Writing is Like Cooking

. . . writing is like cooking is like painting is like sculpture is like music is like gardening is like tying flies is like carving is like making bread is like making wine is like singing is like dancing is like cooking is like writing . . .

I’ve been thinking a lot about creative endeavours as a whole lately—thoughts sparked, I’m sure, by two gallery openings I got to attend (Noreen Spence’s took my breath away), but kindled into full flame by Laura Best’s great post on the same topic, my summer gallivants to the local farmer’s market and all the cooking I’ve been doing lately.

I love writing more than almost anything, playing with words, fighting with words, praying with words, crying and bleeding in words, loving through words, and yet—

When I cook, particularly when I’ve using fresh good ingredients, a feeling kindred to what I experience when I write wells up in me.

In concocting the perfect meal, there’s the same search for just the right bits and just the right balance of those bits—too much spice overpowers, diminishing/desensitizing the tastes buds, and flavour is actually lost, not enhanced. Too little seasoning and there’s no interest, no pizzazz.

And to cook well, you have to be brave, willing to experiment, not afraid to fail . . .

But you also have to build on prior knowledge—yours and others. Cooking is a pleasure and an art. It is also darn hard (and hot!) work sometimes. And there will always be those who don’t appreciate what you have to offer.

What you put into your work always counts. You can wreck quality ingredients, but it is hard to totally ruin them. On the other hand, however, if you start with crap—processed, chemically enhanced, super sugary, high fat junk—well, people might ingest it, might even think they like it, but for how long? That kind of meal does nothing for a person over the long term, has no lasting satisfaction and makes you feel empty sooner than later.

Good meals take time to prepare and they can be labour intensive, but the subtle flavours, complex layers and textures, the sensuous details—they give something to you that lasts far after you’ve finished the last bite. They become a part of your overall health and well-being. They create a feeling of abundance and community, and even if the taste was bittersweet, you’re better off for having experienced it.

Cooking and writing. I’ve yet to find better forms of nourishment. How about you? Is there something else that you do in life that echoes the joy and satisfaction that writing gives you?

p.s. My extended metaphor may have been a little over top for some of you (especially if cooking is your nemesis), but if you enjoyed it—or want a different analogy altogether—check out Jen Brubacher’s rather brilliant comparison between writing and building a house. It’s fun and very apt!

p.p.s. I’ve talked about cooking here before, if you’re interested in souping it up . . . 🙂

3 thoughts on “Writing is Like Cooking

  1. I remember your souping it up post 🙂

    I’m trying to think if there is anything that brings me as much pleasure as writing but at the moment I have to say no. There have been times in the past when I’ve done a bit of quilting that got me all fired up but not recently. Okay, you made me hungry with all this talk about food, but it’s too late in the evening for a snack. Thanks Ev..LOL!

    Great post!


  2. I love this post, Ev! Whimsical, almost musical the way you wrote it.

    I love cooking good food, but even more I like eating great food! I grew up in a home were prefabbed and processed food never entered, in fact I didn’t know much of it existed until my early 20s, and I am immensely grateful for that. I see others struggling and appreciate this gift from my parents they probably weren’t even aware they were giving. They just continued what they knew coming from Europe.

    I think the other things that come close to writing for me are music and movement, of almost any form.


  3. I feel the same way about cooking, except I find it easier than writing. As much as I love writing, I will do almost anything to procrastinate and avoid it, and cooking is one of those things. So is gardening, but cooking is much more enjoyable. I feel like I have more control over how something turns out in my kitchen than I do in my flower bed.

    I guess my other passion would be kickboxing, but since that one also involves pain, it doesn’t approach the pure joy I feel when making something yummy or writing a great story. The end product also takes a lot longer to make an appearance. 🙂

    Great post, Ev! So, what did you cook?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.