Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Who's Hungry?

I'm not much of a chef. Beyond tossing a hunk of marinated mat on the grill I do very little cooking and even less baking. But I do make a mean loaf of beer bread if I do say so myself. Since it is the only real recipe I know I'm doing a little spin-off of it to give you my instructions for becoming a writer.

For beer bread you need 3 cups of sifted flour.

To become a writer you need 3 cups of sifted imagination. You could just dump the imagination in but if you don't sift it to make it soft and fluffy you'll end up with a chuck of inedible or unreadable junk.

The bread requires 3 teaspoons of baking powder.

A writers needs 3 teaspoons of determination. Yeah we've all heard of the lucky SOB that sat down and wrote in novel in months and sold it at auction six months later. We've also heard of Santa Clause, the Easter Bunny, and the Tooth Fairy, but unless you're eight I wouldn't depend on any of them to come down you chimney or go hippity-hopping down your street
anytime soon.


Add a teaspoon of salt to the bread.

A teaspoon of foolish hope is required of all writers. The odds are stacked against you, but don't get caught up in that fact. There are thousands of books published every year and whose to say you're loaf or novel isn't going to be one of them. Dare to dream.

Pour in a bottle of beer and mix. Some of the special beers such as Blue Moon's Honey Ale and the Pumpkin Spice make for an added taste to the bread. But at the very least get a good dark beer as it will give the bread more flavor that any light beer or standard domestic. When you have a ball of dough of equal consistency pour into greased loaf pan.

Pour in you sweat blood and tears into your writing. Don't hold back. Bland will not get you anywhere. Write like you momma is dead and your preacher is illiterate. An agent once said to me, "If you're writing doesn't piss someone off, you're not writing strong enough to really reach anyone."

Add half a cup of melted butter to the top of the dough.

No one can write without being a reader, so pour in your love of reading, study other books and writers you love. See why their stories work, then incorporate those same ideas and techniques, but tweak and turn them until they are your own. Write something you'd want to read.

Set your oven to 375.

Get excited and hot and bothered about your work. If your characters and plot do not get you excited while you' re writing, researching, and building your story you can't expect agents or editors to get excited when you are finished.

Bake for an hour or until the top is a light brown.

Write and edit until it's ready to submit.

Let cool for at least twenty minutes.

Don't rush you baby out to be devoured. Let it simmer and then slice it yourself. See how it tastes. When it melts in your mouth, slap another pat of butter on and dish it out.

As an added bonus I'll throw my crumbs worth of tongue-in-cheek suggestion on how to craft a particular genre of bread.

Literary Bread - Add a dollop of pretentiousness, and a squirt of academia nut. This bread might win a ribbon or two at the fair but that poorly crafted commercial bread will make all the money.

Romance Bread - Toss in a pinch of wishful thinking, a sprinkle of pipe dream, invite a large man with rippling abs and long flowing locks to stir the ingredients while a reluctant and stubborn women tells him he's doing it all wrong and you will have some tasty bread that will fly off the shelves, but be the scorn of all other bread makers.

Fantasy/Sci-Fi Bread - For this bread you have to call flour - akbinykl, salt- jubellio, and the beer Lord Rakmia. Actually each baker must create as many hard to pronounce ingredients as possible. Also add in a few things no body actually believes in. You know things like, the nose hair of a Pegasus, the scale of a dragon, or the tongue of an honest politician. This bread will have an avid fan base and if you are lucky they will hold conventions for years to come in honor of your bread.

Women's Fiction Bread - There are many ways to bake this bread but makes sure it is stirred by a woman who has had some misfortune a wayward husband, a sister that betrayed her, some sort of grief. make sure the woman is fed up and ready to take on all challengers who question her bread stirring ability. If you can invoke emotion, laughter, tears, anger) from those that eat this bread you have done your job, but a word of caution. Men who bake this bread have a hell of a time convincing anyone to taste it.

Western Bread - This bread is actually the same story as romance bread but stirred entirely by a man who lost his pa, ranch, wife or family do to someone else's greed. Add some dust and tumbleweeds to the recipe also and substitute sex scenes with gunfight scenes.


By the way the recipe is real, the rest of it is just my take on this crazy pursuit and meant in fun. I appreciate authors of all genres so take my descriptions with a pinch of sugar. They'll be sweeter that way.

So how about all of you? Got anything good in the oven? Have any more bread descriptions you'd like to share?

30 comments:

pattinase (abbott) said...

You a good baker and a better writer. I'm inspired to do both.

bookbabie said...

Fun post, I'm gluten intolerant though so it gave me a tummy ache just reading it;)

Laura K. Curtis said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Laura K. Curtis said...

I like the New Yorker's recent recipes for passive aggressive appetizers, though some aren't passive and some aren't appetizers!

yellowdog granny said...

we make a ton of beer bread for westfest every year...I love it..when all the ovens are baking all that beer bread, it smells like a giant beer fart...
i'd do better with making bread than writing a book...all i have is a title..

preTzel said...

First - WHAT DID THE DOCTOR SAY???

Are you contagious? Are we all gonna catch the itchies? I'm worried because I just got rid of some crappy virus/mal/adware on my system and I really don't need it again. :D

I totally agree with what you're saying Travis. It takes a lot of ingredients, muscle, and hard work to make a good book.

Merry Monteleone said...

I loooove this, Travis...

I'm not partial to beer bread, though - my personal specialty is banana bread with nut butter, though I'm not quite sure what that says about me.

Oh, final thought, if you've mixed a bad batch you could always use it as a doorstop or to prop up your coffee table... that works for both the bread and the manuscript.

Miladysa said...

Excellent post Travis!

My mixing bowl is gathering dust at the moment...

Mary said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary said...

LOL! I’ll start imagining my novels as loaves of bread.

And the recipe does sound tasty. :)

Barbara Martin said...

Good laughs there, Travis. Interesting recipe I'm going to try soon. The analogy with writing was great.

spyscribbler said...

Funky, Travis. What does it taste like? Does it taste like regular bread, but with a kick? Or is thicker and heavier than most bread? I'm really curious!

Love the analogy, LOL!

Joshua said...

great post man

Robin said...

Got a real kick on your take about "womens' fiction" writers, how if you're a man you can't get anyonw ro taste it?! It so damn wrong in theory but I know it's also a struggle you face. Maybe change your name to Tracy Irwin? LOl! It was an excellent analogy and you obvioulsy put a lot of thought inot it! I have some suggestions though...

"Put flour into pan...test beer."
"Add eggs, test beer"
"While kneeding dough, check the beer again..."

While dough is rising...go replenish the beer supply because, at this point, you should be out....

Insane Mama said...

I love reading "man" blogs and recipes, I will be back for more

Charles Gramlich said...

You know, this is the best way to teach. Leaven everything with a touch of humor. Very well done. The recipe part of this post would definitely be worth seeing in a writing mag somewhere. It holds together very well and comes to a very fine ending. You should try submitting it.

The last part, about the types of writing, is also hilarious, but it belongs to a separate piece, I think, a piece that stands on it's own.

This is a post I want to tag for future reference.

Clare2e said...

First, the actual bread recipe sounds deelish. I'm going to try it and report back.

Second, the "alternate" recipes are fantastic and SO on the money. I'm hard to crack up, but I almost nose-gargled my java on jubellio and Lord Rakmia!

Melissa Marsh said...

Those are great, Travis! Tastefully Simple has a beer bread recipe that I just love. Of course, it's very easy - you open the package, pour it in a bowl, then add the beer, and bake. Wallah!

And yes, what did the doc say?

Clair Dickson said...

XD Oh my word! That's hilarious! You're one hell of a baker/writer, Travis!

Josephine Damian said...

Yeah, I wanna know about the rash!

Also waiting on your email (or did I scare you off?) and waiting on you to join Twitter.

No mystery/thriller bread? I've cooked a few corpses, but that was more like stew - a very stinky nasty stew - than bread. lol

Cool post. Charles is right. Humor will get you far.

deborah elliott-upton said...

My version of Mystery bread: close your eyes and grab something off the spice rack and sprinkle liberally into the mix. (C'mon, relax! You probably already like the spice or you wouldn't have bought it.)Shove the spice back into the rack before opening your eyes. Bake the bread and while you're waiting the suspense factor will kick in... then for the thriller portion: eat a piece. Great drama!

angel, jr. said...

I tend to burn things. As you can tell by my posts, sometimes things are underdone because I tend not to let it back enough.

Tee said...

This was fantastic. As an (aspiring) writer and (unofficial) chef - this post was perfect and a much needed diversion from the editing process. (i.e. I'm procrastinating getting back to work. LOL.)

Melanie Avila said...

Funny, I was just wondering what to make for lunch. If only I had an oven...

Sorry it took me so long to come visit - you're on my list now!

Jennifer said...

I just love your way with words! I agree with the guy that said you should write this up for a magazine. It's great!

Jenny

www.jenniferarcher.net
www.sterlingpen.net

Janna Qualman said...

Mmm, beer bread... I'm totally borrowing your recipe.

And great, creative way to convert it to writing!

holly said...

this was so cute, trav! now i want both some beer bread and some fresh teaspoons of determination. also, i think i need a pinch of patience.

and yo, i *so* see you at the next blogger-fairy event. (although it will be a week or so to the next one. i need to space them out or the people with white hug-me jackets start to come knockin'...).

WordVixen said...

Academia nut! I love it! :) And your genre "recipes" freaking rock. I've got tears man... tears!

Joshua said...

thanks dude :)

writtenwyrdd said...

Nice analogies, Travis!