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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Writing Prompt: Culinary Disasters and Triumphs

By Marilyn Friedman
Writing Pad's scrumptious class offerings will tantalize your taste buds and your imagination this winter.  For instance, on Sat. Mar. 3rd, we will be having  Literary Feast: Writing A Culinary Masterpiece with successful food writer, Carol Penn-Romine, I have created a special writing prompt in honor of this class below. If you have ever dreamed of writing a food based memoir, a recipe book, or a food review, this is the class for you!  Picture it: you are hopping from one decadent restaurant to another, scribbling notes about the tasty short ribs and gran marnier creme brulee you are sampling.  Lucky you, your meal is paid for the newspaper or magazine that you are writing reviews for.  Make this dream a reality this Thursday!  Also, you can check out some of our other irresistible classes below.

Writing The Story Worthy Life: Memorable Memoirs (Fri., Feb. 3)

From Bedtime Stories To Tales of Teenage Woe: Writing For Kids and Young Adults Pt I
From Bedtime Stories To Tales of Teenage Woe: Writing For Kids and Young Adults Pt III
So You Want To Be A Writer?
Finishing School
From Aphrodite To Zeus: Myth Fueled Stories
Lights, Camera, Action: Screenwriting Boot Camp 


Fiction, Memoir, Romance
Storytelling at Light Speed: The Art of Flash Fiction
I Love You Silly: Crafting The Perfect Romance Novel
Memorable Memoir: Make Your True Tales Thrilling

Journalism, Personal Essay and Web Writing
Literary Feast: Writing A Culinary Masterpiece
Blogger's Paradise: Creating Irresistible Content
You in 1200 Words: Writing and Publishing The Personal Essay

Playwriting and Writing For Actors
Ex’s, Bosses, and Crazy Relatives: Creating Characters For The Stage
It's All About You: A One-Person Show Workshop
From The Page To The Stage: Finish That One-Person Show

Meet Me Now, Squeeze Me Later: Crafting the Studio Romantic Comedy
Work The Room: Mastering The Power of The Pitch

Writing Prompt: Make a list of the 3 worst (or best) things that your Mom cooked when you were a child.  Pick one and add a sensory detail to it (smell, taste, sound, touch) and write for 10 minutes about it.  Then, post your writing in the comments of this blog for the chance to win a free writing class. My mother is an amazing cook, but her spaghetti and meatballs resembled stuffed cabbages or sweet and sour chicken--too sweet and oily to eat.  This week, I will be writing about her pasta horror show.

What is the worst or best thing your Mom cooked for you when you were a kid?  Post your 10 minute write in the comments of this blog, and you could win a free class!


Taco Maven said...

I grew up on TV Dinners, Chef Boyardee and the Waltons. On occassion my swingin' singles 70's mom would feel guilty and cook me dinner. The worst? Steamed beef liver with canned corn and frozen peas. 'MOM! That hideous liver is bleeding all over my corn!" Yeah. Gross. I would say my whole childhood was a wash except for the fact that on one special Saturday, when I was trying to impress a boy, my mom redeemed herself with English Muffin Pizzas. Thomas' English Muffins with Ragu Spaghetti Sauce and American Cheese slices, all browned to perfection in the new fangled device called a 'Toaster Oven'.

Emma said...

I remember my mother as being a great cook. But lately when I go home, now with my German husband in tow, I’m not so impressed.

When I was little, she cooked every night. We had steak – the low-quality kind, stringy, tough, not worth eating -- and Shepherd’s pie – which was absolutely fabulous, but best for little girls who don’t care that a 3-tier creation of mashed potatoes, ground beef with tomato sauce, and melted cheddar cheese furnishes enough calories to last an entire day.

We lived out in the country, which encouraged me and my sister to indulge in life’s simpler pleasures – walks in the woods, bike riding, and baking.

I had a special passion for blondies. My sister had brown hair and liked brownies, and I had blond hair – so blondies felt like a new innovation in dessert, made especially for me.

There was a recipe for blondies on the back of the Diamond walnuts package my mother had bought at Finast, the grocery store 30 minutes away. It called for flour, brown sugar, white sugar, salt, eggs, etc. I got out the big beige ceramic mixing bowl, the metal measuring cups, the Mortons salt, King Arthur flour, Finast brand sugars, etc.. I preheated the oven, measured and mixed, and poured the batter into the greased pan. Licking the bowl, I realized something was off – this batter tasted a bit more powerful than it ought. My mother had a lick – “Ohh la Emma! You added too much salt!”

She was right. When the batch of blondies came out of the oven, it was oozing with salt rivulets. Despite my best efforts at following the recipe, to the T, I had added 1.5 cups of salt, instead of 1.5 teaspoons.

But even at the tender age of 8, I was not a fan of waste. I remember reclaiming that batch of salty blondies – eating piece after piece, as my mother told me, really, we could throw it out. But I couldn’t.

Mae said...

My dad was Mr. Mom. He woke us up in the morning (promptly at 6:45), packed our lunch (peanut butter sandwich or his famous ham and cheese delight), and made sure that we had treats (2 Oreo cookies or his home-baked chewy, chocolate chip cookies).to get us through the end of the day. Those chocolate chip cookies were heavenly. I didn’t know what heaven was back then but the instant I smelled those cookies, I thought, this must be heaven. All the kids in my fifth grade class must have thought so, too, because they would all of a sudden be super nice to me whenever they smelled those chocolate chip cookies from my brown paper lunch bag. My dad was definitely Super Dad.

Then, one day, he wasn’t.

It was the night before my eleventh birthday when my mom tried to imitate my dad’s famous chocolate chip cookies. She promised to send a whole batch for my class birthday party. I told her she didn’t have to, but she insisted. It was tradition, and she wasn’t going to break tradition. But didn’t tradition also mean it was my dad who baked the cookies and brought them to school for me? However, I didn’t bother to say that since she looked flustered with her hands (not to mention the kitchen counter and our new tiled floor) were covered with flour. My little brother and I decided to stay away from the kitchen, but kept close watch just in case something happened and we had to rush in there and pull mom away from the flour and chocolate and definitely, the hot stove.

I think it was two hours later (way past our bedtime) when I finally heard her collapse down onto the chair. I nudged Eli, who was falling asleep, and we slowly made our way to the kitchen that was screaming the combined aroma of smoke and burnt chocolate. My mother looked exhausted, uncharacteristically haggard, slumped over on the kitchen table with face in her hands. She finally heard us, and looked up, greeting us with a big smile, as if we just didn’t witness her in the midst of a breakdown.

“I did it,” she said. “Probably not as good as your dad’s, but hopefully it’ll do?”

We made our way to the kitchen table, passed the clusters of chocolate chips and pool of flour spread across the floor. I returned my mother’s smile, trying to avoid the mountain of burnt dough and streaming chocolate in front of me. She handed me a sample from the pile. I looked at the hard piece of chocolate chip cookie, and through my tears, bit into it. It was the best burnt, salty chocolate chip cookie I’ve ever had.

TerryD said...

Tangy, juicy, fat spare ribs cooked to perfection by mom was always a tasty treat...yummmy...that sweet, slurpy barbecue sauce that she concocted from ketchup, worchestsire sauce and God knows what...sliding across my tongue and dripping down my fingers...biting into bursts of gooey, messy, slippery, ribs with meaty and fatty bits that danced with flavor in my grateful palette...ah yes....those spare ribs were something else and sorely missed since mom's been gone.