08 March 2013

Writer's Block Pie

Welcome to the first installment of Food Fridays! Where my love of food and cooking meets my love of writing, because, well, a good chunk of my WIP is about food. It's funny because while I love cooking, I'm really not that good at it. But I try.

This first little vignette has been long overdue, months--a couple years, even. Because I sort of have this obsession with reenacting the food moments from my book. The first chapter ends with Jordan eating an entire key lime pie in one sitting (come on, you could do it, too, if you were a teenage boy). The whole point of this scene is to show him giving in to a private, animalistic side. The food becomes symbolic for a sort of hunger for life.

But anyway, the book isn't what's important here. It's the pie. Because this scene has existed from the book's very first incarnation, and since I'm completely insane about these things, it was only natural for me to make the signature pie. But for the longest time, I didn't make it.

I don't know why I put it off for so long. Maybe it was too important. Maybe I just didn't want to screw it up. But finally, last June, I decided to do it. I was having an enormous case of writer's block, and needed a way to break it. I was completely convinced that making this pie would instantly cure my writer's block the moment I took the first bite. There was no question in my mind about it.

Here's the major problem: I live in a tiny studio apartment with a tiny oven and barely any counter space. My oven doesn't even tell me when it's done preheating. But I had a mission, dammit, and I was going to accomplish it. Making the pie wasn't hard, but once it got in the oven, it was out of my hands. And when it was supposed to be done, well, it wasn't. The center wasn't cooking as fast as it should have, but while I was forced to leave the pie in the oven, the crust started to overcook. Eventually I had to make the decision that it was good enough and took it out.

Next was the meringue, which, in all honesty, I shouldn't have tackled in the first place. It took forever to beat the egg whites to the right consistency. And then about the second after I placed it under the broiler, it started to burn. I got it out in enough time so that it wasn't a total disaster, but I still felt like a complete failure. This was supposed to be a great homage to my book and a cure to my devastating writer's block. And all I had was a slightly burnt pie.

But I wasn't completely giving up hope. In true obsessive fashion, I attacked the pie with a fork, because that's they way it happens in the book (slices are for weaklings). I gave a second fork to my boyfriend, because I sure as hell couldn't do it on my own. We ate straight from the center, and while it wasn't the greatest thing I've ever eaten, it was pretty decent.

I know what you're wondering. Did my magical pie cure the writer's block? OF COURSE NOT. You probably knew that from the very beginning. It would be great if pie could cure writer's block. But really the only thing that cures it is effort--effort in writing or just eliminating self-doubt.

But still, it had to be done. And I'll probably do it again. Hopefully with better results.

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