I've been doing a lot of cooking lately, far more than usual. Usually, I'm content with something that I can make in just one pot, with enough for leftovers that I can re-heat the next day. It's kind of sad. But sometimes the writing is going really well and the next thing I know it's seven-thirty in the evening and I haven't had lunch, because I am writing. The day just gets away from me. Sure, I feel hunger, but that, too, gets away from me, because I am somewhere else, writing. So it's good to have something in the refrigerator that I can just re-heat as needed, with little preparation and less thought. But there has been a lot of cooking recently. Part of the reason for that is the weather. I'm more likely to spend time in the kitchen when the weather is cool and it's dark at five o'clock in the afternoon than I am when the days are bright and endless. Another reason for cooking is not writing. If I'm not writing, I'm not creating, and that drives me crazy. Baking and cooking are wonderfully creative activities, with the added bonus of getting to eat what you created. In the past week I've made banana cream pie, caramel sauce (twice), cilantro pesto, turkey tettrazzini, papaya salsa, ratatouille, cream of celery soup, eggplant parmigiana, rosemary and rose turkey cutlets, and apple crisp. I've made only two of these things before, so my kitchen became an agent of adventure. Make that, Agent of Adventure!
Rosemary & Rose Turkey Cutlets. I was looking for a turkey marinade recipe. I happened to have had a bottle or rose water. I had used some rose water in a bundt cake and it was not only delicious but exquisite. So I decided to try it as a marinade. The delicate flavor and perfume of the rose water works well with the crisp, clean rosemary, and turkey cutlets are perfect because they are thinner than tenderloins and absorb the flavor better, so I have found. This is enough for 1 & 1/2 pounds of turkey cutlets.
Note: This is probably not something most men will want to sink their teeth into, but it is wonderful for when the ladies get together.
1/4 cup light oil
3 Tbl lemon juice
3 Tbl rose water
2 tsp fresh minced rosemary
Season the cutlets with salt. Whisk ingredients together and marinate the turkey cutlets at least two hours in the refrigerator. I cooked these on the stove, about five minutes each side.
So, not writing. Maybe I'm blocked. Or maybe I'm near to finishing and I'm not ready to let it go. Or it could be that there is still a voice inside trying to convince me that writing isn't real work, that it is an indulgence for the selfish with little value in the "real" world. You can't argue that about cooking.
Of course I want to feel useful. Everyone wants to be useful in the world. You want to have something special or interesting to bring to the table. You want to have anything to bring to the table. But being useful isn't the only measure of a thing; it is not the only ingredient in life. Everything has a purpose, but every purpose need not be utilitarian. That would make a useful but boring table.
And that's the table where that voice inside can sit.