Vicki Doudera here on this Superbowl Sunday, a day devoted not only to football, but also to fan-favorite food, such as beer, nachos and chicken wings. With no New England Patriots to cheer on, I’m focused more on the food than the actual game, and that got me thinking: what do those of us here at Maine Crime Writers munch on when we’re not watching football but penning our stories?
I’ll start us off by saying I’ll be powering my way through the month of February fueled by air-popped popcorn, Stash’s Ginger & Lemon tea, and — when I am really desperate — chocolate in any form. I’ve left myself with a huge amount of words to write this month, and if I’m going to get them down on
paper and make my manuscript’s March 1st deadline, I need all the help I can get.
Before I ask the rest of you what your go-to nibbles are — the ones that help your fingers fly across the keyboard — let me give my secret for making air-popped popcorn edible. Ready? It’s butter-flavored spray, the kind you’d use to grease a pan for a cake. Give those fluffy kernels a spray or two and the all-important salt will stick, plus your waistline will be happy.
Okay, Maine Crime Writers — what’s on the menu, snack-wise, as you write?
John Clark here: Ah, the seductive power of munchies. As a semi-
successful recovering sugar freak, I can attest to the mind-boggling array of sweet things to eat, most of which are guaranteed to kill several hundred thousand brain cells immediately and render the rest capable of more than rolling about in my brain pan giggling uncontrollably. There are, however some really good and (surprise) sorta healthy alternatives. Hannaford stores with a natural foods section sell roasted corn nuts in bulk. They’re awesome and seem to be brain-death neutral. I’m a Diet Cherry Coke lover and tend to switch from coffee after supper to allow for a minimal chance of sleep. It seems to help fuel creativity. My other favorite, although it creates a monumental taste clash with the aforementioned diet soda, is a new flavor from Triscuit, Cracked Pepper and Olive Oil.
Lea Wait: I’ll admit that my all-time favorite evil is definitely sugar, with a touch of chocolate … a Tootsie Roll Pop. Under deadline, you can even type with one in your mouth. And they’re only 50 calories each, and last for a while. I keep a mug of them on my desk for
emergency consumption. I’ve been on a diet for a couple of months now, though, so even they’ve been off-limits, and I’ve been indulging in a variety of green teas flavored with blueberries, pomegranate, etc. And, if I really have time to stop, I slice up an apple, sprinkle some cinnamon on it, and microwave it. Mmm. Spicy hot treat for a cold day.
Kaitlyn Dunnett here. Two words: dark chocolate. Mmmm. But I’m also a great believer in the “apple a day keeps the doctor away” rule. Fortunately, Maine is a great state to live in for an apple lover.
Kate Flora: Here the sad truth: I spend so much time at the keyboard that I basically don’t just snack there, I live there. I eat breakfast and lunch there, trying hard to not spill so I don’t wipe out my friend Mr. Laptop. But I doubt that aspiring writers really want to know, or will believe, that Trader Joe’s high fiber bran cereal with toasted almonds and dried wild blueberries is truly a source of inspiration. Or will they? Aren’t we all always looking for the magic answer? Writers–that’s the answer. Dark nights and violent encounters on the streets of Portland are fueled by almonds and blueberries. Romance, on the other hand, tends to be fueled by candied ginger dipped in dark chocolate.
I’m trying to avoid snacks. Like Lea, there’s the diet thing. Like Kaitlyn, I love dark chocolate and try to follow the apple rule instead. My challenge with snacks is trying to find things I can eat while bent over a keyboard. I can turn aside while I snort up a bowl of soup or swill down my boat of morning coffee and cereal. (Morning coffee, by the way, is always in a huge red coffee mug from Mystery Lover’s Bookshop.) But the rest of the time? I’ve got to keep writing. That rules out things with crumbs. Things liquid. And more soup, which is my go-to fix when I’m trying to limit how much I eat. After reading her suggestions about tootsie roll pops, I am very tempted to follow Lea’s suggestion.
Barb Ross: This is a topic I know sadly too much about. Lately some friends and I have been trying to figure out the pattern of snacking.
Quick energy boost? Gotta get those last 250 words in today? Sugar. Hard candy, as Lea suggests.
Knotty plot or character problem? Why in the world would somebody do that? Protein for the brain.
Discouraged? Think you’ll never be good enough to write this $%^&* thing? Comfort food-ie fat and salt. Chips or crackers, etc.
Makes sense when you look at it, doesn’t it? So sometimes you can back it up, let the food you’re craving tell you what sort of problem you’re really dealing with.
Vicki Doudera: Yes, it makes sense Barb… more sense than my putting up the Pat’s logo… but there you go! Darn it, I wish they were playing.
Oh well – Happy Superbowl Sunday.