Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I Love To Write. And Cook. And Write.

Son was incredulous right from the start.

When I began writing Feminine Wiles – and at that point, it was more of a daily addiction than a habit – Son asked, without a hint of sarcasm, “Do you get money for this?”

Fair enough. I was a newly divorced, stay-at-home mom. Extra cash would’ve had encountered no speed bumps traversing our welcome mat. I think, though, what Son was asking was, “Why write when you have no teachers, no deadlines and no nosy parent incessantly asking, ‘Is your paper done? Is your paper done?’”

Fair enough. Still, Feminine Wiles served a purpose for me. Any PSYCH-101 student would correctly recognize that writing was an outlet. I was struggling to identify myself and re-define my family. Just as important, writing a blog was a sneaky way to let my family know that I was, indeed, OK. True, I just wasn’t so good about speaking to them. Still, I was “writing” to them.

Look. I love my family. Nevertheless, I’ve never been one to share my inner-psyche workings. And navigating the divorce sucked away every random bit of my MC-squared. It took everything I could muster to take care of Son and Darling Daughter and me. I had no energy left to bear the kindness of strangers – much less that of family. Feminine Wiles was a way to assure my family that I was, indeed, “OK.”

Every now and again, I’d get a bit of recognition– a kind comment on my blog, a mention in the newspaper, some new subscribers. And again, Son have to ask, “Are you getting paid for this now?”

Nope. Still not. I’ve worked through the divorce. I’ve re-defined my family. I’m back to talking to my family (although not as often as I should). Turns out I just like to write. And I’m not alone.

Yesterday was “I Love To Write” Day. No kidding.  And hoo boy, I do love to write. I love to write emails on behalf of clients. I love to write text messages to my kids. I love to write Feminine Wiles. I even like writing recipes. The second edition of Feminine Wiles: The Cookbook is sufficient evidence of that. Still, I’m always somewhat inhibited at the start.

Take this recipe for Herbed Cream Cheese. I’ve made it for years. Loved it for years. Shared it for years. But even now, as I key it in, I wonder: Is it clear? Does it sound overwhelming? Is it sufficiently descriptive?  Is it easy to follow?

And I hear Son asking, “Do you get paid for this?”

I guess, in a way, the answer is, “Absolutely.”

Just not in dollars.

Herbed Cream Cheese (Mock Boursin)

I make quarts of this every holiday season, because it keeps so well and is always so welcomed. One year, I even packed it in crocks and gave it out as gifts with small serving knives and baguettes. I don’t know that a holiday gift has ever been so well-received! 

1 lb. cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 lb. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon each dried basil, marjoram, dillweed and thyme
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper and ground cayenne pepper
2 large cloves of garlic, minced or grated

Beat together all ingredients until well combined. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temperature before serving with sliced bread or crackers. (Keeps well – a week or longer!)
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