Tuesday, May 25, 2010
What Finishing a Book Looks Like
And now it is almost over, at least this part. The manuscript will be sent off to its new home by the end of the week, and I'll have the entire long weekend to... Relax? Cook? Balance my checkbook? It will be a strange, strange thing.
Last night I left my desk for a few minutes to see Kim Boyce of Good to the Grain fame speak at Omnivore Books. Admittedly, I went mostly to escape the house. But once there I fell head over heels for her philosophy: whole grains, when used properly in baking, can enhance seasonal fruits and vegetables and produce delicious flavor profiles. We're talking rustic rhubarb tarts, olive oil rosemary chocolate chunk cake, and muffins galore. I cannot wait to dig into this book.
Her talk made me feel like baking. I know, I should have gone directly to the store for some spelt or buckwheat flour. But I don't have time for such things this week. So instead, I ran home and pulled out the usual pantry baking staples: butter, sugar, eggs, flour, and chocolate.
I almost never make brownies. I love rich, chocolate desserts but brownies seem so ordinary. When I was a little girl my mom regularly made a small pan after dinner. She somehow managed to put nuts in half, and leave them out of the other half, so that adults and children were happy. We'd eat them warm, ideally with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top. Perhaps if we were lucky there would also be a drizzle of Hershey's chocolate syrup involved.
Making brownies is so simple: one bowl, one pan, thirty minutes in the oven and you've got something gooey and delicious. I used the recipe on the back of the chocolate tin (Ghiradelli's mix of cocoa and ground chocolate) and didn't think much about it.
It wasn't about the recipe or the method. These brownies didn't have to be the best I'd ever eaten. They just had to be good: warm and comforting and there in my kitchen on the last Monday night before I turn in the manuscript of my first book.
This was about cooking and eating for pleasure. And as I stood in the kitchen, scraping clandestine dark ribbons of brownie batter from the bowl and licking them from the spatula, I was very, very satisfied.