After all, not much would have changed for a woman in the realm of food in the intervening 20 or so years. And of course my daughter wouldn’t need to take it with her to school. So I absconded it into my stack of research materials.
What an incredible treasure! I can look up how to make almost anything, for the book contains not only recipes but also tips and even illustrations. And every time I add a food detail to my story, it is a tribute to my daughter—as well as both her paternal and maternal great-grandmothers.
My daughter wields her art in the medium of food while I paint pictures with my words. The one who cooks challenges the one who doesn’t cook to create a savory dish on the page. And in my mind, that’s much better than staring at an inedible dish in the middle of the dinner table!
In the meantime, here’s one of my “easy as pie” staple recipes for you to enjoy:
Tilapia fillets (I use frozen ones and thaw before cooking)
Shredded Parmesan or shredded 3 cheese Italian
Put fillets in a shallow baking dish. Spread pesto on each fillet, more or less, depending on your preference. Sprinkle with a bit of cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until the fish flakes.
(Told you it was easy!)
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