Upon moving back to PA, I had a chance to unpack the many cookbooks I’ve collected from days passed. My collection is mostly first editions from the 60’s and 70’s, and I’m amazed at the things I find in them, and what they tell me about the grocery stores of the era.
A standard preamble in almost all these books details the lack of choice cuts of beef, or butchered chicken, or pork. The meat department of grocery stores back in the day just didn’t have the choices we have now. Cooking with fresh herbs, or even fresh veggies, was nonexistent in the 70’s books!
A fellow author on Facebook (Jason Thompson) posted his thoughts on the insane lack of anything fresh in his mother’s 60’s cookbooks. It turned into a crazy informative thread that brought up things that I hadn’t considered. Women joining workforce meant less time to shop and prepare; lack of safe national food transit kept most fresh goods seasonal; the need to cook with food products developed during WWII–this lead to mention of aspic and gelatin. The best part of the night was discovering the 70’s Dinner Party.
Like that title? SEO that, bitches.
When in our old house, outside of Austin Texas, I didn’t have a writing-room apart from the house. I wrote in the bedroom vacated by my oldest (he moved out and got a life for himself). That room shared a wall with my spouse’s TV room. When I was doing the pacing and narrative pass on my Suffocation manuscript, my spouse was binge watching 24. Every fifteen minutes I would hear that blasted digital count-down clock. There are times when I’m alone now, and I hear it. I shudder.
A writer friend lamented the invasion of new story ideas during a challenging and time-consuming revision. We all get to a point during the editing of a book (for me it’s that proofreading stage before reading aloud) where you’re so sick of the book that you need a break. It’s during that break that great ideas come crashing in. Short stories, new sagas, seedlings that are so good, you can’t let that shit go! Unfortunately, you can’t stop what you’re working on because doing so means you’ll never finish anything you’ve written.
I collect Decomposition Books. What are those (you’re not asking)?
They’re composition books made of recycled material. I like them because they look cool. While working on the Femitokon series, there’s been times when ideas have overcome my brain to the point that if I don’t do something, they’re overwhelming. Two of them (one a new series, the other a big novel), are housed in Decomps. La Mestiza, and Amazonomachy. Each book has characters, settings, plots, and dialog, things I jot down when away from my edits.