Deep in the writer's cave, locked away in a desperate attempt to meet a deadline for my next novel, can you imagine my joy in finding at the very back of the fridge a bar of chocolate I didn’t know existed.
Milk chocolate with almonds—perfect food to fuel a deadline frenzy. I found it quite by chance, hunting for the remains of a chocolate Easter bunny—I’d thought I had at least one chocolate ear left.
The toothsome treat was, no doubt, hidden by someone in my family. So sorry, family. I’ll replace it when the manuscript is delivered to my endlessly patient editor and I emerge from that dark cave. The replacement bar will be safe then, as I will certainly be on a healthy eating and exercise regime to make up for those weeks sitting in that cave. (Or attempting to, anyway.)
|What I found hidden in my fridge - sadly, not much left!|
You get hungry and lonely in depths of the writer’s cave. There is only the company of imaginary friends. The need for comfort food is real. Of course, writers cannot live on chocolate alone. When I have turned away those who would mess with my muse, ie, my family, (which means I have no one to cook for me in my time of need) I have a few staples I turn to. One is a big pot of chicken and vegetable soup I cook up and live off for days.
It’s a soup very much like the one my mother used to make for me in times of stress—so there is most likely some psychological element to its nourishment. There is no recipe to share with you. It's a matter of just throwing everything into the saucepan.
I was a sickly child who suffered from recurring sinus and chest infections. When I was too unwell for even the soup, my mother would tempt my appetite (which never needs tempting these days, it's more in need of taming) with fresh white bread-and-butter with honey, cut into tiny triangles. When I would accept that, she’d know I was on the mend. Sadly, it never tasted the same when anyone but my mother made it…
I've run out of chicken soup and it's a long way to the shops from my mountain retreat. So tonight, to power the many words I need still to write, I made a pumpkin soup—a favourite of many of us Down Under. I stirred through it the very last of the zucchini from my garden, picked at that tender, fingerling stage. Then served it with brown rice (pre-cooked in a packet) and a blob of home-made pesto. It gave me the energy to write this post. And the good thing is there’s enough left for tomorrow and maybe even the next day.
|My quick-fix pumpkin soup|
Another somewhat decadent comfort food is something our family simply calls "The Slice". Indulging in it is reserved for special occasions, such as birthdays, as it is disgracefully rich in butter and condensed milk. But I am refusing to give in to the temptation to make a batch. I would have to crawl out of my cave for too long to make it. Just another reason I was so delighted to find that bar of chocolate.
My dietitian-in-training daughter does not approve of sugar hits for desperate writers nearing deadline. She does, however, tell me that the creative process of writing uses up a lot of energy and I need carbohydrate to fuel me. That does not mean chocolate. She approves of the almonds because they are a good source of protein and other nutrients. So I’m doing something right.
Now I’m craving baked beans on toast with fried tomatoes and bacon—something I only ever eat in the cave. Trouble is I don’t have any bacon. Or, for that matter, any baked beans. Only chocolate and pumpkin soup.
Do you have a favourite comfort food you turn to in times of deadlines and stress? I'd love to hear about it!