Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Cooking or Baking (01/04/07)
TITLE: STORYBOOK CAKE
By Carol Krejci
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If you avoid cooking, but enjoy baking as much as I do, perhaps you will be interested in using my new recipe for a Storybook Cake. Come along with me and prepare yourself for a most unusual culinary treat. The baker, in this instance, myself, is a retired nurse with a moderate aversion to cooking (preparing food for consumption by the use of heat), but who takes great delight in the art and science of baking (cooking by dry heat in an oven), particularly the baking and decorating of cakes.
Cooking, according to my offspring, is far more rewarding. Forget the recipes and cookbooks…be creative! Appearing to relish the opportunity to digress from tried and true recipes, they are continually able to present delicious food offerings with seemingly little effort. I wonder if their diverse cooking skills are perhaps related to having been fed and nurtured by a mom who followed only standard cooking recipes, which she served monotonously week after week. Infrequent attempts with new recipes usually resulted in howls of laughter and jeers, especially from my three boisterous sons. If you have any doubts, ask them about my delicious microwave corn casserole, a dish about which I have been mercilessly teased for over thirty years.
Successful baking is a science and therefore dependent on the chemical reactions of the ingredients, which necessitates specific measurements added in an orderly fashion. As a nurse, I suppose my scientifically minded personality is well suited to this type of food preparation. The creative process will come later, I tell myself.
My other interest is writing non-fiction. I have myriads of journals which record my life’s experiences and observations. They continually provide me with plenty of food for thought…and for writing. However, I also aspire to write creatively, a daunting challenge. It is thrilling to think that I, as the author, could create a plot, interesting personalities, and tender or exciting scenes in which my characters would exist. Alas, I am not gifted in this writing genre.
As I pondered my writing abilities or lack thereof, I devised a fun-filled plan, or recipe, for what I refer to as my Storybook Cake. Perhaps after reading further, you will agree with me that it could be of some help in the creative writing process.
When baking a cake, the first decision made is to find the most appealing recipe for the chosen type of cake. Equipment must be in working order and ingredients must be readily available. Otherwise, this may precipitate an unexpected trip to the grocery store. Blended batter goes into a prepared pan and is placed into a pre-heated oven for the allotted time. The baked cake is then cooled before being removed from its pan.
Now the fun begins. My creative juices start to flow. Having previously designed the cake, I now prepare the frosting, tinting it as needed and making additional required decorations such as icing flowers and leaves. Garlands, swoops, swirls and even braids of icing, along with the flowers, become the embellishments for my cake. This literally is the “frosting on the cake” for me. Finally finished, it’s time to relax.
Pondering my cake baking and decorating method, I reasoned that the same might apply to writing. First, choose the type of cake (genre) fiction, devotional, etc. Next choose the recipe (title, chapters, plot) for perhaps a mystery story. Adding ingredients (characters, locale, or historical background if necessary) may require some research. Be sure to have all necessary ingredients. Finally, check the equipment (paper, pens, computer ink, etc.) Is everything in good order? While preparing the ingredients, review the recipe (outline) so as to arrange everything in proper sequence. When complete, allow it to cool (rest) for a day or two.
Now it is time for a break from writing. Upon returning to the task, add embellishments such as much needed editing, re-editing, and proofreading. Now is also a good time to insert references, scriptures or more defining adjectives and phrases…the “icing on the cake.”
Could it be that this technique might provide me with a means by which I could write in a creative style? The thought compels me to try, and when I am finished, I will straighten out my writing area and heat the water kettle. Finally, I can relax and settle down with a cup of tea and a bite of dessert. Perhaps a slice of Storybook Cake will be just right. What do you think?
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