Writer Beware! It’s a very distracting business.
Ten reasons why writing and cooking do not go together ( unless you’re Mary Berry)
1) The time it takes for your toast to turn to charcoal under the grill, set off all your smoke alarms in your building and evacuate the neighbours is exactly the same time it takes to post that extra tweet or send an e-mail. Keep your eye on one or the other. The people on the top floor will appreciate the sacrifice.
2) Either its research or you’re just boning a ham. Be very clear in your own mind which one you’re doing because unless you are an established thriller writer or a trained chef you’d be surprised how much concentration it takes to be a successful serial killer and keep all your fingers.
3) Bread making and resolving plot lines do not necessarily go together. By the time you’ve resolved Lady Connie’s Dilemma or rescued the Prime Minister from the clutches of a band of hard-core terrorists you’ve probably knocked all the air out of the dough which is fine if you like surprise pitta bread. Not so good if you were aiming for breakfast rolls.
4) Setting things on a lowlight is great for the first thousand words. Despite what you may think anything more than that will require you to get up and give the pot a stir. Note - even copper based pans will melt at some point.
5) You can still type when you’ve overdosed on caffeine whereas icing cakes requires a steady hand. The two skills are not always interchangeable at three in the morning with a cake sale deadline looming.
6) And just because you stayed up till 3am writing the kids will still need breakfast at seven. Throwing them a packet of biscuits isn’t judged to be good parenting even in creative households. If you can’t manage to fry bacon with one eye closed manage their disappointment in you by writing a scary piece about infant cholesterol levels and staple it to a packet of cereal where they are bound to see it.
7) Remember that food processors have lids for a reason. Liquidising anything whilst pondering syntax and predicate is just asking for trouble.
8) Mary Berry’s Victoria Sponge has its own plot. Just because you can tinker with yours at will, leave hers well alone to avoid disappointed faces around the tea table. Substituting pesto for raspberry jam may not pan out in real life. There are no re-writes where cake mix is concerned.
9) Depending on your typing speed you only have two to three hundred words between al dente and mush. If you are making spaghetti then that is what you are doing. If you must finish chapter six opt for a pot noodle.
10) Finally – you can switch off a lap top and that’s that, done. On the other hand most labour saving devices in the kitchen require intense hours of dismantling and rebuilding. So unless you’re planning a ‘How To…’ book, buy ready meals and use the microwave. Even if you forget to pierce the lid a quick wipe with a dish cloth is usually all it takes to get you back to the keyboard in record time.