Lately, I’ve been spending much of my free time in the kitchen. I made up my mind to lean into probiotics by making things like brined pickles and sourdough bread. I also wanted to finally master cooking fish. It’s coming along nicely. Spending time on food creativity makes me think of all the good (and bad) food advice and reminded me of this blog post I wrote several years ago. Since fall is just around the corner, I thought it timely.
I’m sure you all heed the advice of nutritionists and diet specialists. They say never, never, never eat anyplace other than at the table with a complete table setting. That supposedly keeps us from mindlessly snacking and adding calories we don’t need. And they say never, never, never eat at your desk.
Yeah, right. In a perfect world. . .
Let me brush the crumbs off my keyboard and talk about food for thought. In a great 2011 New York Times Sunday Book Review article by Wendy McNaughton called Snacks of the Great Scribblers we discover that writers long used food or drink to fuel their creativity. John Steinbeck munched on cold toast and stale coffee. Franz Kafka drank milk. Emily Dickinson depended on her own homemade bread. F. Scott Fitzgerald ate canned meat right out of the tin. Walt Whitman obviously believed in protein for inspiration. His food for thought was a combination of oysters and beef for breakfast.
And Beatrix Potter– one of my favorite children’s authors– left a whole journal full of recipes auctioned a while ago in Shropshire. TheKitchn.com featured it a few years back along with her recipe for gingerbread:
Beatrix Potter’s Gingerbread Recipe
3.5 lb wheat meal
3.5 lb treacle
12 oz sugar
12 oz butter
2 oz ground ginger
1 oz pounded allspice
1 pint of ale
Add two thirds of the ale to the other ingredients and beat them well for some time then dissolve one oz of common washing soda in the rest of the ale and add it just before you put it into the oven.
It requires a slow oven – (let all the ingredients except the flour and soda be put before the fire to dissolve for an hour or two.)
Me? I usually have a cup of green or white tea at hand. (Always brewed to perfection at 180º from loose leaf tea.) The funny thing is, the more involved I am in the task at hand, the colder the tea gets. I just took a sip of stone cold Peach Blossom White tea.
So how about you? Do you have something yummy sitting beside your keyboard right now? What is your favorite food for thought? For creativity? Are there some foods that scientifically claim to boost brain power? Do you celebrate writing milestones with food? Please share. (And yes, the photo above features my own gingerbread cookies, dusted with gold and made with a reproduction of an age-old cookie mold.)