Cooking is the bane of my existence. I know, I know. I hear the gasps of disbelief now! (Big grin here, because I know there are some people who agree with me, too.) I think the reason for this is that my mother was TIRED by the time I came along. She was 35 when she had me, and already had her hands full with my 10-year-old and 12-year-old sisters. Like the Merle Haggard song says, “Mama Tried”—but it just didn’t work out. I would have rather been climbing trees than making cookies.
When I was around 5 years old, our entire family went through the allergy clinic in Oklahoma City. I got a wonderful flash of news that day! The doctor told my parents to let me eat whatever I wanted for breakfast—even if it was a hotdog. I never liked “normal” breakfast food at breakfast—I usually just wasn’t hungry in the morning. I married a man who could wake up and eat a huge breakfast—but not me. Opposites DO attract.
So when I began to write, I tended to forget that my characters needed a meal every once in a while. I still don’t write long cooking scenes, or even dinner scenes. But, I know that dinner scenes most usually have a deeper meaning in our writing, or are meant to reveal something.
I will confess, I have never forgotten the breakfast scene in SWEET SAVAGE LOVE where the Mexican general makes Ginny come to his room as he is eating breakfast, offers her a bite, and then makes sure Steve sees it–while she’s half-dressed! I almost hated Ginny in that moment, seeing the scene through Steve’s eyes after he’d given himself up to save her. I had to remind myself she was just as duped as he had been. Anyone else remember that scene? It’s stayed with me after all those years, and I can still recall that feeling of shock and betrayal when I read it for the first time.
I wrote a scene in my novel BEYOND THE FIRE, where Kendi is making breakfast for herself and Jackson Taylor, the wounded DEA agent she’s caring for. In FIRE EYES, Jessica makes oatmeal, and at one point she has cooked something earlier. But my cooking scenes are few and far between.
How about you? Do you love to cook? Hate it? Love to read about it or write about it? Anyone have a most memorable cooking scene in reading or writing ventures you want to share?
I will leave you with an excerpt from BEYOND THE FIRE, where Kendi and Jackson share a meal. I’m also including a DIVINE, easy recipe—the first thing I ever learned to bake—Blonde Brownies.
Amidst all this, I should say that I’m very very thankful to be able to cook and do it well. It’s a talent I never cultivated, but I’m thankful every day that I have the appliances I have to cook with rather than what was available in the old west.
Have you read or written any “meal” scenes that revealed something so deep you couldn’t get it out of your mind? Inquiring minds want to know! This subject intrigues me because it’s such a basic thing, but something that truly IS so revealing. If you can’t think of one, tell me what your favorite thing to cook is–I’m always looking for new recipes and ideas!
I’m giving away a digital copy of one of my books of your choice–FIRE EYES (western historical romance) or BEYOND THE FIRE (contemporary romantic suspense) today to a commenter! Be sure to leave your contact information in your comment.
EXCERPT FROM BEYOND THE FIRE:
She stirred the eggs and laid the unbuttered slices of bread onto a cookie sheet, then popped it into the oven to toast. Jack’s earlier confession about running drugs had been quite a surprise. He obviously wasn’t used to sharing information about himself, especially something so personal.
She sighed, turning the bologna, then cutting a slice in each piece as it rose up in the center. That confession had been honest, though totally unexpected. There were only two choices—to trust him, or not. If not, she needed to find him one of Tal’s old shirts and send him packing no later than tomorrow morning.
If she did trust him, that was a bit stickier. That meant more doctoring, more talking, more caring…and letting him stay until he recovered enough to…to what? Go back and get himself killed trying to rescue this ‘partner’ of his?
Kendi gave a caustic chuckle as she pulled the toasted bread from the oven. Some partner. She’d never forget the way Clint Rivers had bent and put the gun close to Jack’s head. That he’d shot to the side is beside the point, she thought indignantly. Logically, she realized if the man had wanted to, he could have killed Jack. But in her heart, she was angry he hadn’t killed the shorter man with him and driven Jack to a hospital for the care he needed. Didn’t partners take care of each other?
She lifted the eggs up from the pan to the plate, then the bologna, which she cut up. Even that small task would be too much for Jack to manage with his wounded hands.
Somehow, she realized her dilemma was solved. She couldn’t say how or why, but looking at the tray she’d put together, she knew Jack would be staying. No matter what happened, her life was already entwined with his. It had happened the moment she witnessed his ‘murder’—and it might very well end with her own.
Oddly, that was why Kendi trusted him. She had brought him into her home, and she had not called for help. She had cleaned and bandaged his wounds and sat up with him through the rest of the night. She had even laid down beside him to give him her own warmth.
She wanted to laugh at herself. Her fate had been decided the minute she stepped out of the house last night, intending to scare the high school kids off her property. She tried to tell herself there wasn’t room on the tray for two plates, and that was why she’d put the food on one common dish for both of them. But in her heart, she knew it was more.
She put the coffee carafe on the tray then slowly opened the silverware drawer and took out two forks. Eating separately from the shared plate was a lot like living individually in the same, suddenly small universe. She started toward the stairs with mingled fear and wonder, knowing there was nothing she could do to stop this world of theirs from turning toward whatever end Fate dealt them. She wondered if Jack knew it, too.
1 tsp. Vanilla
1½ cups flour
2 ½ cups brown sugar
½ tsp. salt
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
½ cup (OR MORE!) choc. Chips
Preheat oven to 350 F.
Beat eggs well. Add brown sugar gradually, beating until well mixed. Add vanilla, flour, salt and mix well. Add chopped nuts and mix. Pour into a greased, 9×13 pan and sprinkle chocolate chips over top of the batter. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-35 minutes (depending on your oven). This makes a 9×13 pan of brownies. You can half this recipe for an 8×8 pan, and reduce cooking time to 25 minutes.
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