Food for Thought

Sarah Graves, here — Something about writing makes me hungry for things I don’t have time to make, because I’m too busy writing. But my cravings always win, mostly because my brain goes on strike otherwise. If you too find writing to be hungry work, you’ve probably got your own list of the dishes most likely to produce lots of pages per day, but we can always use more meals and snacks while creating, right? So here are a few of mine.

Hummus. We know it’s just mashed chickpeas with whatever, but the starchy foodiness of them is perfect when the brain needs a jolt of nourishment with a capital N. And never mind the store-bought stuff with the preservatives and so on, mine goes into the blender as separate ingredients and comes out delish. A can of RINSED chickpeas plus a big dollop of sour cream, a generous squirt of olive oil, 3 or so mashed garlic cloves (more if you grew the garlic, less if not), powdered cumin or curry powder to taste, a dash of salt, grated lemon peel to taste, and a sizable dollop of tahini. You can do this in a blender without burning out the motor if you pulse it, push it down with the wooden spoon, pulse it again, repeat until finished. Eat it on crackers, on garlic bread (!) or off the end of your index finger.

Granola. Any time, day or night, homemade granola gives me the notion that I can go on a little longer; if I can make this and it’s this good maybe the book’s halfway decent, too, is my feeling about it. This way: A box of oatmeal, half a cup of wheat germ, maybe a quarter cup of sesame seeds, a third of a cup of vegetable oil, a huge dollop of honey, a smaller but still goodly dollop of maple syrup. Mix this very thoroughly until the oatmeal is all coated. Spread it on a flat pan and bake it for 10 minutes at 350, stir it up and bake for another 10 minutes, stir and bake for maybe 7 minutes or so. Cool the mixture on the pan, put into a large bowl and add toasted sunflower seeds, mixed nuts, dried cranberries, pumpkin seeds, and small pieces of dried tropical fruit (but not the kitchen sink). If you can manage to stop eating this, then once you have stopped eating it, it will help you to think.

And finally: I’m sorry about this, I really am, because it’s a bit of trouble and if you’re writing of course you’re too busy. However: baked vegetables with shrimp, pesto, and feta cheese on rice. I personally don’t drink alcohol so I drink a nice homemade lemonade (6 cups water, half cup lemon juice, 3/4 cups sugar), but if you have this with a lovely glass of retsina you will be a genius for a while, and feel good, too, and isn’t that worth it? Like so:

Eggplant peeled and chopped into cubes, sliced zuchini, a chunked tomato, good onions in chunks, sliced mushrooms. Put ’em all in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, stir in a big glop of pesto from a jar. Stir it up good until the vegetables are coated. Let ’em marinate all afternoon. Then bake at 425 on a flat plan until they are done, about half an hour? While they bake, get the rice cooking and boil up the shrimp. Drain ’em. Take the vegetables out of the oven, scatter the shrimp on top, scatter plenty (!!) of chopped or crumbled feta cheese on top of that. Return the pan to the hot oven for five minutes. Put this stuff on top of the rice and eat it all up. Add glasses of retsina to yourself periodically. In fact, you can start adding them when you first start chopping the vegetables if you want. This, folks, is power food.

For dessert: Hershey bars. Good hot coffee. Dip a strip of the Hershey bar into the hot coffee, put the chocolate in your mouth. Repeat.

What do you like to eat when you’re writing?

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6 Responses to Food for Thought

  1. MCWriTers says:

    Oh you meanie! I am trying to avoid going downstairs to eat….and then THIS! All sounds yummy. I used to make my own hummus and then stopped…and you’re right. It is so easy.

    This week I made a huge pot of veggie soup–the kind with ten or eleven veggies–and whenever the craving to eat bad things comes over me, I just heat up a bowl and scarf it down. There’s something about winter and cooking, I think, as yesterday I made baked chicken with onions, mushrooms and lemons and tonight it’s either swordfish with capers or a pot roast. I thinking of installing a timelock on the kitchen.

    Right after I try those roasted veggies.


  2. Sarah Graves says:

    Right after I posted this last night, my husband reminded me of one more food item I can’t do without while writing: the delicious fried egg sandwiches he makes for me, for lunch.

  3. Lea Wait says:

    Deadline closing in, I roasted a turkey Sunday, so we’re having not only turkey sandwiches with various cranberry horseradish relishes this week, but fried rice with turkey, a turkey mushroom casserole, turkey pot pie, turkey chili, and will end the week with a huge cosy pot of turkey noodle soup. I also love skipping major dinners and just noshing on hummus (yes!) and salmon mousse and bread and cheese. Maybe a few anchovies in the mix, and some raw veggies and some pieces of fruit. And, darn — now I have to work, too! I just had oatmeal and blueberries for breakfast, so it’s far from another excuse to eat ….

  4. EF Slattery says:

    Anything involving chopping vegetables, I find soothing, somehow, while stuck in the middle of a writing project. Usually, I go with something as simple as lentil soup–chopping carrots and celery into fine dice can be meditative as long as you don’t slice off a finger! 🙂

  5. Brenda Buchanan says:

    Fried egg sandwiches, yes! Or peanut butter and banana dusted with cinnamon, on good whole grain bread. Those are mid-day writing snacks of the finest kind.

    And Kate, I’m with you on soup. On Sundays I tend to either make a big pot of soup or throw a bunch of friendly ingredients together in the crock pot and sup on it all week long before heading upstairs for my evening writing time.

  6. Popcorn! I’d happily eat EVERYTHING you describe, Sarah, but I’m hooked on the speed, crunch, and saltiness of my favorite snack.

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